Steamed Banana Semolina Cake & Post A quote Challenge!


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Over-ripe Bananas sitting on the platter, what to do? Any ideas? I refer my Aji’s potli (Grandma’s bag of magic) full of simple recipes. And, make it time saving, economic, steamed, eggless and meatless too! Sounds a trip to heaven, doesn’t it? Believe me I cannot take the smell of meat and eggs on my dishes and gadgets! I just have to sanitize everything perfectly well until there is no trace of the foul smell. Monica Gellar I can beat you with my freakiness! Any other OCD’s for company??:P

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So without much commotion, I m going to share a detailed recipe of this healthy cake J

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ripe bananas (read over ripe in my case!!)
  • 1 cup. fine Semolina (Rava or Sooji)
  • 1 cup. finely chopped Jaggery (You can substitute with less than or equal amount of sugar).
  • 2 tsps. Cardamom powder
  • 3-4 strands of Saffron.
  • Chopped pistachios (You can add as many or as less. It’s an optional ingredient).
  • 1-2 tsps. Clarified butter (Ghee. It’s optional too. One could use olive oil too).
  • 1 big tbsp. Yoghurt/ Curd.

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Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients well until no lumps remain (not the nuts) and set aside for 5 minutes.The consistency of this batter is pretty thick (and sticky too) and not anything like the usual cake batter. So don’t get scared when you don’t see any folds of batter on tapping the spatula.Featured image
  • Add the chopped nuts.
  • Oil spray a steel container or the usual cake pan. I did not use any greasing and added a butter paper underneath into the pan.

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  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan.
  • Add water into the pressure cooker or steamer and set the cake pan inside it.Just cover the whistle hole with a bowl or just Al foil.
  • Allow it to steam cook for 8-15 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

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  • Garnish with nuts and clarified butter!

I looked forward to summer vacations at my Aji’s place in Bombay. She would make this cake. What made it surreal was she made it with so much care. And truth be told, it was absolutely real. We did not have cameras and camera phones back then. I ponder if having them then could have helped me treasure the essence of my childhood for future. Reality is that memories may fade but the essence remains within the soul.But then I look at myself and see how she has passed on her looks to me 🙂

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My Aji stays across the globe. Every trip to the motherland my heart sinks another inch to see her grow older and frailer.

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Chanakya rightly said, he who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he might really be near by”.

I feel it better than ever before. Having lost so many dear ones in less than two years in my immediate family, the feeling of seeing incomplete houses is setting in. But, life goes on, doesn’t it?

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I have trained my brain to be thankful to the bag of goodies life has given me so far. And, having a family like mine in itself is a boon.

A toast of healthy emotional balance to all!

BTW,This is my First entry to the Post A quote Challenge By Sumana 🙂 Thanks again for the opportunity. I wanted to begin my quotes with my aji’s recipe who shares her name with you 🙂

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Chickpea Crusted Eggplant hearts on a Platter


Do you believe in the logic behind ”What’s in the name?” I absolutely do.

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In my defense of POV, I’d say nothing is in the name, the soul lies in the identity of the object (living or not. BTW, food is a living creation for me J)

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On that note of having people confused, let me further say that the recipe I am presenting today is my personal version of its traditional and famous counterparts made with passion, love as well as finesse across India. And needless to say that such a commonly made delicacy has no universal name or taste, but a common emotion! Oh yes, food has emotions and human mind associates food with memories.

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I would stay over at my grandmother’s house every Friday since every Saturday was early morning school day unlike the other days when school started at 10 am. My Aji (my mother’s mother up and bouncing at 89) would make Vangyache Kaap” very often during my sleepovers at their place. The prime reason being I simply adored them! My granny called it the “Brahmin’s fish” (Brahmins, do not eat non-vegetarian traditionally,I m an exception :P)!

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Sounds extremely odd to most mothers, isn’t it? I had surrendered to my mother’s strict discipline about eating all vegetables early on and eventually learnt to like them. So, I fell for eggplant/brinjal too!

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However I renamed my version of the traditional Marathi Vangyache kaap” as “Chickpea Crusted Eggplant Hearts on a Platter”. Sliced eggplant dipped in chickpea flour and minimal spices, elegantly cooked on a flat pan! Isn’t that such a hearty sight? Hence the name! Don’t mind the re-naming please!

And now without any more of blabber or Bakar (local word used for chatter in Bombay) I detail the ingredients and method for this delicacy!

Ingredients: (approx. 10 slices-3 persons)

  • 1 medium sized eggplant/brinjal (sliced about 10mm thick, washed and soaked in water)
  • 4 tbsps. Chickpea flour/besan.
  • 2-3 tsps. Ajwain/Carom seeds.
  • Salt to taste.
  • 2 tsps. Asafoetida.
  • 2 tsps. Turmeric powder.
  • 2 tsps. Garam masala /all spices powder.
  • 1-2 tsps. Red chili powder.
  • Olive oil Spray.

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Note: The carom seeds, asafetida and turmeric help balance the heaviness of eggplant. The eggplant is heavy on tummy or gives gases but its very subjective. To make it lighter on tummy and ease out any trouble later, the addition of these three ingredients plays a vital role.

 Method:

  • Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Lightly dap the moisture from the sliced eggplant with a tissue.
  • Coat the eggplant slices with the dry mixture.
  • Heat the flat pan on a medium flame. Spray the olive oil spray on it evenly. Use a brush if required to coat the pan.
  • Lay the slices on the pan.
  • Spray the topside with oil and turn.
  • Allow it to cook for up to 1.5 minutes on each side and spray while flipping to the side not facing the pan.
  • The eggplant would change colour to a beautiful golden from the white and the sides would turn darker.
  • Push a knife or edge of the spatula to check if the eggplant has cooked well.If the fork moves in easily, its done!

 It could be an appetizer or a sidekick with rice or bread! But,frankly it could be whatever you want it to be 🙂

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Good food needs no words, it’s a language by itself. So, relax and relish. Enjoying food and creating aromatic memories is more important. Have it with wine or Sol-kadhi (Maharashtrian Mangosteen Soup) as long as it delights you, nothing else matters!

What say? J

Closing in to a month: Day 28 & 29


As the moving date gets closer and closer, our days are getting busier by the day. Packing when is kid is around is so difficult, don’t you think?

Anyway, last two days could be better described as Summer-ized! Yes, the summers are already in CA. The area had already received a prolonged draught and cold wave so the summers might just get the heat burst as well. The sudden transitions hurt the routine a lot. More hunger and thirst pangs and yes added weight of electricity bills :P.

I wasn’t very hungry for last two days especially around the lunchtime (it’s the heat L). I decided to give some rest to my over-exerting tummy and ate simple Dal Khichdi (Lentils and rice cooked in a soupy style usually served as comfort food when ill J). However as the temperatures settled I was able to dine well. I m anyway a dinner loving person!

Since I skipped my 30 day ab challenge on Sunday, I decided to not have a rest day on Tuesday as per the schedule. This challenge is working out great personally. Takes 10-15 minutes of my time through the day and then I don’t have to feel guilty of inability to go for post lunch walk or evening strolls. It’s a must try if fixing up a regimen is an issue with you.

Have you heard about “Clean eating? I kind of believe in doing that at least once every month. No matter the organic stuff and products I consume, the body still finds ways to store junk in it. Fortunately, the only noticeable addiction I have is drinking ginger infused tea. Ice-creams and aerated drinks do not fancy me for last 32 years at least. Never took to liking them because of my tonsillitis issue as a child. Perhaps simplifying and making it friendlier to suit my likes, what say? I m working on it but any inputs are welcome!

We packed some stuff in the guest bedroom for the last two days. I have moved 9 times in my life! 2 times in Bombay (from Chembur to Shivaji Park to Mahim), 6 times within the bay are and once overseas :P. Many of our friends call us pros in moving and have suggested commencing a help centre for the same!!! As ridiculous as it sounds, the thought is quite intriguing!

The thought of a sense of belonging and a feeling of being at home (other than the parents home in India) finally seem to get more real now. As I sit in the middle of boxes packed memories, a poem written in circa 2008 (while dating Rohan) keeps my mind hydrated, daring to share it again J.

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 A Home Away From Home..

 A friend (was Rohan J) met me over a chat conversation on the internet,

To introduce to me a vision I was blinded with,

A view of a homesick toddler (at heart) wanting to revisit days of childhood,

Might it seem impossible to those who have forgotten to pause in the midst of utter madness!

 He requested in a humble yet persuasive tone,

“Build me a home, Build me a home”,

In the lush greens of motherly arms,

In the happy lap of the fields,

In the blooming smiles of buddies, 

Midst of swaying trees, dancing crops to the monsoon songs of my sisters swinging a heavenly flight!

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 A dwelling not merely,

A little deeper than that,

An enlightenment replicating my soul,

Hiding simplicity within its hearth with long and open courtyards,

A porch to nostalgia,

A garden essaying my childhood,

A comfort to the frames in the family room,

Tantalizer to the taste buds of low lying kitchen,

A tranquility for the soul in the neatly lined bedroom,

“Oh, dear builder, build me a home away from home!”

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 A mother in the disguise of subtility,

A father to humanity,

A brother to hospitality,

A sister to care and kindness,

A search so mythical,

A demand so selfish,

“Still, dear builder, build me a home..away from home”.

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A symbol of trust & a mirror to reality,

A shoulder to cry & lean on,

A shelter to cringe for,

A granny singing a lullaby to shut me away from the world’s demanding and illusive strings,

A maid who tamed my tantrums to the matured handsome advisory,

A home that holds, a home that straightens,

“Hey builder, build me a home, build me a home”.

I am sure there is a mixed bag of emotions associated with our life at some point of time about a sense of belonging. Finally, we have found a home! Hope all find theirs J too!

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I have lost half an lbs early this week! So I m happy!!

In the last two days I have walked quite a bit in all the leading hardware stores around the south bay J. Yesterday we were so late that I could only fix up Cilantro Theplas and onion salad for dinner! But, I still could have a happy healthy meal, low on calories and nutritious.

Constant blogging has gotten me nomination for awards (and a tough job of selecting blogs that inspired me truly! I am sorry to have disappointed so many of my blogger friends, but hope you understand) but my eye power has shot up as well, so visiting a doctor on Wednesday L. Keeping my fingers crossed J!

Too long right? I believe any health regimen is incomplete without the state d’optimization of our hearts and minds!

This week is going to be more about heart though my fitness routine continues.