Banana Walnut Cake
I make this when I need a snack that stays on for a couple of days. The bananas makes it flavorful and the nuts add a crunch in between. Without much fat and naturally sweetened in part by raisins and bananas, this is the perfect candidate for someone in search of a healthy snack.


Ingredients:

wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups
ripe bananas - 2 large
walnut (broken) - 1/2 cup
raisins - 1/2 cup
honey - 1/2 cup
canola oil - 3/4 cup
vanilla essence - 1 tsp
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Method:

Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda. (I repeat it a couple of times). Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Add remaining ingredients and mix well with a hand blender. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes (until skewer comes out clean).
Tamarind gravy (Vatha Kuzhambu)
Vatha kuzhambu is a tamil brahmin specialty recipe. Hot, spicy and tangy, it tastes great with rice. I love the way my mother-in-law makes it.


Ingredients: (serves 3)

sambar powder - 2 tsp (refer recipe)
tamarind paste - 3 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
red chillies - 6 medium
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
oil - 2 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
dry turkey berry (sundaikkai) or dry Eurpean Black Nightshade (manathakkali) - 1 tbsp (or) one papad (appalam - broken into pieces)

Method:

Heat oil and add asafoetida, mustard seeds, black graml, bengal gram, crushed red chillies and the dry sundakkai/manathakkali/appalam. Fry for a few minutes. Then add sambar powder, turmeric powder and tamarind paste. Fry for a minute and add water and salt. Boil for a few minutes to a thick gravy.
Cabbage Chapati Stir-fry
I like to include chapatis and whole-grain tortillas often in my dinner. But having been bored of an entire week of flat-breads with gravy, my taste buds wanted something different, but I wasn't quite yet ready for that indulgence phase. So, to strike a balance, I decided to try something new without letting go of the same nutrients. The concept of chilli paratha has always been quite appealing to me. So, in spite of stiff resistance from hubby darling, I decided to go ahead and try out that approach on my chapatis and tortillas. It turned out so good that he instantly appreciated it without even realizing it - and agreed to my plan that this will be added to our regular weeknight dinner picks!


Ingredients (serves 2):

chapati / tortilla - 5
cabbage - 1 cup (grated)
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
cashews - a few
green chillies - 2
curry leaves - 1 stalk
turmeric powder - a pinch
oil - 2 tbsp
salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil. Add cashews, cumin seeds (mustard, urad dal and asafoetida if you like). When it splutters, add cashews, green chillies and curry leaves and cabbage. Add turmeric powder and fry for a minute. Cut chapati / tortilla into small pieces and add to the cabbage. Add salt and stir fry for a few minutes until cabbage is cooked. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.
Fruit Chaat
I try to add as much fruit to my diet as possible. But sometimes, it is hard to bring myself to eat fruit. This was one of my attempts to "spice up" the fruits.


Ingredients:

seasonal fruits (cut) - 10 pieces
yogurt - 3 tbsp (optional)
sev/boondi - for topping
tamarind chutney - 1 tsp
chaat masala - a pinch

Method:

Arrange cut fruits on a plate. Drop a little yogurt on top of the fruits if you like it. Sprinkle chaat masala. Top it with sev/boondi. Drizzle some tamarind chutney and serve.
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