Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Raw Banana in Mustard Sauce/ Kadugu Vazhaikai/Avapindi Aaratikaya


I used to enjoy this dish whenever my grand mother made it. My mom never used to cook this. Though I've not eaten it many times in my life, the excellent taste of it always lingers in my mouth, bringing the memory of my Grand Mother to whom this blog is dedicated. You can read about her here.

I made this dish today solely to participate in two blog events, Think Spice - Mustard and JFI - Banana. One shot, I mean one dish to hit both.. Honestly I have been so busy that this is a last moment entry. I did'nt even have time to click some good pictures. Please bear with me for these poor pictures. I've never taken so bad ones. Hope to replace them when I cook this another time. Today, finished work and reached home not to rest for a moment. I had to cook so many dishes, cause we were expecting our God Parents and their family for dinner. It was our God mother's B'day. This is the b'day Swiss Chocolate Cheese Cake.

With all this mad rush, still I manage to cook this dish.


Though I guessed the recipe of this dish just to confirm it I made a qiuck long distance phone call to my other Grand Mother(my Father's mother) and got the right recipe.


Before we go into the making of this nutritional side dish, lets see the benefits of the two main ingredients used - Mustard & Banana


Mustard is a member of the Brassica family of plants which bears tiny round edible seeds as well as tasty leaves. Its English name, mustard, is derived from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning burning wine. This is a reference to the spicy heat of the crushed mustard seeds and the French practice of mixing the ground seeds with must, the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes.

At first, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. In the sixth century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines and poultices. Mustard plasters were applied to "cure" toothaches and a number of other ailments.

Prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans, who used to grind mustard seeds and mix them with wine into a paste not much different from the prepared mustards we know today.

The mustard seed is a prominent reference for those of the Christian faith, exemplifying something which is small and insignificant, which when planted, grows in strength and power.

Pope John XXII was so fond of mustard that he created a new Vatican position - grand moutardier du pape (mustard-maker to the pope) - and promptly filled the post with his nephew.

In 1866, Jeremiah Colman, founder of Colman's Mustard of England, was appointed as mustard-maker to Queen Victoria. Colman perfected the technique of grinding mustard seeds into a fine powder without creating the heat which brings out the oil. The oil must not be exposed or the flavor will evaporate with the oil.

We all know that losers and quitters can't cut the mustard (live up to the challenge). And perhaps the reason ballpark mustard is so popular is because pitchers apply mustard to their fastballs to get those strike-outs. The disabling and even lethal chemical weapon known as mustard gas is a synthetic copy based on the volatile nature of mustard oils.

Now Banana:

The Good
This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin B6.

The Bad
A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
This food contains carbohydrates, which may increase blood sugar levels.

A short story:
Banana-plants can grow up to 15 m. but most plants vary from 3 to 9 m. and have very big leafs that can grow to 4 x 1 m.
Wild forms of the banana plant come originally from the Indo-Malaysian area and are now cultivated all over the tropical and sub-tropical continents.

Bananas are delicious eaten with one's fingers after peeling off the skin. Depending on the type of banana unripe bananas are also cooked, fried or deep-fried a lot. Bananas are the basic food in many tropical countries.

At this moment there are five different types of bananas common on the market:

Red bananas: have a green/red peel and pink fruit flesh. They taste the same like yellow bananas. The redder a fruit, the more carotene it contains, so maybe they are healthier than their yellow colleagues;
Fruit-bananas: are the normal, yellow bananas, 15-30 cm.
Apple-bananas: are smaller, 8-10 cm., and ripen faster. They are also yellow;
The baby-banana (pisang susa): is yellow as well and measures 6-8 cm. It is the sweetest of the banana family;
Baking bananas: are 30 to 40 cm. large and are green, yellow or red-like. They cannot be eaten raw. They fulfill the role of the potato in the tropical countries.

Peculiar characteristics

Is the most well known and eaten (tropical) fruit;
In Eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This beer is brewed from bananas;
Tropical fruit is usually picked unripe and has to ripen in the land of arrival. To make this process go faster bananas are treated with ethylene-gas. Normal bananas also ripen through ethylene -gas but exposing it to additional gas accelerates the process;
Is the (only) fruit that for some people can work fatting because they contain a lot of starch (more starch than sugar). Those people shouldn't eat too many bananas a day;
Eat at least one banana a day, they are said to contain everything a human needs and they contain all the 8 amino-acids our body cannot produce itself. For more see the energy in fruit.
Bananas are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C;
Red bananas are often dried and converted to meal which is used in many ways;
Red bananas contain more vitamin C as yellow bananas (the redder a fruit, the more nutritious elements it contains);

A small sized (peeled) banana contains about 80 calories.
A medium sized banana contains about 100 calories
And a large banana contains about 115 calories.
An entire pound of peeled bananas contains about 260 calories.

Diet Tip: Slice a banana into tiny slices and spray with a bit of lemon to prevent browning. Place on a sheet of waxed paper OR a freezer-proof dish and pop into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Be sure that your banana slices are flat on the plate and not all staked on top of one another so that they will freeze well. Remove and dip into Splenda for a darling diet treat that contains very few calories.
A small sized red plantain banana contains about 115 calories.

Although plantains look similar to bananas, you should cook before use. They may be baked, sauteed, steamed, boiled, roasted or broiled. Choose black skins for sweetest fruit.

Diet Tip: Slice plantain into strips. 'Fry' in non-stick cooking spray (butter flavored works best). You'll never miss your french fries!

Many individuals feel that bananas are one of the high calorie fruits that should be avoided while dieting. However, bananas will stick with you and help satisfy a sweet tooth. As for the calories in bananas, an 80 calorie banana looks a lot more attractive to a dieter than that slice of banana cream pie.

Nutritional Benefits - Bananas & Plantains are Good Sources of: Fiber,Low Sodium Low Fat,Potassium

For other information about bananas check out the site of Turbana corporation.

With so much info lets get into the recipe of this dish.

To boil :
Raw Banana - 2 ( Skin peeled and cut into small cubes)
Tamarind -Small Lemon size, soaked in water and juice sqeezed
Tumeric - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

To make paste:
oil - 2 tsp
Mustard - 2 tbsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp

For Tamlinpu/Tadka/Tempering:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhall - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 3 - 4
Curry leaves - Two reems
Hing/ Asafoetida - a pinch

For Garnish :
Finely chopped coriander leaves


In a deep sauce pan combine all the ingredients to boil and cook till the raw banana is almost cooked.
Mean while make a fine paste with the mustard and other ingredients mentioned with enough water.
Add this paste to the cooked raw banana. mix well and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.
In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds.
After they splutter, add all the ohter ingredients and fry well.
Now add the cooked banana curry to the tadka and mix well for 2-3 minutes till the thick gravy sets.
Add half of the corainder leaves and give it one last mix.
Remoave from heat and garnish with remaining Coriander leaves and lemon peices.

Serve with hot rice, with a hint of ghee or rice with sambar.


This is my entry for Think Spice - Mustard, hosted by sunita's World

also this goes to JFI - Banana , hosted by Ahaar

The sauce made with Tamarind juice and Mustard paste really lifts up the taste of this dish. If you don't mind the sour taste and flavour of the mustard you can go generous on them and enjoy every bit of this dish.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Pineapple Kesari Bath

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits. I just luv the smell of it. Though I like it so much, I eat very less of the plain fruit, be it in Fruit salads, Faloodas etc. Some how it always spoils my thraught, if I don't stop with 1 slice of it. But I relish it most in the form of Juice. Again juices have so many grams of sugar in them. So have to limit them too. Still to satisfy my longing for this fruit I try to add plenty of it in the home baked frozen pizzas, or sweet and sour chicken etc.
One such preparation in which pineapple doesn't hurt my thraught is the Pineapple Kesari. I normally like any type of kesari. But Pineapple rawa kesari is my fav. Though kesari is quiet famous dessert in all over India, especially in South India. I really enjoy the Pineapple kesari Bath in one of the restaurant's in Bangalore, Karnataka. I guess this is one of the specialties of the Karanataka cuisine. When I saw the RCI - event for this month was Karanataka Cuisine, I decided to publish this post. I know most of our blogs have the Kesari recipe already. But here is my version of Pineapple kesari Bath.(PKB)

When ever I used to visit Bangalore on a business trip I would have this as a dessert after my breakfast in this restaurant. I don't even remember the name of that restaurant now. The thing is, I like it so much in this particular restaurant, that I would travel any distance to come to this restaurant for breakfast just to have this PKB( Cause this dessert was available in the menu only for Breakfast) . They never used to add any color to it. And they used a very fine quality of Rava(Semolina). And off course the generous amount of ghee would make all the difference. Though it was a very rich dessert, the quantity served was little. So that would compensate the calorie content. Again all desserts are rich in calories, so we have to really limit the quantity we consume.

People follow many different ways in making Kesari. Some add milk instead of water, some add both in different ratios, some boil the sugar in water till it gets the syrup texture, some add little ghee, and some add plenty of it. Same with the amount of sugar too. I think depending on what we want as an end result the quantities can be adjusted. I tried to make a balance here.

1 cup Rawa/Semolina/Suji
3/4 - 1 cup sugar
1/2-3/4 cup Ghee or butter
(Again these three main ingredients can go in the ratio of 1:1:1 for best results, I try to reduce the sugar and ghee for Calories and fat sakes)
2 cups Water, or 1 cup each of milk and water
1 - 1&1/2 cup Canned Pineapple Cubes with juice from the can.
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
A pinch of salt
1/8 tsp of kesari food color dissolved in 2 Tbsps of water or milk(optional)
1/4 cup cashew and raisins in fried in ghee


In a kadai fry the rawa with 1 - 2 tsp of ghee until you smell the fried rawa's aroma and all the rawa is well coated with the ghee, slightly turning brown.
Empty into a plate and keep aside.
Add the sugar, water, pineapple pieces with juice, cardamom powder, salt along with 1 tsp of ghee and bring it to boil on a high flame
I boil till the sugar water has a mild syrupy texture.
Add the Kesar color dissolved in water
Now simmer and slide the fried rawa little by little into the boiling Sugar syrup water taking care that no lumps of rawa are formed.
Stir thoroughly while adding simultaneously half of the fried nuts and raisins and half of the remaining ghee.
Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes till all the water is absorbed and the rawa is fully cooked.
Now add rest of the ghee and mix well to infuse the ghee thru the rawa kesari. Remove from heat and let it cool from hot to warm.
Serve and garnish with the remaining fried cashew and raisins.

This is my entry for the RCI - Karanataka Cuisine hosted by Asha of foodie's Hope

Friday, September 7, 2007

Peanut Punch/Peanut Butter Milk shake



I made this punch, on Sunday as my kids and DH were waiting for brunch. Thought this would my entry for the Liquid Dreams food blog event too, which I came to know only Friday that the deadline is Monday, Sept 10th.

Although everything was ready to for this recipe to be posted it appeared as if I could never meet the deadline. Suddenly we had a medical emergency with our second son, Joel on Sunday night. So almost the whole night we were in the Hospital emergency, and thank God, everything is normal now with him.

Finally I could post this on Monday night.


I had this Peanut butter milkshake from one of our friend's from Trinidad. I guess she is in New York now visiting her daughter. It was very tasty that I got the recipe of this protein drink from her at once.

This can even replace a breakfast. My kids enjoy it a lot. Especially my elder son. I had to make it for the second time that day by demand.

Caution: Please check for peanut allergy for Kids/Adults, cause this is not a peanut free zone.

2 Tbsp Peanut Butter Smooth
2 Cups Milk of your choice(fat free or 1-3%)
2 Tsbp Evapurated Milk
1 Tsp Condensed Milk
2 Tbsp Sugar
4 Ice Cubes

Garnish : Your choice of fruit


Procedure :
This is as simple as can be.

In a blendor add all the ingredients.

See that there is no Peanut butter sticking to blendor seperately.

Blend them for a minute or so two times.

Pour into a serving glass and garnish with fruit.

This is my entry for Liquid Dreams, Montlhy Mingle Theme - Drinks hosted by Meeta