Friday, January 31, 2014

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Do you love chocolate and moist cake? Do you already have some ripe bananas on your kitchen counter top? If the answers are yes, then this recipe is for you! Today I'm going to share the recipe of Double Chocolate banana bread. Chocolate Banana Bread combines the sweet flavor of ripe bananas with chocolate. Generally Banana Bread is our favorite snacks with tea/coffee, though we are not against for breakfast either. Off late I started baking the banana bread or regularly and always got excellent result. Most of the time I bake the regular banana bread, the one I already shared in this blog, ( click here for the recipe of regular Banana Bread )but for a change I tried other versions too. It was a fun to change the regular banana bread recipe. Earlier I used to add coffee flavor or some chocolate chips but never thought of adding unsweetened cocoa powder to it. This is the first time I added the same and it was awesome.

Double Chocolate Banana bread is cake-like bread with rich chocolate flavor, yet retains the sweetness and moistness that makes the banana bread popular. I had a New Year resolution this year that won’t make any sweet dish or dessert for the first month (just trying my best to keep the weight under control. I kept my promise and neither had I made it nor did I have bite at them even in weekend parties!! Since the first month is towards the end, now I can make my first sweet dish of the year. To make Banana bread, you need fully ripe bananas that means their skin color would turn into brown and its flesh would become very soft. At this stage, many people throw these bananas in the garbage, without realizing how delicious they would be when they are baked with bread. Every week I buy banana for my kid’s breakfast but a few of them will turn brown before we finish them. Instead of throwing them, I put them in a plastic bag and keep it into the refrigerator. Then wait until I have enough for baking.

This recipe is very easy one and takes hardly 10 to 15 minutes to prepare before baking. You can serve it as breakfast with a glass of milk or as a snack or dessert with a scoop of icecream!

Recipe of Double Chocolate Banana Bread : ( for one loaf ) 

Ingredients :

Vegetable oil : 1/2 cup
White sugar : 1 cup
Eggs : 2 
Ripe bananas ( mashed ) : 3 medium sized 

All purpose flour : 1 cup and 3/4 cup
Baking powder : 1/2 teaspoon 
Baking soda : 1 teaspoon 
salt : 1/2 teaspoon 
Unsweetened Cocoa powder : 1/2 cup

Milk : 1/4 cup 
Chocolate chips / chocolate chinks : 1/2 cup
Chopped toasted pecan or walnut : 1/2 cup ( optional ) 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C and lightly grease a 9- by 5- by 3- inch loaf pan and set it aside.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt into a medium bowl and keep it aside.

3. Cream the oil and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle or with a hand mixer add eggs one by one and beat until it becomes light and fluffy. Add the mashed bananas and mix well. 

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, mix in with a rubber spatula, until incorporated and alternately add the milk.  Mix them together nicely.

5. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans. 

6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean. 

7. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Take it out of the pan when it is completely cool. Banana Bread is best if it is served the next day! serve it as breakfast with a glass of milk or as a snack or dessert with a scoop of ice cream! Enjoy!

Friday, January 24, 2014


Today's recipe is very popular and common one but we never think of making it at home. If we go to Indian restaurants, along with some veg or non-veg dish, we must order this one too. Nowadays you get them in American retail chains like Costco. I am taking  about Naan. I have found several recipes for Naan but never dared to try out at home. Finally I got the courage and went ahead with the experiment. The end result was really satisfying. Didn't imagine that it could be just like restaurant's one.

Naan is a thick flat and soft bread, more like pillow. It is served hot and when brushed with ghee or butter, it tastes too delicious. It can be used to scoop other foods or served stuffed with a filling. Naan has many variations and it may be made in different flavors too. You may use whatever spice or flavors you like and can stuff with your favorite fillings. It may be with your choice of verbs, vegetables or meat. There are number of ways to enjoy this bread. It goes well with different non-veg dishes like Mutton Rogan Josh or Chicken Tikka Masala. At the same time, vegetarians can have it with Matar Paneer or Baigan Bharta. Nowadays western cousins are making fusion dishes based on Naan like Naan Pizza, Naan wrap or Naan burger and they are slowly growing popular. 

The Black and white photography I have sent it to a Black and White Wednesday event. Deepali Jain of Lemon in Ginger is hosting this week BWW. The original creator Susan, here is the Susan's event page, and  Cinzia, is the current admin of this event. Here is her page 

A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, a yeast culture and yogurt to make a smooth yet elastic dough. Then it is kneaded for a few minutes and let it rest for few hours for rising the dough. Once risen, it is divided into balls and then they are flattened and cooked. Traditionally Naan is cooked in the Tandoor (means clay oven with high temperature) but unfortunately I don't own that type of oven. So the other option is the conventional oven. I find the stove-top or skillet method is more easier and more closer to the Authentic Naan in terms of taste. The recipe is quite easy and won't take much of your time, so go ahead if you want to make your own Naan :-)

Recipe of Homemade Naan : Serves 3 to 4 ( for 8 Naans )

Ingredients :

All purpose flour / Plain Flour : 4 cups
Baking Powder : 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Baking Soda : 1 teaspoon
Sugar : 1 tablespoon
Salt : 1 teaspoon
Hot water / warm water ( but not boiling hot water, use hot tap water )
Active Dry yeast : 1 teaspoon
Warm Milk : 3/4 cup
Yogurt : 1 cup
Butter ( melted ) : for brushing ( you can use white oil too )
Nigella seeds or cumin seeds : 1 tablespoon ( for topping )
Fresh Cilantro or your choice of herbs ( for topping )

Method :

1. In a medium sized bowl or in a deep mug or in a measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the warm water ( 115 F or about 45 C, use a food thermometer, but if you don't have one just feel it, quite warm to touch, more than body heat, that is 98- 99 F) . Add the sugar, and stir it until they are dissolved. Let it rest for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and almost double in size.

2. Take a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to it.

3. Once the yeast is foamy, add the warm milk and yogurt to it.

4. Now pour wet mixture to the dry ingredients mixture and mix it with a wooden spatula. Once they are well mixed use your hands and knead to finish mixing together. It should be sticky but form a soft ball.

5. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and let it sit in a warm place for at least 1 hr or until it doubles in volume.

6. Once the dough rises up in double, punch down it lightly and divide it  into equal sized 8 portions. First make round balls, use loose flour if needed. Now take a rolling pin and roll each piece of into an oval shape. It should be 5 to 7 inches long and enough thick. Repeat the method with the rest of the dough. 

7. Take a cast iron skillet or iron tawa warm it up. Brush both the sides of the Naan with melted butter and sprinkle nigella seeds and place it on the hot skillet. Cover it with a lid and bake for 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until large toasted black spots appear on the other side. Brush with more butter, sprinkle chopped cilantro. Repeat the same process for the rest. Serve hot. If you have leftover freeze it or keep in a Ziplock bag for next 1 or 2 days at room temperature. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Easy Tomato Fish ( Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce )

 I am back with a simple fish curry and I would like to call this dish “No Fuss Tomato Fish”.  The name says it all; it is entirely a beginner's recipe which needs few ingredients and takes no time. It would be most useful dish for working couple. When you are exhausted after day’s work and feeling lazy but your mind wants something tasty and flavorful, this fish curry recipe is perfect for those evenings. It takes hardly 15 to 20 minutes to prepare this dish and it would be perfect combination with a bowl of steamed rice on a regular lunch or dinner.

Common River fishes like Asian Sea Bass (Bhetki) is perfect for this recipe. I generally used Tilapia, Bass or Halibut to make this dish. Tomato Fish is nothing but only fish cooked in flavorful and spicy tomato sauce. You have to follow very few steps. First marinate the fish for a short time and then pan fried them. And then you have to just add the fish pieces to the tomato sauce, bring it to a simmer and until every thing is well cooked. I am very thankful to Devlina di for this recipe; she is one of my best friends in San Diego and I learnt several dishes from her. Her recipe is always quick and simple but tasty.

Off late my husband has become my best critic when it comes to food photography. Last couple of times I was simply showing him my pictures before I posted them in the blog. He didn't like any because it seems lighting was not good. :-)  Initially I got annoyed thinking he doesn't know much about photography anyway, later realized he was right. I had retaken the pics with more brightness and it came out much better. Sometimes we need this kind of feedback which helps us to improve and so will always appreciate your input.  

Recipe of Tomato Fish ( Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce ) : Serves 6

Ingredients :

White fish ( Tilapia, Sea Bass, Halibut, Rui, Katla, Bhetki ) : 1 and 1/2 lbs ( cut into medium sized pieces and washed ) 
Turmeric powder : 1/2 teaspoon
salt : to taste 
Oil : 4 to 5 tablespoon 
Nigella seeds : 1/2 teaspoon 
Fenugreek seeds : 1/2 teaspoon
Grated Ginger : 1 teaspoon and half teaspoon
Cumin Powder : 1 teaspoon  
Red Chili powder ( optional ) : as per tolerance 
Tomato : 2 big ( outer skin and seeds removed and make it puree ) I used fresh tomatoes, you can use canned too. 
Whole Green Chillies : as per tolerance
Sugar : 1/2 teaspoon or to taste ( optional )

Method :

1. Wash and pat dry fish pieces. Sprinkle salt and turmeric on them, coat it well and set it aside. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

2. Add oil to a medium sized pan and heat it up. Once oil is ready ( hot ) add the fish pieces in two batches and lightly fry them ( quickly and without browning them ) on the both sides. Once they are done set it aside.

3.  Keep the flame medium high. Add oil in the same pan ( if needed ) and add nigella and fenugreek seeds.  Once they are aromatic ( do nut burn them, it will take a minute ) add the grated ginger. Stir it well and add the cumin powder and red chili powder ( optional ). Keep stirring until oil starts to come up from the sides of pan.

4. Add the tomato puree and again give some stirs. Let it cook until raw smell goes off and oil starts separating from the spices. Add the whole green chillies. In a minute or two add a cup of warm water. Also add salt and sugar. 

5. Cover the pan and bring to a boil.Once it starts boiling open it and add the lightly fried fish fishes. Cover the pan again and bring it to a simmer and cook until the fish is tender. It will take 4 to 5 minutes. 

6. Check the desired consistency and adjust the seasoning. Serve with steamed rice. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Egg Drop Soup

Wish all my readers a very happy new year and hope 2014 will fulfill all your dreams and ambitions. I am back after a long break. We spent a very relaxed and warm year-end vacation in the midst of beautiful and sunny San Diego weather. It’s so hard to imagine 70 F temperature and people going to beaches in the last week of December. So only way to feel the cold and snow was to visit nearby mountain tops like big bears. It was so refreshing to see snows on the road while driving. My kid had a nice skiing experience for the first time. Like every other years, we celebrated 31st night at residence of our family friend with other members from Bengali community. It was great fun with authentic Indian food and music.

But eventually I had to be back to my old routine and so started preparing myself for new blog post. I was searching for some quick and easy recipe that would be perfect to start the New Year. During the vacation, we tried out different Chinese cousins and today’s idea is influenced by those experiences. Today I will share the recipe of a soup, which is favorite not only at my family, but probably to most of the people who likes soups. It’s called Egg Drop Soup. This is the most soothing and comforting dish that needs only three basic ingredients. It is very simple, flavorful and a healthy choice, if you are looking for a lighter soup. It takes only 15 minutes to be on the table from oven. 

It is a Chinese Soup of beaten eggs in boiled chicken broth. The chicken broth is seasoned with white pepper and soy sauce. It is finished by adding a thin stream of beaten eggs to the boiling broth. Once it’s done thin and silken threads of cooked egg floats in the soup. You can add your choice of vegetables in the broth that makes the soup healthier! A warm bowl of protein and vegetables give you that feel good factor at any time. I am sure that it will slowly become everybody’s favorite in your home and then regular refreshment in the evening.

This is my version of Egg Drop Soup. I have no idea how to make the authentic one. But this one is based on the tastes that we used to have American Chinese or Indo-Chinese restaurants. 

Recipe of Egg Drop Soup : Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients :

Chicken Stock  / vegetable stock : 2 cups and half cup
Corn Starch : 1 and half tablespoon 
Water : 3 tablespoon 
Light Soy Sauce : 1/2 tsp 
White pepper powder ( ground ) : as per taste
Salt :  to taste 
Egg : 2 lightly beaten 
Spring onion or green onion : ( a handful ) finely chopped ( keep the green part and white part separately). 
Vegetables : I used finely sliced carrot ( a handful ), you can use mushroom / bean sprout / celery / tomato / tofu.

Method :

1. In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with the water. Stir it well to blend and set aside. 

2. Take a medium sized soup pot, pour the stock or broth and add vegetable and the white part of spring onion. Bring it to a boil.

3. Let it boil for couple of minutes. Add white pepper, salt, and soy sauce. 

4. Add slowly the corn starch mixture to boiling soup. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.

5.  Reduce the heat and now hold the bowl of beaten eggs several inches  from the soup pot. Pour eggs in a very slow and thin stream into the boiling mixture, and at the same time stirring gently with a fork or with a pair of chopsticks in one direction.  ( This is the tricky part to make this soup, and this way the silky egg strands will be formed. Do not pour egg too fast or too much quantity )

6. Switch off the gas and pour it into bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve hot.