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Banana Cake. Peanut Streusel.

I love baking Plain Jane cakes. The ones you can whip up quickly in a bowl and the ones where you do not need to fuss about frostings and such. I specially like the kinds you can bake on a weekend and leave in the fridge to snack on during the week.

The brown butter banana cake from food52 checks all the boxes. As an added bonus, there is no need to even bring out a whip; you only need a blender or a food processor. The original recipe is for a loaf cake but I adapted mine to fit a 6 inch springform pan. If you are comparing recipes, you will notice that my cake recipe is halved but I kept the full recipe for peanut streusel. That's because the peanuts and oats add a real crunch and more is really a lot better in this case.

Here's the easy breezy way to get your cake fix.

Ingredients
For Streusel
40 grams butter (I use salted Amul butter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oats
2/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts

For cake
50 grams butter (I use salted Amul butter)
1 cup minus 2 tbsp plain …
Recent posts

Kaffir Lime Rasam

I've been on bit of a Thai food kick this past month. Which means that the fridge is also chockfull of Thai ingredients. So I started to think what else I could do with them. Which means there have been a few experiments. Here's the most successful of them thus far: a kaffir lime rasam.

As far as fusion foods go, this isn't too much of a stretch. Lime rasam is already a thing and kaffir lime adds a lovely new dimension to flavour and fragrance of this rasam. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
2 tbsp arhar dal
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 tbsp rasam powder
1 tbsp lime juice

In a pressure cooker, add arhar dal, 2 kaffir lime leaves, salt and turmeric with 3 cups of water. Boil until the dal is fully cooked and you have a watery stock.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add hing, cumin seeds and rai. Wait a minute for all the seeds to start sputtering, then add the kaffir …

The Curries of Thailand

For someone who grew up in India, I am really a chicken when it comes to eating spicy food. Hence, for a long time, I would also avoid Thai curries. But then I went to Thailand twice this year and fell in love with the food. I also realised that the curries come in a whole spectrum of spice levels, from the mild massaman Curry to the fiery green one.

No wonder then that the massaman curry is my favourite and the one I cook the most once I got back from Thailand with a bag full of ingredients. It's a strange one too, with flavour influences from India and Malaysia. Originally made with beef and potatoes, I make my vegetarian version here with a mix of onions, peppers and potatoes. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into bite sized squares
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite sized squares
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and cut into squares
2 tbsp massaman curry paste (look for the vegetarian version)
1 tbsp peanut oil
200 ml coconut milk
1 tb…

Green Soup

Last month, I discovered a hydroponics grower in Mumbai called the Herbivore Farms. They grow salad leafs and chards and herbs and once a week, send a box over to your home. The lettuces are so fresh, it just automatically makes for healthy salad eating. Then there's chard: I added it to stir fries and Asian style miso fried rice the first week. This week, I made green soup.

Anna Thomas' soup is less recipe, more a canvas to do with as you please. The first time I'd made this soup a few months back, it was with spinach and coriander and spring onions. This time, I used the swiss chard and carrot top leaves. It turned out pretty amazing both ways so make use of whatever green leafy vegetable and herbs your fridge is overrun with at the moment.

Anna's original recipe uses arborio rice to thicken the soup. I used a potato which works equally well. Don't be stingy with either the slow fried onions or the lime juice; both contribute to most of the flavour in this one. …

Blini Bling

Buckwheat is the grain of choice when it comes to fasting in India. Every navaratri, my mom makes paranthas with what's locally called 'kuttu ka atta'. The dough is made with a combination of buckwheat and mashed potatoes, then rolled out and shallow fried in ghee. It's delicious enough to make atheists like me pretend we're fasting. But because this is fasting day food, you don't do much to the paranthas beyond eating them with yogurt.

The Russians on the other hand make a fine art of topping their version of buckwheat pancakes, the blinis, with salmon and caviar and sour cream. The pancakes themselves are a bit bland though, a pale match to the dark beauties that Indian kuttu paranthas are. So why not combine the two, I thought. Make a base of mini buckwheat paranthas Indian style, then load them up like a blini. The resulting dish packs quite a punch.

So ditch the idea of buckwheat as a fasting day food and go make these indo-blinis. I topped mine with a re…

Chris' Pumpkin Soup

Some dishes take you by surprise. In the middle of a quiet dinner, they grab you and force you to sit up and take notice. It's even more surprising when that dish happens to be soup. It happened so at a dinner with my friend Chris. We started off with his lovely homemade bread and salad and then he brought this soup in. A soup with punchy flavours that also freezes well. I eventually got the recipe off Chris and I now make this often, leaving bowlfuls in the freezer for a rainy day. You should too!

Ingredients
250 grams yellow pumpkin, cut into chunky cubes
250 grams potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
1 leek stem, washed, cleaned and roughly chopped
1-2 celery stalks, washed, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10-12 peppercorns
Roasted pumpkin seeds and dill to garnish

Find the largest saucepan you own and heat the olive oil in it. Add peppercorn…

The Last Hurrah

May and June are my favourite months of year food-wise. It's when all the best fruits are in season at the same time. For about a month, I go crazy eating my fill of fresh peaches, plums, cherries, litchis and apricots. Then monsoons kick in and all the fruits vanish at about the same time. This is the last dessert I made this year with my fruit bounty. A plate full of plums, peaches and cherries, the flavours bound together with the easiest pudding you can make. And a sprinkle of almonds to bring in a much needed crunch.

Posset is a pudding that sounds impossible. But it's far less fussy than your typical mousses et al that require scary combinations of hot liquids and egg yolks. There are no eggs in this funky British dessert. Instead, your purposefully curdle cream with lime juice. It all feels like it shouldn't work but it really does end with a creamy, delicious dessert.

This recipe from Food52 was made with heavy cream, but I made it with the light 25% cream found i…