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Instant Wheat Flour Banana Appam

Gokulastami is approaching and appam, vella aval, seedai, thattai and murukku are the most neivedhyam (offering) prepared for Lord Krishna. Traditionally nei appam is made with rice and requires little planning ahead like soaking the rice and grinding. Last year my mom shared this instant and easy appam recipe with wheat flour and banana. It turned out soft and was equally tasty as the rice flour ones. Since it does not require any soaking or grinding, this recipe is perfect for working women and beginners. 

Try this instant appam for Janmashatami this year. Take a look at other recipes in the blog for Gokulashtami / Sri Krishna Jayanthi:


{ Instant appam with wheat flour and banana }
Yields 21


1 cup wheat flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 banana, medium-sized
¾ cup grated jaggery
¼ tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp grated coconut
Oil + ghee, as needed for frying


1. Heat a saucepan and add the jaggery and ½ cup water. Dissolve the jagggery completely. Strain to remove impurities and set aside to cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add the wheat flour, rice flour, cardamom powder, coconut and mix well.

3. Add the jaggery and mix well to form a lump-free batter. Add more water as required. The batter should be thick and pouring consistency.

4. Heat a paniyaram pan and add oil + ghee. Pour spoonful of batter into the holes and cook till both sides turn golden brown.

Notes and Tips
  • Depending on the sweetness of your jaggery and banana, you can reduce/add the amount of jaggery. 
  • You can add coconut bits (thenga kothu) instead of grated coconut.

Broccoli Garlic Penne Pasta

For dinner on a lazy weeknight, pasta is my saviour. I rarely make pasta with tomato or cream based sauces, as we prefer the simple and quick ones with no sauce. A pasta with no sauce is one in which olive oil is used as the base for the sauce, with garlic as the other main ingredient. So it is important to use good quality olive oil for these olive oil based pasta.

One of our most favorite pasta, and one I make often is spaghetti aglio olio. It's a simple pasta recipe flavored with a garlic chilly oil. Today's pasta recipe is a variation of that pasta with broccoli and Italian herb mix. This broccoli garlic pasta has become our family favorite now. Try this healthy and 15-minute pasta with the goodness of broccoli. Check out other pasta recipes here.


{ Penne pasta with broccoli, garlic and Italian herbs }
Serves 2


2 cups penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ cup broccoli, cut into small florets
1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
1 tsp red chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions in the packet. Drain and wash in cold water. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a pan with olive oil and add the garlic. Fry till it starts to turn light golden.

3. Add the broccoli and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add the herbs, chilly flakes, salt and pepper.

4. Add the cooked pasta and toss till well combine. Adjust the salt if required.

5. Remove from heat. Add the grated cheese.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use any pasta of your choice.
  • Chop the broccoli into thin florets (with stalks) so that it cooks fast and is still crunchy.
  • Adjust the red chilli flakes according to your spice preference.

Quinoa Vegetable Pulao

Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a highly nutritional seed that has rapidly gained lot of popularity because of its health benefits. Quinoa is high in protein, fiber and anti-oxidants, contains essential amino-acids and is gluten-free too. There are hundreds of cultivated types of quinoa, but the most common ones available are white, red, and black quinoa.

There are several ways we can incorporate quinoa in our diet. Salads are the most popular way and being an excellent carbohydrate substitute, you can replace rice with quinoa. Quinoa blends very well with Indian flavors and can be used to make upma, pulao etc. Following my vegetable pulao recipe, I tried this quinoa vegetable pulao. The pulao turned out so flavorful and does not really need a side dish, a bowl of onion-tomato raita is just enough. It's great to pack for lunchbox too. Do try this protein-packed healthy pulao and let me know how you like it.


{ Mildly spiced pulao with quinoa and vegetables }
Serves 2-3


1 tbsp oil
1 bay leaf
¼-inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 cardamom
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 green chillies, slit
12-15 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 small potato, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
¼ cup green peas
¼ cup sweet corn
¼ cup capsicum, chopped
1 cup quinoa
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp black pepper powder
Salt to taste


1. Wash the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer few times under cold water and set aside.

2. In a non-stick kadai, heat oil and add bay leaf, cinnamom, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds and fry till nice aroma comes.

3. Add the onions and saute till soft and transcluscent. Then add ginger- garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes.

4. Add the green chillies, mint and fry for 1 minute. Then add the vegetables, garam masala, pepper powder and fry for 3-4 minutes.

5. Add the quinoa, salt and 2 cups water. Bring to boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook covered for 10-12 minutes or until quinoa has become soft and fluffy.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use any vegetables of your choice.
  • I kept the spices mild, you can add more spices as per your preference.

Eggless Wholewheat Maple Banana Oat Muffins #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Bakers, our host Mayuri of Mayuri's Jikoni chose natural sweeteners as the theme. We had to bake using natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, molasses, dates, banana puree, coconut sugar, stevia, palm jaggery etc instead of  refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. I have never tried before any baked goodies with natural sweeteners, so I'm glad Mayuri chose this theme and I was excited about trying a guilt-free bake. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

Coming to the recipe, I chose a simple eggless muffins made with wholewheat, oats, almonds, chia seeds sweetened with pure maple syrup and bananas. Though I don't mind eggs in a bake, I wanted to try replacing with chia seeds. I used the whole chia seeds and it gave a nice little crunch to the muffins. We often find that wholewheat bakes turn out bit dense, but surprisingly these muffins were so moist and dense. The muffin batter might look slightly thinner, but do not add more flour! You can substitute almonds with any nuts of your choice. Try these no-sugar no-butter healthy and nutrient packed muffins and let me know how you like it.


{ Eggless wholewheat muffins with banana, oats, almonds, chia and maple syrup }
Recipe Source ~ Bowl of Delicious
Makes 12 muffins


2 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup light olive oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup water
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 190 C | 375 F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners.

2. In a bowl, mix together the chia seeds and ⅓ cup water. Set aside for 10 minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the bananas, chia seeds with the water and mix until well combined.

4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, water and mix until well combined.

5. Stir in the oats and whole wheat flour until just combined. Fold in almonds.

6. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle the almonds on top.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use coconut oil or any neutral or light flavored oil instead of olive oil.
  • Use any nuts of your choice instead of almonds.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Breads with Natural Sweeteners


Apricot Cranberry Walnut Quick Bread #BreadBakers

It's time for yet another Bread Bakers challenge. This month's host is Mireille of The Schizo Chef and she suggested stone fruits as the theme. Stone fruits are not in season now as winter has started in this part of the world. So the only option left was to use dried stone fruits. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I decided to bake a bread with apricots, but none of the recipes appealed to me much. Finally I settled on this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I was bit apprehensive about the recipe because of the amount of sugar, butter and number of eggs but nevertheless decided to give a try because the reviews for the bread were good.  I'm so glad I tried it because this is definitely one of the best quick breads. Soaking the dried fruits kept the bread moist and the bread was not overly sweet with a nice hint of orange. If you love fruits breads then give this apricot cranberry walnut quick bread a try.


{ Quick bread with dried apricot, dried cranberries and walnuts }
Yields 9 x 5 loaf


1 cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberry
113 grams / ½ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 180 C | 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Soak the apricots and cranberry in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition.

4. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest and beat until well blended.

5. Stir in the flour and then add the milk ¼ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Fold in the apricots, cranberries and nuts.

6. Pour the batter into loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Notes and Tips
  • Soaking the dried fruits plumps them and keeps the bread moist. Do not soak for more than 15-20 minutes.
  • You can use pecans or any other nuts instead of walnuts.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

#BreadBakers - Stone Fruit

Ennai Kathirikai Poriyal | Stuffed Brinjal Fry

Eggplants / brinjals is one of our favorite vegetables. The aubergine or the bharta baingan is available all year around here and occasionally I can find the Japanese eggplant as well. Back in India, we get the round purple and green brinjals, but sadly I get those varieties not often here. I was so excited when I spotted these purple beauties in the market last week and I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them.

I had bookmarked this ennai kathirikai fry recipe from Chitra's Food Book. Chitra has got a lovely blog with a great variety of recipes from different cuisines. Thanks Chitra for the recipe, we loved it so much. The poriyal was packed with flavors and we actually didn't need any side dish. We had it some plain rice and ghee - yum! If you get smaller brinjals, it will be more tasty. Off to the recipe now!


{ Stuffed brinjal fry with Indian spices, onion and tomato }
Serves 2-3


3-4 tbsp sesame oil / nallennai
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
1 sprig curry leaves
4-5 big garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomato, finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
4 purple brinjals
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 tbsp chana dal / kadalai paruppu
1 tbsp peanuts
2 tsp coriander seeds
3-4 dry red chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds / methi
1 tbsp grated coconut


1. Lightly roast all the ingrdients 'to grind' except coconut. At the end add coconut and remove from heat. Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding 1-2 tbsp of water.

2. Slit the brinjals into 4 without removing the stalk. Stuff with the ground masala and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add split urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turn golden.

4. Add garlic, onion and fry till it's translucent and raw smell of garlic goes. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.

5. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, remaining masala if any salt and fry for 4-5 minutes. Add the brinjal and toss to coat them with masala, 

6. Turn the heat to low and cover and cook till the brinjals are soft, turning them every 2-3 minutes.

7. Once the brinjals are tender, cook uncovered till the masala becomes dry. Adjust the salt as required.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer less spice, add 2 or 3 chillies only.
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