Yesterday, we showed you brownies and pie crust. Today we go East with an everyday classic with a coconut twist and another that is part of “pure veg” Indian cuisine.
Coconut Banana Bread
Bananas, chocolate, and coconut, all grown in warm climes far away from San Francisco. It fails to be locally sourced, ok, but this recipe is delicious.
Preheat oven to 350 F
½ cup sunflower, canola, or melted coconut oil, or combination
1 cup sugar
½ cup coconut milk (Not coconut water)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 ripe (nearly rotten) bananas
½ cup dark chocolate chips
Thoroughly mix oil, sugar, and half of the coconut milk together in a large mixing bowl. Separately dissolve the baking soda in the other half of the coconut milk and stir into the mix.
In another bowl thoroughly mix flour, salt and cinnamon.
In a third bowl completely mash up the bananas with a fork and then stir in the choc chips.
Gently add the flour mixture to the oil and sugar bowl. Fold it in until stuff is almost, but not quite, combined. Fold in the bananas and chips just as gently – if there are a few pockets of flour that never got moistened, that is fine. Complete mixing at this stage results is hard and unpleasant banana bread texture later on.
Pour it all into some kind of well-oiled pan, loaf or bar pans both work. Loaf will take longer to bake, of course.
Bake 50 minutes or until fork or toothpick comes out clean. Cool and eat.
Homestyle Pakoras (aka Chickpea Flour Fritters)
Chickpea flour, also called besan, garbanzo, or gram flour, is a peculiar but tasty substance. It behaves poorly as a substitute to wheat flour, but does have an egg-like quality in cooking.
This is my dad’s recipe for homemade pakoras. He’s a Bengali omnivore, but the fritters are vegan. Apparently these can be made with a deep-fat fryer if you have one, but a good deep pan will suffice. Though it’s an Indian recipe, I don’t see why you couldn’t change the tone and use different herbs, spices, and sauces. Go Mediterranean or Mexican, for example, with sage and rosemary or cumin and cilantro.
1 cup chickpea or besan flour
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp mustard powder (optional)
pinch of chili powder
¼ – 3/4 cup water, depending on how fine the flour is
Vegetables cut up in one-bite size chunks. (Cauliflower, broccoli. Potato and eggplant are ok if sliced into thin circles, slim enough to cook all the way through. Onion rings work too. My dad likes to cut heads of cabbage into ½” slices and dip the circle of tightly-wound cabbage in the batter.)
Mix flour, salt, and spices. Slowly stir in water, adding enough water that texture is of thick – not runny – batter. Set batter aside for 5 minutes, and put on an apron. You may get splattered, and turmeric stains.
Drop the vegetables chunks in the batter.
Heat about an inch deep of vegetable oil, choosing an oil that tolerates high heat and a pot that gives you extra depth once the things are frying away.
Some recipes have the frying done is only tablespoons of oil on a griddle instead of deep-frying. That’s ok too.
Test some batter. If it cooks immediately, you’re ready. Oil needs to be hot, or batter will get goopy. If too hot, then pakoras will be raw inside and burnt outside.
Cook a few minutes, until golden, then flip and cook the other side. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs, and cool on paper towels.
Serve with something delicious to dip them in: hot sauce, raita made with soy yogurt, ketchup, or spicy mint chutney.