One a penny, two a penny - Buns

I was introduced to Mangalore buns after my marriage. Two days after to be precise. "Let's make buns for breakfast tomorrow", my mother in law told me. I nodded my head, awed that she was not only a good cook but a great baker too. I imagined us buttering warm buns fresh from the oven, while sipping tea and engaging in lively conversation (those darned Enid Blytons again!).

To cut a really embarassing story short, I realized buns were puris only after my mother in law poured oil into the 'kadai' instead of pre heating the oven!!

Buns are made with ripe bananas and maida and served with chutney for breakfast (the version we grew up eating was made with rice flour and called 'kelyache wade'). My mother in law favors whole wheat over maida and since I learned the recipe from her, that's how I make buns too. If like me you buy a bunch of bananas and always have a few over ripe ones left that noone is willing to touch, this is the perfect solution.


BUNS (Banana Puris)
2 cups whole wheat flour (or maida if you prefer)
1 overripe banana
4-5 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup yogurt, beaten
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
salt to taste
1 tsp oil + oil to deep fry

Peel and mash bananas. Add yogurt, sugar, salt, cumin and baking soda. Adjust sugar to your taste. Five tablespoons might seem a lot but you always need to add flour while rolling, which reduces the sugary impact. Mix well. Gradually add flour and gather together to form a dough. You might need to add more flour if the dough is too 'wet'.

Rub a teapoon of oil on dough evenly. Cover and set aside overnight or for a minimum of 4-5 hours.

Dust rolling pin and board with flour (the dough will be very sticky) and keep some handy to help with rolling. Roll out circles of 3-4" diameter. Don't worry if they are slightly thick - they taste better. Since I haven't mastered buns yet I roll a large circle and then cut out puris with a cookie cutter or bowl. Faster and way easier :-)

Heat a kadai with enough oil to deep fry. Gently slide in puri and fry on moderate heat till it puffs up. Turn over and fry on the other side. Buns will be slightly darker in color because of the bananas. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.

Serve hot. In our home they are served with a spicy green peas curry - heavenly and so worth all the hassle and guilt!

* More sweet ideas - The Maharashtrian delicacy of Gharge, puris made with grated pumpkin and the Luchis that our neigbour in Calcutta used to make with left over syrup from rasgullas or gulab jamuns.

* Entry for JFI Banana hosted by Mandira of Ahaar



My Salad Days

"Does it come with a salad?", this is my hopeful question in most restaurants. No matter how eager I am to try the main course, the salad remains my eternal favorite. To crunch on fresh greens with a seasoning of the simplest ingredients is such a fulfilling, palate cleansing act in my opinion.

This inclination to raw food stems from my childhood - if you have a father who whips up a salad every single day and enjoys creating dressings from some really unique ingredients - you are bound to view salads differently.


(the book & the tool)

My interest in food and cooking started by perusing my mom's cookbooks when I didn't have anything to read. Today I have a collection I am really emotional about (yes, I get emotional about my books!). It's not huge, but I have bought each book (or it has been gifted to me) with a lot of thought behind it.

One such book is 'Twelve Months of Monastery Salads' by Victor D'Avila Latourette, a Benedictine monk. It is a collection of almost 200 salad recipes that the monks prepare in their kitchens throughout the year. How good are the recipes? Well, I e-mailed a couple to my dad and now I have a standing instruction to get this book for him on my next visit!


(adpated from 'Twelve Months of Monastery Salads)
1 cup black beans*
a handful of corn kernels
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Dressing -
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cumin powder
a pinch of paprika
salt & pepper to taste
Garnish -
finely chopped cilantro

Soak beans overnight and cook till tender but holding their shape. Or rinse and drain if using canned beans. Combine with corn, bell pepper and onion in a large bowl. Add minced garlic and toss well.

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until thickened. Pour over salad and mix well. Adjust seasoning and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for flavors to blend.

Garnish with cilantro and serve. (Eat with your eyes first!).

* In the book this is a Latin American inspired three bean salad with red, black and white beans. I used black beans only because I didn't have the other two. You can also use red kidney beans (rajma) or black eyed peas (chawli) as a substitute. The mustard is not a prominent flavor so it can be omitted. Use a little red chilli powder in place of paprika to make it spicy by Indian standards! This salad is perfect for lunch boxes, picnics and potlucks.

* Trivia of the day - The phrase 'salad days' was first used by Shakespeare in Anthony & Cleopatra -
My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then!

* Entry for 'Show me your Cookbook' hosted by Nags of For the Cook in Me