Monday, September 12, 2011

Quick and Easy Banana Bread

I absolutely LOVE a warm fresh banana bread, and this one takes barely five minutes to whip up and the rest of the time it just sits in the oven. Easy. I don't have a photo because it really never lasts too long in our house! So here is the base recipe with optional ingredients that you can leave out or keep according to preference:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (farenheit). Grease a standard loaf pan.
Blend all your wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/3 c milk
1/2 c oil (canola or vegetable)
1 c mashed banana (about 2 or 3 depending on size)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add 1.5 c of sugar (or splenda they are equivalent in sweetness, I actually prefer only a cup but it depends on how sweet you want the bread) and cream together.
Add 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon (I've occasionally left out the cinnamon and it turns out fine, you can also add 1/2 tsp nutmeg too). Add 1 3/4 c flour and mix in until fully incorporated but be careful not to over mix this will cause your bread to be too dense and tough. Bake for an hour and insert a toothpick to check if it is done (when the pick is clean it is done). If it is not done check every 10 minutes here on out. Take out invert and turn right side up and let cool on a wire rack or plate. Parcel me a slice. Just kidding. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chinese Biryani!

Ha! A picture. How fancy am I? A fair warning: on paper this sounds like a very questionable recipe but this is not a prank, I actually made this the other day. It is a bit labor intensive but if you do the prep work ahead of time it hardly takes half an hour to put together. So before hand I would recommend, marinating your chicken, making the spicy sauce, frying the garnish, and chopping up all your vegetables:
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 onion, cut in squares
2 green bell peppers, cut in squares
1/3-1/2 cabbage head, cut in squares
a package of mushrooms, each mushroom cut in quarters
Put in a colander so the veggies dry out a bit.

Take 1.5 lb of boneless chicken and cut into small pieces, add to a bowl to marinate.
Chicken marinade: soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic, ground black pepper, a little flour so the marinade is not too watery. Refrigerate.

Take 4-8 green chilies (depends on if you have spice lovers at your table or not) and cut in half up to stem, but do not remove it. Take a head of garlic and thinly slice each clove. Deep fry the chilies until evenly blistered and fragrant but careful not to burn. Deep fry the garlic slices as well until a golden brown. Drain on paper towels. These will be your garnishes (I would highly recommend not skipping this step as it really is what makes it so good).

Spicy sauce: whisk together 1/4 c of mayo, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste) and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.

Rinse two mugfuls (I know I'm a crazy person who uses coffee mugs instead of a conventional measuring cup. Sue me) of rice really well, until the water runs clear. In a pot, add 1/4 c of oil, heat and add 1 heaped teaspoon of both cumin (white zeera) and caraway seeds (kala zeera) and 4-5 star anises and lightly fry until fragrant. Add rice, and stir a bit to let the flavors penetrate the rice. Add 4 mugfuls of water and salt to taste, let boil and then simmer on low, covered (dum) when very little water is left. While the rice are simmering, prepare the chicken/veggie gravy.

Chicken/Veggie gravy: Heat 1/4 c oil and add 1 heaped tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger. Fry until that raw smell is gone and add the chicken. After the chicken is no longer pink add the vegetables fry and generously sprinkle garlic powder (at least a tsp), salt, and black pepper (at least 1 tbsp) in the pan. Add 1-2 tsp of crushed red pepper, 4 tbsp ketchup, 2 tsp sriracha chili sauce, 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (rec: mae ploy) 4 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp ground star anise, 1 c water, and boil. Add a
cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch + a little water). Boil until the sauce thickens, remove from heat.

In a large tray, spread all the rice evenly. top with half of the chicken/veggie gravy mix, top that with the spicy sauce, spread remaining gravy mix on top of that. Garnish by scattering the crisp garlic on top and in the middle, neatly arrange fried green chilies in the center. Voila! And that is Chinese Biryani (if there ever were such a thing :P). I would say this dish easily serves 8 hungry people (if it is served alone) Enjoy! And leave your comments if you try it!