A healthy cake in 15 minutes

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Posted by Nandita

A no-bake, no-eggs, no-sugar cake and it is delicious

Whenever I see a dessert recipe whose ingredient list does not feature sugar and a gazillion calories worth of butter, I almost try it out on the same day...firstly to see if it would taste good after excluding the 'evil' ingredients and secondly, it is quite difficult to resist such a recipe. When I chanced upon a steamed 'rava' (semolina) - banana cake, it seemed too good to be true. When my newly married cousin in Bangalore tried it out and gave me a really bright green signal, I had to try this out. Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes has something similar on her blog, an authentic Goan recipe sent to her by a reader, but her recipe uses sugar instead of jaggery.
I've made slight modifications to the original recipe, in terms of microwaving the batter instead of steaming, and I did it on a trial and error basis, because my kitchen doesn't have a big enough steamer to take the whole batter in one go.
Using the microwave for this recipe did seem to have its advantages:
1. Lesser cooking time (7 minutes as against 25 minutes of steaming)
2. Lesser cleaning up - just one microwave safe dish other than the wok used to mix ingredients
3. Even your kids can handle the recipe from the assembled-ingredients stage

Semolina-Banana-Coconut Cake (No bake)
Time taken - Under 15 minutes
Serves 6-8 people or more
Category - Healthy dessert



Ingredients
1-2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter, see notes) If you don't have this, use unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup semolina (buy the finer of the varieties)
3/4 cup jaggery (see notes)
3 bananas - medium sized
1 pack thick coconut milk (I used Dabur's 200 ml pack)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions
1. Grease a 9" or so microwave safe flatware with some ghee on your fingertips. Keep aside.

2. In a blender / mixer, place the 3 peeled bananas with the jaggery, make a smooth paste and keep aside.

3. Heat the remaining ghee in a heavy bottomed wok, put in the semolina. On medium to low flame, constantly stir it around until it turns lightly golden. This part requires your full attention for 5-7 minutes and the slightest burnt semolina will spoil the taste of the cake.

4. Once the semolina turns golden, turn flame to lowest possible, pour in the banana-jaggery paste, stir till it is nearly absorbed by the semolina. This will take 30 seconds to a minute. Take the wok off the flame.

5. In a jug, whisk well the coconut milk, water, salt, baking powder, cardamom powder and pour it into the semolina mix in the wok. Stir well till ingredients are blended through.

6. Pour this mix into the greased microwave safe dish. Garnish with any nuts /dried fruits or candied fruit to make it more appealing to kids.

7.Microwave at 100% for 5 minutes. Check the degree to which the cake is cooked and then depending on that microwave at 80% for 2 minutes or so. Remove, cool and cut into squares /diamonds.
(For steaming - pour this in a greased 9" diameter tin and steam for around 25 minutes until the top is dry and a tester comes out clean. These are the directions from the original recipe. I haven't tried this method personally, but it should work well for those who do not have /use a microwave.)

8. Serve warm.

Health tip:

This cake needs to be refrigerated because of its coconut milk content which may go rancid if left out for longer time. You can warm it by nuking it for 20 seconds or so. It makes an excellent dessert idea for the tiffin box for your kid or your spouse.
Jaggery is known to be rich in iron because of the huge iron vessels in which it is processed, hence better that sugar which is just empty calories. Diabetics, please be informed that eating jaggery does nothing better than sugar for your blood sugar levels as they both have the same glycemic index - calorie-wise and carbohydrate-wise, both are nearly the same. If you have to choose between the two, jaggery is just a slightly better choice because its more natural and nutritive than plain sugar.

Notes:
1. You will find jaggery, rava and ghee in any store selling Indian groceries.
You can also make ghee at home from unsalted butter - instructive posts here, here & here.
2. In case you do not have a microwave, you can surely steam this cake as per original recipe's instructions.
3. A lighter coloured jaggery will yield a paler cake and a dark brown jaggery will give you the rich brownier one. If you do not find jaggery, by all means use brown sugar or even white sugar.
4. My cousin tried this with whole wheat flour instead of semolina and said the results were as good. Just increase the baking powder a tad bit.
5. Try it out with spices of your choice. I love the taste of cardamom and hence it found its place in this recipe. You could try out cinnamon or clove powder or even all spice powder.
6. This quick recipe can also fit into the 'Neivedyam' category, which is the offering to Gods made in most Indian homes for festivals and auspicious days as it has no eggs. And from what I hear, most Indian Gods and Goddesses love jaggery as well as bananas :) , and we love them for that.




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This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail


11 comments:

awesome. will try it soon.

bee said...
August 9, 2007 at 7:23:00 AM GMT+2  

Nandita, My health goddess, you are the best. This sounds really too good to be true. Soeren's last day of KIGA tomorrow and I am planning on baking a few cakes. I think I'll be making this one two.

Meeta said...
August 9, 2007 at 7:44:00 AM GMT+2  

the mom in me says- Yes! Yes! This sounds so good, Thanks Nandita.

August 9, 2007 at 8:00:00 AM GMT+2  

Thanks dear girls! But main credit goes to Jyotsna (cooks cottage) from where I learnt this one!

Nandita said...
August 9, 2007 at 8:12:00 AM GMT+2  

I must get bananas... friend sent me a banana nut muffin recipe and now I see this.

Sounds very nice.

Raaga said...
August 9, 2007 at 8:26:00 AM GMT+2  

It sounds lovely, and I would like to try it!
Could you maybe add a howto on steaming the cake as well? I don't have a microwave and am not planning on getting one too soon...

;)

jokergirl said...
August 9, 2007 at 8:28:00 AM GMT+2  

Nandita, excellent yet simple on.e Will definitely tyr this out.

Nirmala said...
August 9, 2007 at 8:41:00 AM GMT+2  

Interesting recipe. Can you update this with pics please?

When you say 3/4 cup jaggery, are you talking about melted jaggery?

Do you use water to make the paste of banana and jaggery?

Doesn't semolina get into lumps when you mix this jaggery banana paste over it?

Sorry for asking too many questions but I want to try it ..really soon.

~nm said...
August 10, 2007 at 6:28:00 AM GMT+2  

JG- have added a note on steaming too...

NM-pl find the answers below:
When you say 3/4 cup jaggery, are you talking about melted jaggery?
You need sliced or crumbled or powdered jaggery. If you have a large rock kind of piece, place it in microwave for 10-20 seconds- it will be soft enough to be crumbled easily.

Do you use water to make the paste of banana and jaggery?
Banana and jaggery when pureed in mixer, the liquids from the banana are enough to keep the blades moving. In 2 minutes, you will get a lump-free puree.

Doesn't semolina get into lumps when you mix this jaggery banana paste over it?
Semolina after frying to golden in ghee, will blend well with the puree in just a few stirs. No lumping. Atleast in the three times that I have tried this, there wasn't any lump formation. In case you do see any, you can always smoothen it out using the backside of a ladle.
Hope all your doubts are cleared and you are able to try it soon!

Nandita said...
August 13, 2007 at 6:43:00 PM GMT+2  

Do you think I can substitute the coconut milk for something else? My husband has low iron levels so this is a great recipe, but the high fat in coconut milk wouldn't help any adult!

FromIndia said...
August 24, 2007 at 6:41:00 PM GMT+2  

i am so excited to have found this recipe. it looks great!

. . . said...
September 28, 2007 at 12:34:00 AM GMT+2  

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