9 August 2007

A healthy cake in 15 minutes

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 too see if it would still taste good 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, Festival food, Neivedyam

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

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.

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.

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.

(This was written for the Family-Lifestyle blog Daily Tiffin)


Damn Receipt said...

Hello !

Very interesting blog.

It has been a plesure to read you.

I wish you the best.


bluespriite said...

Wow.. this sounds like fun... will definitely try.

Viji said...

very easy,quick and healthy cake,good work.

Roopa said...

wow looks like its gonna taste like banan rava kesari with coconut flavour. sure gonna try this would be great even for my kids lunch box :) thanks for sharing!

Tee said...

Healthy and Quick = Must try! :)
Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

wow - sounds great - will try.

some doubts - about the bananas - should i use the long green ones (cavendish / robusta) or the small yellow (yelakki) ones? both come in medium sizes thats why i am asking!

also my husband on a shopping errand went and bought a HUGE packet of coconut milk powder since dabur coco milk seems to be out of stock - can i use this powder, do you think?

by the way - i know your husband! from b'lore. happened to chat with him on yahoo recently and told him to tell you i love your blog!


junoesque said...

hi n ..you rock as always.

a few questions.

can i use an OTG ? and if so for how long should i bake the cake ?

i am not a fan of coconut milk. any substitute suggestions ??


Nandita said...

Hi D,
S showed me the chat you guys had and i remember that :)
OK, you use the robusta (bigger regular green banana) - but a medium sized one, not the really huge ones, that could alter cooking time.
You could by all means use coconut powder, reconstitute it as per pack instructions to make one and a half cups of coconut milk and omit the 1/2 cup water. DO let me know how this turns out, if you happen to try it D!

Juno- nice to see you back girl! please use regular milk with tsp of vanilla extract or vanilla flavoured soy milk. Both should work fine. And I really do not know about the OTG way to make this, probably place the baking tin in a larger tin half filled with boiling hot water and then bake for 20 minutes or so...just a guess. You have the option of stove top steaming too, use your pressure pan and place the vessel with the mix in it and steam (remember NOT to use the cooker weight for steaming) - steam for 15-20 minutes this way until top is dry. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Doc N,

You remind to countless TamBrahm youngsters the traditional mother-made food delicacies !!

Kudos.. keep up the good work !

Happy I-day 2007 !

shankar aiyar
rshankar (sigfood)

Anupama said...

Hey Nandita, Your recipe reminded me of a similar such cake with semolina and yogurt that my Aaji makes. I always asked her to make it when I was a teenager and she used to be thrilled to bits by my request. I am going to call her up tomorrow and refresh my memory.In the meanwhile I'll try out yours. Banana flavoured cake has to be sure shot winner.

junoesque said...

uber cool babes


Anonymous said...

hey N! i just tried this. turned out very nice. not so much like a cake though, more like a rava kesari, but very nice all the same. i did use the coco milk powder (what else would i do with 500 gms of it!!!) - that seemed to work well enough. i reconstituted to make 1 cup only and forgot to use the extra 1/2 cup water - but that didnt do any harm.
easy to make. good to taste.

Nandita said...

Good to hear that - yes it does not tastle like a 'cake' because we use rava as against maida / AP flour. But a healthy option nevertheless :)

zlamushka said...

Hi Nandita,

that s a very unique idea. Microwaved cake. I like. I am reading the comments, you can even steam this one ? Now that s even weirder.... (That means I have to try it :)

Thanx, looking forward to hearing more of the strange ones from you ...

Mansi Desai said...

Hi nandita,

great variation...i m a bit skeptical with semolina, but i think i'll give it a try...it just looks great, and its healthy...what else could i ask for??:)


savitha said...

Made this for dessert tonight and DH loved it. I topped with chopped dried cherries which went well with the bananas. This was like a banana kesari. So very good!

Richa Priyanka said...

I tried this too, with a mix of whole wheat and rava.http://ambrotos.blogspot.in/2012/05/microwave-banana-cake.html?showComment=1346561889268#c4964898634256321004

raksha said...

wow I too make this cake , it's yummy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...