I think I have hibernated long enough. And it is not even the season. ‘Tis the season to be out and enjoy the rains – which, after it having rained most of May and all of June, have disappeared since we officially entered the monsoon season. That’s the weather update for you.
A couple of weeks ago I was again confronted with two over-ripe bananas in the fridge – stored in the fridge so as to extend their pulpy lives further – and their demise looked nigh. There were some other things in the pantry that needed to be used up before they turned bad. Such as cornmeal from winter. It will turn bitter unless I use it up soon. And we know how the Indian middle-class hates to throw out anything, especially food.
My ever resourceful friend there suggested making pancakes. As a family (as Indians?) we are not big on sweet breakfasts. But these didn’t have to be too sweet I was told. She sent a link that I have since lost. Besides, by the time I was done tweaking the recipe, it looked nothing like the original! As I checked the ingredients I realised I didn’t have eggs. I was too lazy to step out so I substituted with milk. I was temped to add some ragi flour but, knowing my teen son’s taste, desisted. Chopped green chillies and cilantro were added for good measure a la besan cheela which we all like. It is quite express (15-20 min) if you are cooking for two and need to make only half the recipe. But then, maybe you need to cook only half anyway? I’ve been told by folks on these pages, in so-many-words, that my portions are as if for an army. They most decidedly are not! Humph!
1 1/2 C cornmeal
1 C wholewheat flour (atta)
1/2 C all purpose flour
1.5 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
6 T sugar
1 t cinnamon powder
1 t red chilli (cayenne) powder
5 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 C chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/4 C grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C butter milk (or whisk 3/4 C yoghurt+ 3/4 C water)
1 C milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 T oil (or melted butter), plus oil/butter for cooking
Mash bananas to a pulp. Prepare all the ingredients. Measure out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together milk, buttermilk, and oil (or butter). Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix till well combined. Mix in mashed bananas, grated cheese, chopped green chillies and cilantro.
Heat a griddle till a drop of water will sizzle on it. Coat with a little oil or butter. Pour pancake batter is 1/4 C measures. Cook each side for a minute or till golden brown. The pancakes are ready to flip when the surface is covered with tiny bubbles. You may serve these with a spicy chutney but they are really good with honey or agave nectar (that’s what I drizzled over mine).
The pickling season is at its peak. I have been busy in the kitchen every night this week – pickling, and jamming. Tonight I attempted a chutney, more like a relish, with the beautiful caronda (natal plum), gathered by my father (with help from my itsy-bitsy neice) from his lone bush. Aren’t the flowers pretty?
Another thing: the blog anniversary nears, and I was hoping to repeat our Mad Party from last year. I would like to hear ideas from you. Can you suggest a dish that might fit the bill – a dish that we neglect for no really good reason? Something that might wake up slumbering friends and bring them to the table? Something we can all cook and share with our families and friends, and celebrate good wholesome old-fashioned food. In short, have ourselves another jolly good party!