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Friday, June 30, 2023

Granola Bars | Dry Fruit Energy Bar (No Sugar, No Jaggery)

Granola bars and granola are regarded one of the quick and healthy snack option on a day-to-day run that can be had without much guilt. Little did I know initially, when I used to grab a box of granola bars from Costco. and other outlets, thinking they make up a good midday snack for my kids. However, when I started reading the ingredients, the whole story changed. All these store bought granola bars had corn syrup, sugar and other sweeteners to bind it up. Then, I gave up buying the ready-made packs unless there is an emergency call. I started trying out granola and granola bars at home, which seemed quite easy to prepare and can be stored for a week at room temperature and upto 2 weeks in the refrigerator (haven't stored more than that as I make smaller batches).

The best thing about homemade granola or granola bars is that you can always play up with different grains, seeds, dry fruits and nuts. Check out this no sweetner banana oats bar which is a very healthy guilt free snack, it is more of a chewy kind. I have also posted a fruit and nut bars made with whole wheat flour, jaggery and dry fruits. Check that out here. Today's recipe is another simple granola bars made with dates paste, and this whole recipe depends on the type of dates used. Dates are not fondly eaten by my kids unless I sneak dates in any form of snacks and so I have used dates here in this recipe. Medjool or sukkari dates work best for this recipe as the dates should be very soft, pliable and sweet. These dry fruit energy bars are crisp on the outside and chewy inside. Give this a try and am sure all will love this recipe.

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 10–15 minutes
Serves ~ 12 rectangular bars
Author ~ Julie
oats 1 cup
almonds 1/2 cup
cashews 1/2 cup
pistachio 1/4 cup
sunflower seeds 2 tbsp
flax seeds 2 tbsp
sesame seeds 2 tbsp
dessicated coconut 1/2 cup
dates(pitted & cleaned) 1+ 1/4 cups
salt a pinch

  • In a mixer jar, add the pitted, cleaned dates and grind to a smooth paste without adding any water. If you are using hard dates, then soak the dates in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain water and grind without adding water. Keep aside.
  • Dry roast almonds in a pan for 3–4 minutes until nicely toasted. Remove to a plate.
  • Similarly, toast the cashews followed by sunflower seeds, flax seeds. Add the sesame seeds when the other two seeds are toasted half way. Sesame seeds starts to pop up, indicating it's nicely toasted. Remove to a plate.
  • Add the oats and roast until it's fragrant. Add the dessicated coconut along and toast another two minutes till it's crisp. Remove to a bowl.
  • Roughly chop the almond, cashews and pistachios. Add to the bowl with oats, add a pinch of salt. 
Watch on YouTube -

  • Add the sunflower seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds followed by dried cranberries.
  • Add the date paste and using clean hands mix it thoroughly. The mix will be sticky.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C for 10 minutes. Line an 8*8 square tray with parchment paper on all sides.
  • Transfer the mix to the tray and level it up with a spatula. Apply a little ghee on the back of a lid and press down the mix, applying pressure to fill in any gaps or air pockets. Apply pressure to get a uniform, smooth surface.
  • Mark up the mix with lines so that it becomes easy to cut once baked. You can mark rectangular or square lines as you desire.
  • Place in oven and bake for 17–20 minutes until the sides and top look crisp and done.
  • Cool for 5 minutes and then remove the bars from the tray. Cool completely and then cut along with markings. Roll in parchment papers or line up and then stack up the snack in airtight containers. Enjoy !!

* You can add 2 tbsp honey if the dates used is not very sticky and doesn't hold the mix together.
* I have used sukkari dates, but medjool dates work fine. Use soft type dates so that you don't have to soak the dates and can be used just like that.
* If you are using harder dates, soak the dates in hot water for 15–20 minutes. Discard the water and grind to a smooth paste.
* You can use peanut butter instead of dessicated coconut. 
* Use black raisins instead of cranberries or any other dried berries.
* Rolled oats adds more fiber and crunch to the granola bars, but quick oats also works fine.
* Use any other melon seeds instead of sunflower, flax and sesame seeds, the measure remains the same.
* Adding cashew & pistachios is optional, use walnut instead.


Monday, June 19, 2023

Marbled Banana Bread | Choco Banana Bread

 Leftover bananas? Don't worry. 

This is a great recipe to finish off all your leftover bananas and tastes so good. I loved the blend of chocolate and vanilla in this simple bread recipe. Though I have been baking all my leftover bananas and trying out many bakes in the past of which I have showcased a few in my blog too.

To be frank, the banana breads that I tried using eggs didn't fascinate me much as this eggless bake did. If you are an egg fan, then go ahead and add two eggs instead of the yogurt in this bake. The sweetness is perfect for a banana bread in this recipe, you can lower the sugar as per your sweet tooth. I generally don't bake my banana bakes as soon as I get overripe bananas, most of the time they land in the freezer and I bake only when am in a mood to bake. This way, these bananas are soft and easily mashed using a fork when thawed and used. 


This is one of the best banana bakes so far. I have been trying out multiple banana breads in the past - the low fat banana breadthe eggless chocolate banana bread, the butterscotch banana bread. My kids don't love the ripe bananas once they get the black spots on them, and so I get a plenty of leftovers. This is one way in which I end up baking them, and they make a great after-school snack for them-filling and delicious. Give this a try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Baking time ~ 50 mins- 1 hour
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ a loaf (9*5*3)
wheat flour 3/4 cup
all-purpose flour (maida) 3/4 cup
baking powder 1.5 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
cocoa powder 2 tbsp
banana 4-5 small
yogurt (curd) 1/2 cup
oil 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 3/4 cup
vanilla essence 1 tsp
milk 6 tbsp (approx.)

Watch on YouTube-

  • Sift the dry ingredients twice and keep aside.
  • Mash the bananas using a fork, I used frozen bananas (thaw and use). Add the granulated sugar in batches and mix. Add the yogurt and combine well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and combine well. To this add the veg oil and give a quick stir. Add the vanilla essence and finally add in milk (3tbsp) to adjust consistency.
  • Take the cocoa powder in another bowl and mix 4-5 tbsp of the prepare batter. Give a quick mix, add 2 tbsp milk to adjust consistency.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F or 180 degree C. Line a bread tray (9*5*3) with parchment paper at the bottom. Dust the sides with flour.
  • Finally, pour in the batter, alternating both batters till you finish off the batter. The batter should be 3/4th of the tray. Tap the tray to release trapped air bubbles. Run a skewer in the batter to get the marbled effect.
  • Place in preheated oven and bake for 50–60 minutes (mine took 60 minutes). Remove from oven and cool the bread in a tray for 10 minutes. De mould from tray and remove the parchment paper. Cool completely before slicing. Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee.

* The bread is soft and moist, so just slice after completely cooling, else will stick.
* If you would like to add eggs to this bake instead of curd, then go ahead and add two eggs, the rest of the measure remains the same.
* You can make this bread with maida alone for a lighter texture.
* I generally don't bake my banana bakes as soon as I get overripe bananas, most of the time they land in the freezer and I bake only when am in a mood to bake. This way, these bananas are soft and easily mashed using a fork when thawed and used. If you are using fresh overripe bananas, just mash and use. The streaks of not properly mashed bananas is perfect in the banana bread recipe.

* Rava Bread (Suji Bread)

Friday, June 16, 2023

Mango Milk Shake

Mango milkshake is a thick, delicious shake that you can prepare with mangoes and chilled milk anytime. And so being a regular affair at home in the mango season time, I never thought to pen down in my blog too. 

This time when I made mango milkshake, made a YouTube #shorts and that's how making a blog post if at all someone needs to refer my style mango milkshake a try. I have added sugar syrup in this recipe, and I think you should also give this a try using the sugar syrup. This sugar syrup can be made in large batches and refrigerated over a month for all your summer drinks. Mango lemonade was one which I made using the sugar syrup. Do give this sugar syrup flavoured mango milk shake a try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 5 minutes
Cooking time ~ 3 minutes
Serves ~ 3 glasses
Author ~ Julie
mango 1.5 cups diced and peeled
milk (boiled & cooled) 1.5 cups
sugar syrup 1/2 cup
ice cubes as needed

How to make sugar syrup?
Boil 3/4 sugar ad 1/2 cup water in a pan and boil till the sugar is dissolved, add 1/2 tsp of lemon juice (helps to clear the sugar syrup). Switch off and leave to cool. Make larger batches and refrigerate over a month in refrigerator till summers are over for all your drinks.

Why should you use sugar syrup to make a milk shake?
The sugar syrup adds a nice blend to the mango shake, unlike the regular sugar crystals. It gives a smooth, glossy finish to the shake. Try and feel the change.

Add the sugar syrup to the blender jar, add diced mangoes and milk divided. Blend until smooth. Use ice cubes as needed and chill for an hour before you serve for best results.Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or mango ice cream with chopped mango pieces for an added taste and flavour.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Black Chana Pulao | Karutha Kadala Pulao | Lunch Box Special

Back to school !! 

And here starts the worry of moms as to what to send for lunch box each day. Kids love all sorts of junk fancy items and moms try to send them a healthy, filling meal. But one pot meals are liked by most of the kids as they don't have to think much and can just gobble down without much fuss if it's tasty. One such meal for today is preparing this black chana pulao in a pressure cooker. 
The work becomes much easier if you already have some boiled chana in the refrigerator. Just take out and add to make a filling healthy meal or a lunch box meal. Achari Chana Pulao is another interesting option made with kabuli chana, try that out too. Give this a try !!!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 20 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 4
*karutha kadala / black chana boiled, 1.75 cups
basmati rice 1.5 cups
water 2.5 cups
onion, 2 medium-sized sliced
ginger-garlic paste 1 tbsp
tomato 2 medium-sized chopped
kashmiri chilli powder 1.5 tsp
hot chilli powder 1/2 tsp
coriander powder 2 tsp
garam masala 3/4 tsp
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
salt to taste
coriander leaves 2 tbsp chopped
vegetable oil 3 tbsp
lemon juice 2 tsp

Watch on YouTube-

  • Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for 20 minutes.
  • Soak the chick peas overnight and then cook as you regularly do in a pressure cooker. Keep the cooked water for gravy. Drain half cup of the boiled chick peas in a blender jar and pulse twice without adding any water. Keep aside.  
IMPORTANT- I have used 3/4 cup dry chick peas= 1.5 cups soaked chick peas = 1.75 cups boiled cooked chick peas for 1.5 cups basmati rice.I have mentioned each of the measures of chick peas so that it becomes easy if you are directly trying out the recipe with some leftover cooked chick peas. Modify the rice quantity to your available cooked chick peas and make pulao.
  • Heat a pan and add oil. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until raw smell disappears. Slide in the onions, curry leaves and sauté until lightly browned.
  • Add the turmeric powder, hot chilli powder, kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. 
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add the ground chick peas and mix well. Then, add 1 cup of the chickpeas cooked water. Add the remaining boiled chick peas and cook covered for 5 minutes.
  • Then add the 2.5 cups water, add the lemon juice, and finally add the drained rice and few coriander leaves.
  • Cook for two whistles on high. Finally, add the remaining coriander leaves once the lid is opened. Fluff with a fork and enjoy with yogurt and cucumber.

IMPORTANT- I have used 3/4 cup dry chick peas= 1.5 cups soaked chick peas = 1.75 cups boiled cooked chick peas for 1.5 cups basmati rice.I have mentioned each of the measures of chick peas so that it becomes easy if you are directly trying out the recipe with some leftover cooked chick peas. Modify the rice quantity to your available cooked chick peas and make pulao.
* You can add 2 tsp of ghee too, but I kept it very simple for lunch box.
* You can try the same recipe with white kadala (kabuli chana) too.
* Grinding half of the chick peas and adding makes the pulao tastier.
* I haven't added whole spices in this pulao as kids don't like separating them out in their lunch box.