Cooking for a person with food allergies - especially foods from other countries - means that you are going to have to stock an array of spices and condiments. If you want Chinese, Thai, or Indian foods you can't simply call for take out, or eat out....these types of food usually utilize peanut oil for it's high smoking ability, or flavor. For making Chinese, and Thai food, it's handy to have sesame oil, rice vinegar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, various soy sauces, and Chinese 5-spice...just to name a few. For Indian food, dried chilies, black & green cardamom (which you must husk and grind), fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, again - just to name a few, are essential.
Needless to say, I have all the aforementioned spices and condiments, and a slew of other ones, too! Every time I say, "That's it, no more!! I am using up what I have!", I'm at the grocery store the subsequent week, scouring the aisles for something new. This week I found candy covered fennel seeds! Yeah, I bought them :o)
So when I came across the recipe for Chai Glazed Banana bread, I was stoked!! I had all the ingredients - don't you love it when that happens! The first time I made this verbatim, glaze and all. It was sweet and spicy, with tons of chai flavor, just lovely. This time I didn't quite have enough bananas, so I pureed some frozen blueberries to make up for it. If you're not a fan of blueberries, any other fruit would do (applesauce, or example). I also decided not to glaze it, as the added blueberries provided a nice moist crust - using the bananas alone made the crust somewhat dryer, so the glaze was appreciated. Glaze, or don't glaze - it's up to you....I won't tell you what to do.
If you decide not to glaze your bread, you'll have extra spices left. You could fold them into butter, and serve the chai butter with this bread, or add the spices to a pot of tea (strain it though a very fine screen or coffee filter). Since we're talking about spices...HERE is a link for a tutorial on how, and why, to husk and grind your own cardamom. I used a mortar and pestle, or, if you have a spice grinder - even better. If have neither, simply put the husked seeds in a Ziploc and Whack-A-Mole it with a rolling pin or a some other blunt object....it's very therapeutic.
Blueberry Chai Banana Bread adapted from, Cooking Light
makes about 16 servings
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup blueberry puree
1/3 cup Greek blueberry yogurt (I used fat free)
5 TBS butter, melted
2 eggs, large
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground green cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda - set aside.
In a small bowl, combine ground cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and all spice, mix well - set aside.
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl for a stand mixer), combine mashed bananas, pureed blueberries, yogurt, and melted butter. Beat on medium speed until just blended. Add eggs, and sugar, beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add flour mixture, beat on low until just blended - scraping the sides down if needed. Gently fold in 1 1/2 tsp of the spice mix and 1 tsp of vanilla extract into the batter.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick yields just a few crumbs when inserted. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.
Combine remaining spices, remaining vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk - place cooled bread back into cooled pan - pour spiced glaze over bread.
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