Jaggery Banana Bread
EVENT: A- Z RECIPE CHALLENGE
THEME : A DISH BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER J
Why I made Jaggery Banana Bread?
Well, I’m a member of the group A-Z Recipe Challenge, a group started by Jolly Makkar and Vidya Narayan. What is required of in this group? Nothing too difficult but to cook a dish using an ingredient whose English name begins with the designated letter. This month we’re suppose to choose an ingredient that begins with J. Jalapeño, Jackfruit, Jelly, Jam and Jaggery are some of the few ingredients that I thought of. I have jalapeño poppers on my list to try out for so long. The urge is now even more urgent as I tasted them during my visit to USA and loved them.
I ordered jalapeño from an organic farm but they did not arrive. Something to do with the rains and what not. So the next best option was to make a dessert using jelly or jaggery. I was going through my bookmarked recipes and came across a little note I had added there that I should try baking a cake, muffins or cookies with jaggery and wheat flour the way my blogger friend Poonam does. Most of her bakes have no refined flour (plain flour, maida) and no refined sugar. Please check out her blog for exciting and more healthier versions of bakes.
Had some overripe bananas and my MIL loves home baked cakes with ice-cream. So that’s how the idea of a Jaggery Banana Bread came about.
What is Jaggery?
Known also as gud, gur, gor, gol, bella,vellam, the word jaggery comes from the Hindi word jagri. Jaggery is usually made from sugar cane juice or the sap of a variety of palm tree. The juice or sap is boiled in a utensil till it becomes thick and then poured in a vessel to allow it to cool. On cooling it becomes a soft solid and its shaped into a desired shape. The colour of jaggery ranges from light golden yellow to dark brown.
Jaggery is used to make a variety of savory and sweet dishes all over the Indian Sun Continent. Its a vital ingredient for the Gujarati Cuisine as most of the dishes are sweet and sour. Jaggery is used to sweeten dals like the famous tuvar dal, kadhi, curries like Chana nu Shaak, and sabjis/shaak like karela nu shaak. Have you used jaggery to make pickles or chutney? Lemon pickle is so much better made with jaggery than sugar.
Jaggery used for Sweet dishes
Jaggery is considered as a better sweetener than refined sugar. It contains more nutrients than refined sugar. Jaggery is rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and sodium. Its usually enjoyed during the winter months in tea, coffee or sweet dishes as it produces heat in the body. However, by no means it is low in calories.
I prefer making gur na ladwa (churma laddoo) with jaggery rather than refined sugar. Tal Sankari made during the festival of Uttaran is usually made from jaggery. Adding jaggery to Paal Kozhukattai ,makes it so much more flavorful than using sugar. Wholewheat Jaggery and Ginger Cookies is when I first used jaggery for baking but still used part sugar as I was not sure how the end product would turn out. I loved the caramel taste of the cookies and next time would use only jaggery.
Jaggery Banana Bread
There is a difference between a cake and a quick bread. Normally, cakes are where butter and sugar are creamed and then flour is added. Quick Breads are where wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.
I would have loved to bake the Jaggery Banana Bread in a loaf tin. However, that was not possible as I realized after making the batter that in my Bangalore home the loaf tin is big. So here’s a tip before you decide to bake, make sure you have the right baking tins. Luckily I have an 8″ round tin, which I used. Round or oaf shaped the taste is not comprised at all.
I recently bought jaggery powder to use for my daily cooking. Its really so convenient and that’s what I used for the cake. If you don’t have powdered jaggery then you would need to melt normal jaggery in the yogurt by letting the mixture sit for a while. Or melt it in water, replacing the milk. I usually grate the whole jaggery so that it melts quicker.
- I’ve not used eggs but if you want to make a vegan version then replace the butter with any vegetable oil and replace the milk with a veg based milk or water.
- Ideal for people who avoid eggs in their diet.
JAGGERY BANANA CAKE
Serves 8 – 10
1 cup wheat flour (atta)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda bi carbonate (baking soda)
½ tsp chai masala (tea spice)
¼ tsp salt
½ cup jaggery powder
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1½ over ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup butter
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Grease a 6 or 8 inch cake tin with some butter or oil. Add about 1 tbsp flour to it. By tapping the tin and moving it into a circular motion, coat the tin with the flour. Tap out the excess flour. Keep the tin on the side.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chai masala together into a bowl.
- In another bowl mix jaggery powder, yogurt, mashed banana and milk. Mix well and make sure the jaggery has melted.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just enough so that the flour becomes wet.
- Add the chopped walnuts. Mix gently.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level out the top.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or till its golden brown on top and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the tin from the oven. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes.
- Place a wire mesh over the tin, turn it over with the tin.
- Gently tap the back of the tin till the cake comes out.
- Let the cake cool completely before you slice it.
- Serve it with milk, tea, coffee or ice cream.
- Make sure you use over ripe bananas for the natural sweetness and moist cake.
- Replace the tea masala with cinnamon powder for a different taste.
- Add nuts of your choice, I just love walnuts with banana cake.
- Do not melt jaggery in the milk as it will curdle.
- Use a 8″X 4″ loaf tin.
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