Saturday, May 11, 2013

Black Bean Brownies

Black bean brownies6

When I’m looking for new recipes to try, I usually go for the ones that do not make use of fancy or unusual ingredients. I also try and stay away from recipes that seem too “healthy” to taste good.  I’ve wanted to make brownies with black beans for a long time but was a bit skeptical about how they would turn out. Then I found this recipe on Meal Makeover Moms. With so many positive comments, it seemed like the perfect recipe to try. Black beans are pureed and used instead of flour here. I tweaked the recipe a bit and this is what I used-


  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ -1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract (or 1 Tbsp fresh orange zest)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts (reserve a handful for sprinkling on top of the batter)


Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line an 8 x 8- inch baking dish with foil and grease well.

Place the drained and rinsed black beans in the bowl of a food processor and puree till smooth.

Add the oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, coffee granules, orange extract, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder, and process until everything is combined well.  Throw in the chocolate chips and toasted hazelnuts and pulse a couple of times to incorporate them into the batter.

Dump the batter into the greased baking pan and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts over the top.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until done.

Cool completely before slicing. I refrigerated the brownies for an hour before cutting them into squares.

I was expecting very “beany” brownies but was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Had I not made these myself, I would never have guessed that black beans formed the base of the recipe. I’m glad I added the coffee powder, orange extract and toasted hazelnuts- they gave the brownies so much flavor. I don’t think I’ll add the vanilla extract if I make these again- I could hardly taste it. While these brownies do not taste like the ones made with flour and have a slightly different texture, they are pretty good considering that they're made with beans.  They taste even better a day after they’re baked. I took a batch in to work and no one could tell that they were made with beans. 

Black bean brownies7

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kale Chips

Kale chips1

I made these tasty and crispy kale chips to go with the pita pizzas we were having for dinner.


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with foil. Wash and thoroughly dry the kale leaves. Remove the inner ribs, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place on the baking sheets. Drizzle oil over them, add salt, pepper and garlic powder, toss to evenly coat,  and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.

 I made 2 batches of chips and they were gone in no time at all!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Avocado Brownies

Avocado brownies 2

I make brownies regularly and have tried a lot of brownie recipes over the years.  This was my go-to recipe for the longest time until I tried Dorie Greenspan's recipe. I borrowed Baking: From My Home to Yours  from my library sometime last year and came across Dorie’s  Classic Brownies. I've made her brownies several times in the last few months, adding my tweaks and modifications, each time I bake a batch. 

I make brownies frequently, and recently I was making a particularly large batch to give away as gifts. I decided to double the original recipe and replace some of the butter with avocado puree and make a few other changes.


(This makes enough batter for a 9x13-inch pan)
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used Baker's)
  • 1 ½  tsp instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 avocado, peeled & pureed
  • 2/3  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ - ¾   cup walnuts


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil and grease well.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the coffee powder, salt and sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, avocado puree, flour, baking powder and baking soda, mixing after each addition. Stir in half of the chopped walnuts and combine to get a smooth batter. 

Dump the batter into the prepared pan and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top of the batter. Bake at 325 F for around 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool completely before slicing or else it will be difficult to get perfect straight-edged pieces. I refrigerated my baking dish with the brownies (after it had cooled down completely) for a couple of hours before cutting them into squares.  As delicious as these brownies are fresh out of the oven, they taste even better after a day or two.

Avocado brownies 1

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wheat Flour Dosa

Wheat dosa3

I make these instant dosas anytime, day or night, when nothing but dosas will do for a meal. While I love the traditional dosas, making them requires a little bit of planning and preparation. The batter for wheat dosas is ready in less then 5 minutes and does not require any soaking, grinding or fermenting.


(For 12 -14 paper-thin dosas)
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ -1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • A sprig of curry leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Water, to make a thin and watery batter


Mix together the ingredients listed above and add enough water to form a thin and smooth batter.

Heat a cast-iron skillet until hot and pour a ladleful of batter onto it. Lift the skillet off the heat and tilt it around so that the batter is distributed evenly over it. Since this is a very thin batter, spreading it using a ladle like you normally would for other dosas  will not work. Add a couple of drops of oil around the edges of the dosa and cook till done. Then flip over and cook the other side.

Serve hot with chutney.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bread Pakodas

Fried food tastes so good and is so addictive, but I limit deep-frying to just a couple of times a year since it is an unhealthy way of cooking and the whole process is such a hassle for me. When I do fry, I go all out and fry up different things so that the entire batch of oil is used up all at once. I made these pakodas to go with steaming hot cups of tea recently. 

Bread pakoda1


  • 4 slices of bread, edges trimmed and each slice cut into 4 small triangles
  • 1 cup besan/chickpea flour
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp chaat masala
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
  • 3/4 tsp - 1 tsp baking soda
  • Salt to taste
  • Water, for preparing the batter
  • Vegetable oil, for deep- frying


Mix the chickpea flour, rice flour, green chillies, chaat masala, asafoetida, carom seeds and salt in a bowl. Add enough water to make a smooth and lump-free batter. Add baking soda to the batter just before you start making the pakodas and mix well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat until very hot.

Drop 3-4 pieces of bread into the batter. Carefully drop the batter-coated bread pieces, one at a time, into the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in 3-4 small batches till the pakodas are crisp and golden-brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Bread pakoda2