Monday, February 20, 2017

Chickpeas in Turmeric, Coconut and Banana Sauce

Ripe bananas and onions. Those are the winning ingredients for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge. Bananas and onions. What in the world does one do with ripe bananas and onions? I had to ask Google and some other friends.

Caramelizing onions seemed like a great way to go but that would mean spending 45 minutes babysitting onions. I just don't have the attention span for that. As I searched some more, I came across recipes for curried bananas. Curried bananas? How's that even a thing? And why was I itching to test it out?

I have been craving curried chickpeas for a while so I thought I'd add the bananas to my chickpeas. I could have just sliced the bananas and tossed them in but that didn't feel like I was fully committing to a savoury banana dish. I could just pick the bananas out. I decided to blend the bananas into the coconut milk. Coconut milk is slightly sweet so I figured the sweet banana wouldn't be too far off. It wasn't!  Surprisingly. Just don't add too mucch banana. I tried first with two small bananas and it was way too sweet. One is definitely better. It's subtle and hence not the dominant flavour. You can start with half a banana in the coconut milk and taste the mixture to make sure it's not too sweet for you.

Chickpeas in Turmeric, Coconut and Banana Sauce

1 cup coconut milk
1 small banana
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1  1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 cups cooked chickpeas
salt & pepper, taste
escallion, for garnish


Blend the banana and coconut milk and set aside. 
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened and translucent. Stir occasionally. 
Add the garlic, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Cook while stirring for a minute then stir in the carrots and chickpeas. 
Pour in the coconut milk mixture. 
Cover and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancakes) - #BreadBakers

When I first heard the theme for this month's Bread Bakers (pancakes), I pictured yeast, an overnight rise and later some cinnamon invaded my pancake dreams. It was going to be great. And then I read the description from our host Mayuri. We had to go global. I almost took the easy way out. Pancakes aren't really a part of my cuisine. (My friend and I are still arguing about whether a particular Jamaican dish is our version of a pancake. The "no" side is currently winning.) This meant I really could just do a North American-style pancake and take the easy way out. Yeast isn't traditional. Plus, I can still count the number of times that I've ever made pancakes so it still felt like I was exploring? No? I couldn't convince myself either.

I was about to sit the event out because most of the pancakes that interested me included ingredients I can't get here. I also fell into a flatbread vs pancake rabbit hole. Lots of blurred lines there. I ended up choosing hotteok, a Korean stuffed pancake, that actually seems more flatbread-like to me. However, all the sites used the word "pancake" in the English name. While I was making it, I realised that I did fulfil my pancake dreams - there's yeast and cinnamon!

Hotteoks are a popular street dish during the winter and are served piping hot. Be careful though - that melted sugar can burn you. The sugar, cinnamon, and nuts filling is traditional. However, they can be filled with anything you desire. How about some cheese? A pizza filling? Nutella?

Picky Nephew came over right as I was finishing these up. I thought about offering him one. But why let him ruin hotteoks for me? I stuffed a hot hotteok into my mouth and then listened to him talk about whales. Look, I know I sound like a bad aunt there. I promise you, I am not that bad. A couple weekends ago, he requested pancakes. I made them. 
"Did you flip them in the air? I wanted to watch you flip them in the air!"
"Eat that one first and then I will show you that."
No, I cannot actually flip pancakes in the air.
"I don't want pancakes."
"What do you mean?! You asked me to make them for you!"
"I don't like pancakes."
*runs off to play*

I later learned that he has never tasted a pancake. I guess he just saw someone making them on TV and placed a request. We tried to get him to take a bite and that was just hell on earth. So, no, I was not offering him any of my hotteok.

Scroll down to see all the pancakes that the Bread Bakers made this month.

Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancakes)

Yield: 6 pancakes


156 grams flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 grams water
2 teaspoons oil
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanuts, crushed
1 teaspoon cinnamon

oil, for cooking and coating your hands


Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Pour in the water and oil. Mix together for a few minutes then cover and let proof until doubled.
When the dough has doubled, flour your work surface and oil your hands. This is a sticky dough! Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, shape into a ball and let rest for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
For the filling, make sure there are no large pieces of peanuts that may tear the dough.
Flatten each ball and fill with about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling. Seal the ball.
Heat a pan over medium heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Place a ball in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Flip the ball and flatten with a spatula.
Cook for 1 minute on this second side then flip the pancake again.
Turn the heat down to very low and cover the pan. Cook for  another minute so that the filling can completely melt then remove from the pan.
Repeat with the remaining balls.

Serve while still warm

  • Don't worry if the balls look a bit messy. It will look just fine when cooked and still taste amazing.

Check out the Pancakes from different parts of the world that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Orange Oat Muffins - #MuffinMonday

On almost every Jamaican dinner table on a Sunday, you will find rice and peas. The peas are either kidney beans (we call them 'red peas') or pigeon peas (we call them 'gungo peas'). I didn't like pigeon peas so growing up, you were more likely to see rice and peas made with kidney beans being served. More likely. You see, my mother loves pigeon peas. She may prefer it to kidney beans. And even if she doesn't, she would often get tired of the red peas every Sunday. She'd try all sorts of things to get me to eat pigeon peas. No dice. Sometimes she'd make the rice and peas and then help me to pick out all the pigeon peas. The rice was still flavoured with the pigeon peas but I guess that was acceptable to me.

One day she took me to the market and bought some peas from a vendor. Both my mother and the vendor told me that they were "African peas". They looked suspiciously like the dreaded pigeon peas but what do I know? That Sunday, our rice and peas was made with "African peas". And you know what? I ate every single bite. I found out about the trickery at a later date and was not at all pleased.

I still don't really like pigeon peas. I am the point now where I eat it without much thought but I'd really prefer to eat red peas. The turning point came when I was ten years old and would visit a friend every evening after school. Her mother would offer me dinner every evening and every evening I would turn her down. I wasn't being picky - I just knew that I was going home to have my own meal so I didn't need to eat there.

One day my friend told me that her mother was a bit offended that I always refused to eat there. Great. So the next time she offered, I happily accepted dinner. Do you know what they served that day? Chicken with rice and pigeon peas! I was not about to tell Mrs S that I did not eat pigeon peas and I was not going to pick them out so I ate every bite. Unfortunately, I went home and told my mother about this. So, of course, you know what she cooked the next Sunday.

I tell you all of that just to say that when Picky Nephew, who declared that he doesn't eat muffins, came into the kitchen and asked what I was making, I said, "!" He asked to help and had lots of comments. "Aren't oranges going to make it sour?" "We should add some honey." "Can we add syrup?" "What about baking soda?" "I'm an expert at mixing." When I asked him how he know so much about baking, he told me that he taught himself. OK, sir. I am pleased to report that he enjoyed his "cupcake"  and I see lots more "cupcakes" in his future.

I am eyeing the list from the Muffin Monday bloggers below for the next one to try to get him to eat. Be sure to check out the list too!

Orange Oat Muffins
Yield: ~ 11 muffins

100 grams sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
180 grams flour
60 grams oat flour (I pulsed 60 grams of oats in my food processor)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 425 F and grease or line a muffin pan.

Rub the orange zest into the sugar for a couple minutes. Stir in the flour, oat flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat together orange juice, milk, oil and the egg.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined.

Fill each muffin well almost to the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 375F. Bake for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

  • You can sprinkle some oats on top before baking. I wanted to but the likelihood of my nephew eating the muffin would decrease to 0%. You can also top with some sugar + zest. The baked muffins can be glazed with a bit of orange juice + powdered sugar.
  • These muffins are quite light - not dense at all.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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