Green Banana (Matoke) Fritters.

Green bananas, aka matooke or green fig are popular in the region, and inexpensive as they are available all year round. They are mostly served stewed or steamed and mashed, but can also be fried or baked.

I have shared several green banana recipes here on the blog already, from the usual stew, to a curry, baked or fried as French fries or cutlets, and even as porridge.

I love fritters. They are a great way to use up various vegetables you have on hand and are easy to whip up, need just a few pantry staples, and do not take too much time to make. In this recipe, green bananas are the star of this vegan friendly and gluten free meal, that is inspired by Indian pakoda aka fritters.

They work well as an appetizer or snack (tea time or after school), though they can be quite filling if you are unable to have just a few, like my household and I. 😋

For this recipe you will need:-

1. A small bunch of medium sized green bananas. If they are big, 2-3 fingers will do for a family of 4-5. (As a snack).

2. 1 small onion.

3. 3 large cloves of garlic.

4. 1 cup chickpea flour; also known here as besan/ gram / bhajia flour.

5. 1/2 cup cornflour. Can be substituted with rice flour.

6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Spices -a small pinch each of turmeric, paprika, ground coriander.

8. Herbs- I use parsley or mixed herbs.

9. 1 tsp baking soda.

10. Cooking oil to fry in. Half a litre will do.

Method.

1. Wash the green bananas, peel them and soak them in a bowl of water to avoid them blackening. (Tip: Peeling bananas under running water will ensure your hands and knife do not get the sticky stains that usually bother one when peeling them).

2. Heat your oil on medium.

3. In a large bowl, add the flours, salt, pepper and spices and whisk till well combined.

4. Grate your onion and garlic directly into the flour, and add in the parsley.

5. Grate the bananas into the mixture too, and using your hands, mix gently to combine everything.

6. You do not need to add water to the mixture as the vegetables will release their water as you mix.

7. Add the baking soda last and give it one last mix. Remember to be gentle.

8. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture into the hot oil, and fry for about five minutes or until golden brown.

9. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.

10. Serve hot with your condiment of choice. They are tasty enough on their own or with a hot cup of spiced tea. Yum!

Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, they are so flavourful both in and out.

How do you like your green bananas?

Savory Oat Pancakes.

These pancakes are a wonderful option to our usual sweet pancake options.

They make a great breakfast, brunch or tea time snack and are filling, colourful and oh so tasty, which are my non negotiables when it comes to good food.

They are both vegan and vegetarian friendly as they are dairy free and egg free. They are also gluten free, and guilt free.

Best of all, they make great use of those little vegetables that are usually left in the fridge looking all forlorn and neglected at the end of the week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-
• 2 cups oats. Quick cooking ones work well.
• I heaped cup of assorted vegetables. ( I used some finely chopped onion, tomato, capsicum and grated carrot).
• 1 tsp grated ginger, and one grated garlic clove.
• 1 tsp mixed spice blend (this enhances the savory flavour).
• 1 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.
• 1 1/2 cups chickpea (besan) flour, also called gram flour locally.
• 2 cups water and more if needed.
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
• Cooking oil.

Method.
1. In a dry, preferably non stick pan, toast the oats on a low flame till they become a bit darker in colour. Don’t burn them . Toasting them releases a subtle nutty aroma and flavour. Put them on a wide plate or tray to cool down completely.


2. As the oats cool, chop or grate your veggies of choice. I like removing the seeds from the tomato. This can go into the salsa mix you will serve on the side.

These pancakes are also a great way to load up on your fresh veggie intake. 🤗


3. In a large bowl, add the gram flour, paprika, salt pepper and mixed spices. Mix well to combine.


4. Add the cooled oats and the water gradually till you get a thickish batter. Start with one cup of water and add gradually.
5. Next go in the chopped vegetables. Mix well and remember to season well. Taste a little bit to confirm.


6. Heat the pan on medium low and add a tablespoon of oil. Swirl the pan to ensure it is well coated, before adding a ladle or scoopful of batter. You can use a measuring cup for this.


7. Let the pancake cook until it looks dryish on the surface, then flip carefully to cook the other side. It will turn a lovely golden colour and firm up. They will however not puff up like our usual fluffy pancakes as they have no rising agent or gluten. So flip carefully, don’t make them to thick and keep the heat medium low to low, so they can cook completely on the inside. I like mine with a few crispy edges, which is fine.


8. Once ready, put them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Look at that lovely golden colour!


9. Serve immediately with salsa or chutney and some avocado. The colours, flavours and textures blend in so beautifully.

This is a perfect colourful and filling meal that is not hard to make, makes use of what you have on hand and is healthy too. Win Win Right?

Definitely worth a try!

Herb and Cheese Rolls.

I am a big fan of savoury / seasoned breads. Such as these yummy cheese and herb rolls.

Don’t they look lovely?

I like using this recipe from half-baked harvest, though I usually make a few changes here and there.

These rolls are so soft, fluffy, buttery, well seasoned, herby, cheesy and great to have with some soup on the side or even on their own.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

1. 3-4 cups of all purpose flour.

2. 1 small packet of instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp).

3. 2 tbsp honey.

4. Small pinch of salt.

5. 1 cup of warm milk.

6. 2 tbsp of melted butter. Have some extra butter on hand to brush on the rolls once out of the oven.

7. 2 eggs.

For the herb and cheese filling our ingredients are:-

1. 2 tbsp chopped coriander.

2. 2-3 cups cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese (grated).

3. 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese.

4. 1 minced garlic clove.

5. Salt and freshly ground back pepper.

6. Mixed savoury spice seasoning.

This is the savory seasoning I used.

7. 2 heaped tsp mixed herbs (mine had thyme, oregano and basil).

8. 1 tbsp sesame seeds.

Let’s get started.

1. In a large bowl, add the flour, yeast, salt, and mix well. Add the sugar, milk, beaten eggs and butter. Mix with a wooden stick then once its kind of a shaggy dough, knead with your hands till it is soft and smooth.

2. Cover with a cloth and let rest for about one hour in a warm place, or till the dough is doubled in size. I usually keep mine in the oven with the light on.

3. For the filling, chop your coriander, which can be alternated with parsley too and set aside in a bowl. Add the grated cheddar and mozzarella, mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and the savoury spice and mix well.

4. In another small bowl, add the cream cheese, a little bit of salt and pepper and the minced garlic and mix well.

5. Get a baking tin and line it with parchment paper.

6. Once dough is ready, punch and knead a bit to deflate it. Roll it out to a rectangle shape, but not too thin.

7. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough generously, then sprinkle the cheddar and Herb mix.

8. Roll it tightly into a log shape, same way we do with cinammon rolls, then slice into 12 pieces.

This recipe makes 12 rolls.

9. Place the cut pieces in the baking dish, cover and let rest for half an hour.

10. Preheat oven.

11. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the rolls and bake fo 25-30 minutes at 170°C. You can let them brown a bit and you will smell and see the cheese bubbling on top. They smell so good!

Love it when the cheese bubbles over. Yum!

12. Once out of the oven, brush generously with some melted butter and let rest for about 10 minutes.

13. Serve warm as a brunch side, or with soup on the side.

They are fluffy, soft, well seasoned and so tasty.

They bake so beautifully too. See how well browned the bottoms are. 😍

We have had them here on their own, with some roasted tomato soup and some pumpkin soup.

Had them with some pumpkin and bell pepper soup.
They go well with some roasted tomato soup too! The soup recipe is from here.

Definitely worth a try!

Red Velvet cream cheese swirl muffins.

The title is a mouthful I know, but imagine red velvet and cream cheese goodness in one bite? Yum!

Decadence!

These muffins are moist, colourful, flavourful and not at all hard to make.

The cream cheese swirl makes them even more beautiful and delicious.

Ingredients.

• 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour.

• 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.

• 1/2 tsp salt.

• 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter.

• 1 cup of sugar.

• 1 egg

• 3/4 cup buttermilk. Made by adding some lemon juice to whole milk, and let it stand a while till it thickens.

• 1 tbsp red food colouring. ( I used liquid).

• 1 tsp vanilla essence.

• 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar.

• 1/2 tsp baking soda.

For the swirl, our ingredients are:-

• 2 – 3 tbsp softened cream cheese.

• 1/4 cup caster sugar.

• 1/2 tsp vanilla

• 1 egg.

Preheat oven at 180°C and line a 12 hole muffin tin.

Method.

• In a small bowl, add the buttermilk, then the food colour and vanilla.

• In a larger bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix well together.

• Mix the softened butter with the sugar, then add the egg. Mix well.

• Add part of the flour mixture then the buttermilk, mix gently then add again till it is all mixed well and smooth, but do not overdo it.

• In another small bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar well, it will fizz up and add to the red velvet batter. Mix gently together then spoon into the prepared muffin cases.

• For the swirl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg till smooth. Add about 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture on each of the prepared muffin batter.

(I always end up overfilling mine.😅)

• You can swirl with a toothpick or teaspoon.

• Bake for 15- 20 minutes. Dependent on oven. Check with a toothpick for doneness from the 15 minute mark.

Don’t they look good?

They smell, look and taste so good. They rarely last in our house, end up being gobbled up very fast.

They are so delicious but not too sweet. The cream cheese adds a lovely tanginess that blends well with the mild red velvet chocolatey flavour.

They are great for tea time or even to gift some friends. Please try it and let me know how yours turned out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Creamy Mushroom and Chickpea curry.

Here is a another simple but flavourful recipe that’s colourful, tasty and filling.

It’s decadently creamy. Looks, tastes and smells so good.

Ingredients.

• 1/2 cup of whole cashew nuts, soaked in 1 cup water for a couple of hours.

• 2 -3 tbsp coconut oil.

• Whole spices:1 tsp whole cumin seeds, one bay leaf, one cinnamon stick, 5 cardamom pods and 4 whole cloves.

• I large onion, chopped.

• 1 tbsp paste of crushed ginger, garlic and turmeric.

• 1 tbsp tomato paste.

• 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.

• 1 tsp Garam Masala.

• 1 tsp paprika.

• 1 tsp ground mixed spices blend.

• 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

• Mixed vegetables: chopped bell pepper, one small eggplant, one courgette.

• I small pack oyster mushrooms.

• 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

• Salt and pepper to taste.

Method.

• Heat your sauce pan and add the coconut oil, followed by the whole spices. Let them release aroma and once the cumin seeds start sputtering, add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and let it cook till soft and translucent.

• Add the ginger garlic paste next and mix well so it doesn’t burn. Then add the tomato paste and the ground spices. Lower heat and let the spices release their oils and flavour, then in go the tomatoes.

• This will be followed by the mixed vegetables. Mix well then cover and let them cook down in their own liquid.

• As the vegetables cook, drain and rinse your chickpeas if you had not done so already. And also blend the soaked cashews in your food processor or blender to a smooth paste.

• Once the veggies are cooked a bit and reduced, mix in the chickpeas. Remember to check seasoning as you go.

• Add the cashew cream, cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

• It will thicken the sauce and give it a creamy texture.

• Once ready, garnish with coriander and let sit a while before serving.

This curry goes well on its own, you can add some broth or water as it simmers and have it with a dinner roll.

It also goes well with rice, naan and even chapati.

Enjoy the colour, aroma and taste as it all comes together.

This is a restaurant quality curry when it comes to flavour, it packs a punch but not too spicy. Take your time to let the spices cook well and the vegetables cook down to release all their delicious flavor. It doesn’t take long to cook, but do not rush it.

Try it and let me know how yours came out.

Love,

Wanjoro.