Today, I wish to re-post a delicious chocolate cake recipe of my mother that I had posted last year.
Today’s music features Arabic pop. The first clip is a song, by Samira Said and Cheb Mami, that has special meaning to me. Sometimes when I am stuck in my writing process, I turn to music to clear my head and focus. The type of music that helps me at one time does not necessarily help at another time so I usually experiment with a few before I come across the right one for the particular writing. One of the times I faced a writing block was during the writing of my master’s thesis. After several non-productive days and many music listening hours later, I found myself listening to an online Arabic pop radio stream. From the moment, this song came on, I felt very much energized and focused and soon started working on my writing. This was the song that pulled me through the subsequent weeks of thesis writing and as such, I retain a fondness for it.
The next clip is a recent release of Diana Haddad, another Arabic pop singer that I used to listen to.
Have a wonderful day and enjoy this cake!
Peanut Chocolate Cake
Peanut Chocolate Cake
- Vegetable oil margarine – ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (for frosting)
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Banana – ½ , as an egg substitute
- Wheat flour – 1 ½ cup
- Soya milk – 1 cup
- Peanut – ½ cup, coarsely ground + 2 tbsp (for frosting)
- Vanilla – 2 tsp
- Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (for frosting)
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – ½ tsp
- Icing sugar – 2 tbsp, for frosting
- Sift the dry ingredients – the wheat flour together with the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda – and keep aside.
- Mash the banana in a bowl. Add the margarine and sugar to the bowl and whisk them together.
- Gradually add the soya milk and continue whisking.
- Stir in the coarsely ground peanuts and vanilla essence.
- Slowly fold in the dry ingredients.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased tray and bake at 190⁰C/374⁰F for 40 mins.
- Whisk 1 tbsp margarine together with 1 tsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp icing sugar and 2 tsp ground nuts to make the frosting.
- Spread evenly on surface of the peanut chocolate cake, after the cake has sufficiently cooled.
Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.
Today’s recipe is another of my baking experiments. My favourite aspect of cooking is baking. Ever since I tried out Kitchen Cici’s delicious rosemary cheese bread, I have started experimenting with breads. I had originally intended to make pineapple muffins but I guess people at home were kind of tired of my weekly experimental muffins so I decided to switch to bread which I also enjoy making. I adapted Jamie Oliver’s basic bread recipe to include pineapple and cloves. It turned out great so I am sharing it here at the Fiesta Friday. I will not be posting as much over the next twelve months as I did the previous year mainly because I will be away from home. However, I do have some recipes that I am yet to transcribe and post so will try to share at least one each month.
The music feature today is on raï. The first clip is an excerpt of a concert (1990) by Chaba Fadela and Cheb Sahraoui.
The next clip is a recent release of Cheb Khaled, whose song Didi was my introduction to raï music.
Hope you enjoy the music and this delicious bread!
Pineapple Clove Bread
- All-purpose flour – 2 ½ to 3 cups
- Water – ¾ to 1 cup, warm but not hot
- Instant yeast – 7g
- Sugar – 1 tbsp + 6 tbsp
- Salt – ¼ tbsp
- Ground cloves – ½ tsp + pinch (optional)
- Pineapple – 1, medium or small (depending on how much pineapple you want in your bread)
- Take a ¼ cup of the water and add the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and pinch of salt. Let the yeast mix rest for about 5 – 10 mins and turn frothy.
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in ½ tsp of ground cloves.
- Add the yeast mix to the flour and mix. Gradually add the remaining water little at a time till the flour-yeast mix becomes a soft dough that is not sticky. Knead the dough for at least 5 mins.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let the dough rest for about 30 mins or till it has doubled.
- In the meantime, roughly puree the chopped pineapple. (I used it chopped as I rather like to taste fruit chunks in my baked stuff but my mother’s feedback was that it would have been much better as a spread)
- Add the pineapple puree and the remaining sugar to a saucepan and warm it over low heat for couple of mins (At this point, I also added a pinch of cloves but my mother feels that it is better not to add the cloves to the pineapple puree but rather directly to the dough). Do not over-heat or cook the pineapple as it will take away its taste. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- When the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured surface and punch it down (I like this part).
- Roll out the dough and spread the sweetened pineapple puree over the surface. Roll in the dough starting from one end.
- Transfer the rolled dough with filling into the lightly greased baking tray and form the shape you want it to be (I like circular loaves). Brush the surface with warm sugar syrup.
- Bake the bread at 170⁰C for around 30 mins. The time will vary according to your oven.
- Let it cool for at least 15 mins before slicing and serving with some margarine.
I have been trying out different muffins over the last few months and I was in the mood of trying out some experimental muffins. I wanted to create some muffins which had a strong leaning towards a Sri Lankan dish. While thinking about using different local non-wheat flours, inspiration struck. I do very much like the delicacy – mothaham or kolukkattai, that my mother makes during special festivals like the ongoing Navarathri festival. I decided to try out the muffin version of this steamed dish and it turned out a cross between a muffin and a crumble. I am sharing it at both my brother’s birthday today as well as bringing some over to Fiesta Friday tomorrow.
The music selection for today focuses on some lovely Persian music. The first group featured here is the Chemirani Zarb Trio, a classical percussion group. I first heard their music when they visited Sri Lanka to perform at the WOMAD concert 2005. The clip I share here is one of their performances at another WOMAD concert.
While searching for Chemirani Trio clips on youTube, I came across a few other Persian groups that I liked. The second clip is a music video by the folk group Zâr Ensemble, formerly known as the Ensemble Shanbehzadeh.
The last clip is a beautiful one by classical singer Homayoun Shajarian and instrumentalist and composer, Tahmoures Pournazeri.
Hope you enjoyed the lovely music as much as I did! As usual, please do share which clip you liked more.
Mothaha Muffin Crumble
- Roasted red rice flour – 1/2 cup
- All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Salt, pinch
- Green gram, de-skinned – 1/2 cup, boiled
- Jaggery – 1/4 cup, chopped
- Coconut – 1/4 cup, freshly scraped
- Cardamom – 1/4 tsp
- Margarine – 120g, melted
- Oil, as required
- Melt the margarine and let it cool slightly.
- Mix the freshly scraped coconut, green gram, jaggery and cardamom in a bowl.
- Add the coconut and gram mix to the melted margarine. Stir to mix the contents a little.
- Sift the rice flour and all purpose flour together. Add the baking powder and salt and mix.
- Add the flour mix to the wet ingredient mix. If the resulting mix is too dry, just add a little oil until it is sufficiently moist.
- Bake the muffins for about 25 – 30 mins at 180C.
- Serve warm with a hot beverage.
I am bringing another of my eldest sister’s curry to Fiesta Friday #33 – this time, a manioca curry.
Today’s featured music group is Junoon. This band was formed in 1990 by Salman Ahmad, the lead guitarist and songwriter of the group. This group were the pioneers of the rock sub-genre, Sufi rock. I first came across this group on MTV through their chart topping song, Sayonee from their fourth album, Azadi (1997). While I could not find the music video of this ground-breaking song on Junoon’s youTube channel, I did find this clip where the group played this song at a concert.
Two of the original band members, lead vocalist Azmat Ali and bassist Brian O’Connell, left the group in 2005 to pursue solo music careers. The next clip that I share here is from Coke Studio Pakistan’s youTube channel which featured this collaborative work of Azmat Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the nephew of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Salman Ahmad, the Junoon founder, has continued the group with different musicians sporadically over the years and has collaborated with other international musicians for several fund-raising efforts. The last clip here is from the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony concert of 2007.
Hope you enjoyed the music of Junoon and do share which clip you enjoyed the most!
- Manioca – 1
- Turmeric – ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp + 2 tsp or adjust to taste
- Garlic cloves – 3, grated
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Mustard – 1 tsp
- Onion – 1, chopped
- Coconut milk – 1 cup
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Boil the manioca with ¼ tsp turmeric and ¼ tsp salt. Cut the cooked manioc into smaller pieces and keep aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and curry leaves, grated cloves, mustard, 2 tsp salt and fry for a min or two. Add the cooked manioc and turmeric. Mix well.
- Add the coconut milk and cook till the curry thickens.
- Remove from heat and serve warm with rice.
During my recent visit to my eldest sister’s house, I remembered to take photos of a couple of tasty curries she had made for lunch with my phone camera. I am bringing one of her curries, chickpea curry, to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #10.
Over the last few months, I have enjoyed sharing some Sri Lankan and Indian music together with the recipes. I have decided to continue with a musical journey around the globe with the food recipes. Therefore, as today’s music selection, I am sharing a couple of clips from the two I consider the best Sufi singers of this half-century : Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948 – 1997), also referred to as the Shahenshah (meaning King of Kings) of Qawwali and Abida Parveen, who is also known as the Queen of Sufi music.
During my teen years in the U.A.E, I once accompanied my parents to a concert. When the guest singer, who was introduced as Pakistan’s finest musicians starting singing, I immediately recognized the song as the favourite of my Pakistani friends at my new school and which they kept playing repeatedly during lunch breaks. The song was Dam Mast Qalandar Mast Mast and it was Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s concert. I admit back then I was not fond of qawwali music and it took a while to grow on me. I think I learnt to appreciate it after hearing them sung at Sufi shrines. The atmosphere creates an enhanced listening experience. It is only fitting that I share here the first qawwali song that I was introduced to.
A few years ago, during a brief trip to Delhi, I took a Sufi heritage tour with India Offtrack. Nirad Grover, part of the company’s core team, travel writer and my guide during the tour, recommended that I listen to Abida Parveen. I did that soon after and I have been impressed with her powerful voice since. This clip has been uploaded on youTube by Epic flo films and includes a summary translation of the lyrics at intervals.
Do share your memory of your first introduction to qawwali, if you enjoy listening to Sufi music. And, do let me know if you try out this chickpea curry!
- Chickpeas – 2 cups, boiled
- Cashew nuts – 4 or 5
- Cinnamon – 1” piece
- Garlic – 3 or 4 cloves
- Onion – 1
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Salt – 2 tsp or adjust to taste
- Turmeric – ¼ tsp
- Curry powder – 3 tsp or adjust to taste
- Tamarind juice – ½ cup
- Potato – 1, boiled and mashed
- Tomato – 1, chopped
- Coconut milk – 1 cup
- Lightly fry the cashew nuts with crumbled cinnamon and transfer to grinder.
- Add the garlic cloves to the grinder and blend the mix to a coarse paste.
- Chop the onion and lightly fry the onion together with curry leaves.
- Add the coarse cashew nut paste, salt and turmeric to the pan and mix well.
- Add the boiled chickpeas and curry powder to the pan. Mix well.
- Then, add the tamarind juice and let the curry cook for a couple of minutes.
- Next, add the boiled and mashed potato to the pan and mix.
- Add the chopped tomato together with ½ cup of water and cook for a min or two.
- Then, add the coconut milk and cook till the curry consistency is right.
- Serve warm with rice or roti.
The last recipe in this month’s Kottu series is my mother’s stringhopper kottu. Check out this earlier post on how to make stringhoppers, also known as Idiappam or Idiappa in Sri Lanka. You could alternatively use rice noodles, if you don’t have leftover stringhoppers. I am bringing this tasty meal to Fiesta Friday #31.
I’d like to wrap up the A.R.Rahman music month with some clips from MTV Coke Studio’s youTube channel (I do very much enjoy the experimental music generated at the Coke Studio). The first clip is a Tamil song sung by his sisters, Rayhanah and Issrath Quadhri.
The second clip is a lovely fusion of Hindustani and Carnatic music with the vocals by Hindustani classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa and his family.
The last clip is A.R.Rahman’s fusion take on lyrics by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore with Bengali singer Suchi and Chennai rap artist Blaaze.
Hope you enjoyed this special selection of experimental Indian music by A.R.Rahman! Let me know which clip you enjoyed most as well as if you do try out this recipe!
- Leftover cooked stringhoppers – 1 cup, chopped
- Green peas, cooked – ¼ cup
- Chickpeas, cooked – ¼ cup
- Leeks – ¼ cup, chopped
- Carrot – 1/4 cup , chopped
- Tomato – ¼ cup, crushed
- Garlic – ½ tsp, chopped
- Ginger – ½ tsp, chopped
- Onion – 1 tbsp, chopped
- Crushed chillies – 1 tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Lightly fry the ginger and garlic and add the onion.
- Next add the tomato and crushed chillies. Add 1 tbsp water. Mix well and remove from heat after a couple of mins. Mash the mix together and keep aside.
- Heat another 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the leeks and carrots for a couple of mins. Then, add the cooked chickpeas and green peas and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the mashed spicy tomato mix.
- Finally, add chopped stringhoppers and some salt, to taste. Mix well before removing from heat.
- Serve warm.
Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.