Exotic Muffin Loaf

Ever since I baked my first batch of muffins last month, I have been in a muffin phase. Some of the favourites at home so far has been Joanne’s strawberry buttermilk (I used buttermilk instead of yoghurt) and Rhonda’s apricot almond muffins. It is rambuttan and mangosteen season here in Sri Lanka now and there were a few of the fruits leftover at home when I decided to try baking some muffins with them. As I had used up the entire pack of muffin cups and did not want to wait till I bought a fresh set, I simply decided to use a regular pan and make a muffin loaf. So, today, I am sharing at the Fiesta Friday my adaptation of Rhonda’s strawberry oatmeal muffins with some exotic (at least where muffins are concerned) ingredients. I am also taking this over to Saucy Saturdays #51, hosted by The Flavor Bender, La Petit Chef, Mid-Life Croissant, Take Two Tapas.
Today’s featured musician is Shankar Mahadevan. A musician that I admire, Shankar Mahadevan was midway in his software engineering career before deciding to change careers and focus on his passion for music. Trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music, he released his first solo album Breathless (1998). The album includes a song called Breathless, sung without a break in the lyrics from start to finish, which was very popular on Sri Lankan television. The hugely popular album opened up many opportunities for Shankar Mahadevan. Eventually, he started the online Indian classical music academy – Shankar Mahadevan Academy in 2010.

Shankar Mahadevan is the vocalist of ‘Remember Shakti.’ For those who haven’t heard of this group, they are a five member lovely fusion group initially started as ‘Shakti’ by John McLaughlin and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain in the 70s. The group was revived in the late 90s with some new members – U.Srinivas (one of my favourite musicians), V.Selvaganesh (son of Grammy award-winning musician V.Vinayakram – one of the original members of Shakti) and Shankar Mahadevan, replacing three of the original members. My first clip for today is therefore an excerpt from a Remember Shakti concert: a beautiful fusion performance of the classical piece ‘Giriraja Sudha,’ composed by 18th century musician  – Tyagarajar – considered one of the most influential Carnatic composers.

Shankar Mahadevan is also part of the successful trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who became popular in the Hindi movie music composing field in the late 90s. The second music clip for today is from Aamir Khan’s beautiful directorial debut movie Taare Zameen Par (translation: Like stars on earth, 2007) with music composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and sung by Shankar Mahadevan. This touching song won Shankar Mahadevan a national award.

He was introduced to the Tamil cinema playback singing platform by A.R.Rahman in 1997. The last clip is a lovely, upbeat folk tune composed by A.R.Rahman for the movie Mudhalvan (1999), starring Arjun and Manisha Koirala, and sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Kavita Krishnamurthy.

Hope you enjoyed Shankar Mahadevan’s music as much as I did! Happy July 4th to all my American blogging friends!


Exotic Muffins

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Flour – ½ cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/3 tsp
  • Oats – ½ to 2/3 cup
  • Brown sugar – 4 tbsp
  • Cinnamon powder – pinch
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla essence – ½ tsp
  • Rambuttan – 4, chopped (can add more, I just used what I had in hand)
  • Mangosteen – 1 or 2, chopped (can add more)
  • Cashew nuts – a handful, chopped
  • Raisins – a little for sprinkling
  • Kesari powder – pinch (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 190⁰C.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the instant oats and sugar to the flour bowl and keep aside.
  3. Chop up the rambuttan and mangosteen. Add a pinch of kesari powder to the fruits in a separate bowl. Add the chopped cashewnuts and raisins to the fruit bowl.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and vanilla essence.
  5. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix it just enough to ensure that none of the flour mix is left dry. Almost all the muffin recipes that I have seen stress the point that one should be swift over this mixing and not be concerned over lumps in the batter.
  6. Fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
  7. Transfer the muffin batter to the muffin tray or a normal baking pan. Bake for around 20 mins – the time will vary depending on your oven.

54 thoughts on “Exotic Muffin Loaf

  1. Love your song collections..cudnt play mudhalvan n taare zameen par video says it’s restricted in this country. But have listened n watched earlier both are g8 songs. …

  2. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #23|Happy 4th of July! | The Novice Gardener

  3. Wow! I can’t quite imagine what these muffins taste like because I would need to try some of the less common muffin ingredients first. BUT, they look delicious. Also, I don’t know much about music, but I loved Maa. Thanks for sharing! I love your informative nature on top of your recipes!!

    • Thank you, Kaila 🙂 My mother is encouraging me to return to breads which was the baking phase I was in prior to my muffin phase. I think my family is getting an overdose of my experimental muffins though they did enjoy this rambuttan/mangosteen one. Delighted that you loved the song ‘Maa.’

      • At least your experiments come out well! One time I tried a new recipe. I thought it would be good, so I brought some up for my mom to try. She took a bite, and after telling me how awful it was, I never even tried it! She’ll never let me live it down. Now, I always have to try my “experiments” before she does! 🙂

      • I can relate to your experience. I have had a lot of that reaction from my mother as well with many of my cooking experiments. So, when she does say that she likes what I made, I am over the moon 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thank you, Sue 🙂 I love both fruits and initially, my mother was not too keen on my idea of using them in the muffin loaf as they taste so good eaten fresh or in a fruit salad. Fortunately, the loaf did turn out delicious. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • 🙂 Yes, baking muffins is addictive. The only other baking that has been similarly addictive for me is baking bread. Have a lovely weekend, Justine!

  4. Wow, Ahila! I just love the exotic muffin/cake you brought as well as the exotic music!! I am a great fan of Bollywood movies, so of course I really loved the last clip! So much fun to listen to and watch! 😀

    • Thank you, Julianna 🙂 Happy to hear that you enjoyed both the muffin loaf and the music, particularly the last clip with the folk tune. Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Nice adaptation on the strawberry oatmeal muffin though I wish I could taste it. It looks very good!
    I’ve been lucky to see Zakir Hussain in performance twice. Once with other Indian musicians, and once with 2 other renown percussionists, a Puerto Rican, and an American. They are among my favorite concerts.

    • Thank you, Gerard 🙂 It is wonderful that you were able to see Zakir Hussain in concert twice and I can imagine the experience to be delightful. Who are the Puerto Rican and American percussionists you mentioned? I like listening to musicians I haven’t heard before.

      • Ahila, it is always great to see such great musicians playing together. The Puerto Rican is Giovanni Hidalgo, well known internationally as a very top Latin percussionist, (specialty congas). Terry Bozzio, drumset player, composer, has played with the top rock players beginning with Frank Zappa in the 70’s. I remember Hussein and Hidalgo made a special trip to Austin,(my home town), just for this one time concert. Bozzio lives in Austin. Of course, it was an incredible all drumming performance I’ll never forget. My friend and I were seated in the front row!

  6. Despite not knowing what some of those ingredients taste like that, this definitely look and sound really good. I definitely want to check out some of those ingredients!

    • Yes, Michelle, do try some fresh rambutan and mangosteen if you have not had them before. They are absolutely delicious tropical fruits best eaten as they are without cooking.

  7. Yum, these muffins sound really delicious, indeed so many exotic flavors! It’s the first time I read about Kesari powder, how does it taste? Thanks so much for brining these to Fiesta Friday and hopefully you had a great time with everyone there! 😉 Sylvia

    • Thank you, Sylvia! 🙂 Yes, have been enjoying FF and thank you for co-hosting this week. Kesari powder is a mix of bits of saffron with turmeric and is usually used for making kesari. It is also readily available in shops here than saffron and is much cheaper so I prefer using kesari powder for my cooking experiments.

  8. I have never heard of Rambuttan Ahila, gonna google it to find out more.Those muffins sound really exotic. I love Shankar Mahadevan and ‘Breathless’ was one of those awe-inspiring songs. Thanks for your musical collection! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

    • Thank you, Naina 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the Shankar Mahadevan music clips. Both rambuttan and mangosteen are native to Indonesia but also grow in Sri Lanka. Have a lovely sunday!

  9. Rambutan & Mangosteen in a muffin? Now that’s original! Love it. I think I can easily veganize this recipe to use nut milk. Have to check out the kesari powder too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Abby 🙂 Yes, non-dairy milk will do fine and more rambuttan in the muffin the better it tastes. Also, saffron is great. I use kesari powder instead of saffron as it is easier to buy here.

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