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!
- 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)
- Pre-heat oven to 190⁰C.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the instant oats and sugar to the flour bowl and keep aside.
- 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.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and vanilla essence.
- 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.
- Fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
- 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.