As my regular readers would know, that I like to dig up dirt..err...history about the food I eat. Although I may not be a food historian(as so many of you have asked me), but you can trust the information you have here to be true and reliable. Afterall, I wouldn't tell you things I did not believe in. However (as a disclaimer), still the content here are only my humble views/finds and your discretion is advised. ( ahem! I sound so formal..)
The food we eat always has some story attatched to it...and I like exploring them. It can be a simple burger, the humble dal, a rustic gatte ki sabzi , the medicinal use of spinach dumplings, or the new experience of the khasta kachori,the sweet story behind the torte,the tradition of the challah, the love story in the gateau, or the history of the speculas, or even the twist in the krusczyki ...and lots more that you get to read here at Zaayeka.
I love to share ...so alongwith the delicious recipes I share the 'his'-'story' of the food too. You sure want to know all about the stuff that goes on your plate...and eventually in your stomach. The story intrigues...it excites..it informs, and at times I have used the stories alone to feed kids....they eat it all up ....just listening to all the interesting anecdotes about the food.
Coming to today's recipe I made this delicious and healthy Vegan Banana Chocolate Bread. This is my first foray into vegan cooking. Its rich with the banana flavour and so moist it practically melts in your mouth. A must try if you are going to have guests over; as the bananas spread their fragrance...right through from the oven in your kitchen into the whole house (you don't need to spray any room freshener) and enticingly welcome your guests, making them feel at home instantly!
Vegan Banana Chocolate Bread
(The recipe is adapted from here.)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup margarine/vegetable fat,softened
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large bananas, mashed to pulpy form
1/2 of a large banana, sliced
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Grease a bread loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the flours,baking soda,corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and make a well in the center.
In a separate bowl combine the bananas, sugar, vanilla extract and vegetable fat.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mix, all at once.
Gently but thoroughly bring all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon, then pour into the prepared loaf tin.Fold in the chocolate chips.
Layer the sliced bananas on top.
Bake in the oven for an hour or so (depending on your oven),or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Tip: Since this cake does not contain any protein from the egg, and has mashed fruit pulp, it may take longer to cook. Be patient, but keep checking!
Now for the interesting bit-
The true origin of 'bananas', world's most popular fruit, is found in the region of Malaysia. By way of curious visitors, bananas traveled from there to India where they are mentioned in the Buddhist Pali writings dating back to the 6th century BCE.
In his campaign in India in 327 BCE, Alexander the Great relished his first taste of the banana, an usual fruit he saw growing on tall trees. He is even credited with bringing the banana from India to the Western world.
According to Chinese historian Yang Fu, China was tending plantations of bananas in 200 CE. These bananas grew only in the southern region of China and were considered exotic, rare fruits that never became popular with the Chinese masses until the 20th .
The people in this region were rice eaters, and wheat was unknown here, so breads were not part of their culture.
Theophrastus (a Greek naturalist philosopher) around the 4th century B.C., in what is probably the first scientific book on botany, describes the banana plant. We know that the Greeks made bread with honey, spices and fruits around the time of Pliny (23-79 A.D.), and we also know that Pliny had knowledge of the banana (he also described them in 77 A.D.) So, could the Greeks have made any banana bread? A possibility, they made 'bread' and had bananas.
It was almost 350 years later that Americans tasted the first bananas to arrive in their country. Wrapped in tin foil, bananas were sold for 10 cents each at a celebration held in Pennsylvania in 1876 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Instructions on how to eat a banana appeared in the Domestic Cyclopaedia of Practical Information and read as follows: "Bananas are eaten raw, either alone or cut in slices with sugar and cream, or wine and orange juice. They are also roasted, fried or boiled, and are made into fritters, preserves, and marmalades."
However, Banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder, in the 1930s (and appears in Pillsbury's 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook). The origin of the first banana bread recipe is unknown. The home baking revival of the 1960s and the simplicity of its recipe led to an explosion in banana bread's popularity. The cookbooks of the 1960s added to its popularity because they commonly listed multiple variations of this bread that added fruits and nuts.
Bananas & Us--
Anaemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect food for helping to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at an English school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin - known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body so if you suffer from heart-burn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods (such as bananas) every two hours to keep levels steady.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, trypotophan.
Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking, as the high levels of Vitamin C, A1, B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalise the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water-balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine"eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronic ulcer cases. It also neutralises over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that, if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
To health and goodness!
I share this recipe with Sweet and Simple Bakes' current challenge.
A friendly reminder-
Rose (of All about Cakes) who is giving away a 100 piece Betty Crocker Cake Decorating Kit at her blog, to celebrate her 100 posts. Visit her to win the bundle!