Chocolate Banana Bread ~ Chit chat with Manju Nair




Alright I know you are all so thrilled to see the picture above... gorgeous right? so is our today's guest Manju Nair who writes Manju's Eating Delight (MED). One winter morning we both started to chat on FB and there was an instant connection as though we were close friends. And who cannot love this beautiful woman? I am sure most of you know her very well for her gorgeous bakes and recipes from God's own country 'Kerala'. Like all of you I used to visit Manju's blog and drool over her goodies. Being someone who is so bad at icing, I used to admire her swirls. Behind all that cooking is this sweet person,so humble and down to earth, a mother of a beautiful tod and she says that her biggest support is her husband who encouraged her to do a blog. Now seriously we all ought to thank him for giving us such a wonderful chef for us to learn something... :-) I was so eager to ask her for a guest post and the flip side was she asked me for one. Still contemplating if  I can do a decent enough post I want to share more about her. So like always here we have a small chit chat with Manju with a virtual treat Chocolate Banana Bread. Oh that isn't all she has a surprise post no 2 following in her blog, not that's what I call double candy ;-). Thank you Manju for granting my request and sharing us a lovely bake... over to Manju....


Chit chat with Manju

Priya- Manju when and why did you start blogging? and you are a mom who juggles between work and home, how do manage to keep the blogging passion alive?
Manju – I actually wrote my first post PaalAppam on Oct15th, 2011, but din’t publish it until the 17th, as I was still doing some layout and design work on the blog. I have always had an eye for good recipes and good pics of food and thanks to few foodie friends who introduced me to some food blogs , I also felt I should start a blog of my own. Thus MED was born!
The main reason I’m able to keep my blog alive and running still is the support I get from my husband, Manish. He likes to see my pics and read my posts and the comments I get. He’s my silent critic in all aspects! And of course he gets to eat them all ;-) Apart from that, I really enjoy it 100% and just can’t get enough time to post more recipes and events from my life that I want to share.  It’s a joyous hobby and I want to continue it for as long as I can.

Priya - I adore all your specialty cakes and they have a wow factor. When did you start baking and tell us how you ventured into specialty cake making?
Manju -  I love Cakes…truly, madly, deeply love them! In any form, shape size, decoration whatever.  I adore people who make pretty cakes…Cakes that are so pretty you wouldn't want to cut them!
My mom used to bake simple cakes at home, mostly for birthdays or just to try out a new recipe she got and I bet I got this talent from her.  Her cakes tasted great , but she never bothered with Icing and decorations!
I used to make cakes at home mainly for Manish’s b’day or Potlucks  and one day I shared some cake with a neighbor and friend of mine and she simply loved it and her friends also loved it so much that they wanted me to make a cake for a Graduation Party that they were having. And so I made some Red Velvet Graduation themed cupcakes and they became a huge hit!
From then on I went on experimenting. I realised I enjoyed it so much that I would spend days and sleepless nights browsing online and reading about various techniques to make a cake look outstanding and different.   I had also noticed that most people tend to peel off the fondant or scrape away the buttercream when they have cake, so I make sure I’ve just put on enough buttercream or frosting and just enough layer of fondant which both adults and children can enjoy without de-constructing the cake ;-)

Priya - Tell us about food that is close to your heart... may be something that you can never live without
Manju – Though I love all kinds of food (except for sushi maybe) , I’m still a simple Keralite who loves what her mommy used to make and those dishes are still close to my heart. My favorite food combo is Rice with Pumpkin curry, fish fry and Cabbage/Beetroot thoran and may be some seasoned buttermilk or yogurt  on the side ;-)

Priya - Being a food enthusiast and a food blogger we all have kitchen gadgets that we are very fond of or cannot do without. What are the kitchen and baking gargets that you cannot live without? Is there any one of them that you consider your priced possession?
Manju – hmmm, that’s a toughie! I love all the things in my kitchen.  I love my cutting board, I just couldn't do without that. Then I really love my non-stick kadai and my coffee mug.
As for bakewares  I’m very impartial…I love everything equally as each item is important for different things, but if I had only 1 choice I would definitely keep my  6inch cake pan – atleast we both could enjoy a cake once in a while ;-)
Priced possession is definitely my Kitchen Aid stand mixer!

Priya - If you were to plan a Valentine 3 course dinner for 2 what would be the menu?
Manju – Haha, shall I say check out my last year’s post? ;-)
Anyways, if its appetizers : I would definitely be having some soup  with some toasted cheesy bread !
Main course : Either Italian, jumbo Pasta Shells stuffed with creamy chicken and spinach over a base of marinara sauce  or some Fusion combination like Indian Saffron Rice with Greek style marinated Lamb kebabs served with Lebanese Tabouleh salad.
Dessert :  A trifle pudding with fruits , chocolate, whipped cream and simple sponge cake ...desserts have endless varieties, I just do whatever comes to my mind!

Priya - What according to you is your magic spice or the magic ingredient in your spice dabba?
Manju -  I would say Garam Masala...I love it and so does my little boy. He won’t eat his khichdi if it doesn’t have a mild flavour from garam masalsa, so it’s definitely my magic spice!

Thank you so much Priya for giving me this opportunity to do a guest post for your awesome blog and your awesome readers!
It's February...and its the month of LOVE ♥ and what better way to celebrate than with something chocolaty! And what if it's healthy too...perfect right? 
So let me introduce you to this awesome melt in your mouth Chocolate Banana Bread! :-)  Maybe I should also call it Chocolate n Oats Banana bread , so its plenty healthy with all the goodness from the chocolate and bananas!!


I love Chocolate cake (duh! who doesn't) and I've even made Chocolate Banana Cake a few times before . The flavor combo is simply to die for!!

I've been wanting to try making some banana bread for a while now and the opportunity had shown itself when I was left to deal with a whole bunch of heavily overripe banana's and this was how I used 3 of the bananas ( I had 9 by the way :-P )


A good friend and colleague of mine shared her very healthy recipe for banana bread which she very often makes. But I had to adapt it a bit due to lack of all the ingredients. She uses whole-wheat flour (chapathi atta) , but I substituted that with all-purpose flour and she adds Oats and Cereal (like cheerios or cornflakes) , but I added only oats. Tasted great nevertheless, and did I mention its 'EGGLESS'...So let's check it out!

I added whole oats (1 minute Quaker Oats) and skipped on the nuts. The texture was great and the oats really added a good bite for the bread , as you can see, the white flecks in the bread is the Oats. The ripe (or overripe in my case) banana's added a lovely sweet banana flavor and the bread was super moist and chocolaty!

Oh! and another secret ingredient is freshly squeezed Orange juice, which adds a unique flavor to the bread, but you can use any fruit juice or even milk instead!

Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe
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You'll Need
Ripe Bananas - 3 medium sized (about 6" long)
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups (feel free to use Whole wheat Flour)
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Whole Oats - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Orange Juice - 1/4 cup (I added the juice squeezed from 1 whole Orange)
Oil - 1/2 cup  (canola oil or olive oil)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Walnuts / Almonds (coarsely chopped) - 1/4 cup (optional)
Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F . Grease and flour a 9x5" bread loaf pan.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients except for brown sugar and keep aside.
3. Mash the bananas with the lemon juice. In another bowl add the brown sugar, juice, oil, vanilla extract and mashed bananas and stir to mix well.
4. Now add in all the dry ingredients along with any chopped nuts (if using) and mix together until a thick batter is obtained.
5. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes. (Mine was done at 55 minutes)
Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be covered and stored for a few days, or frozen for longer storage.


There you go - a super yummy, eggless yet moist chocolatey and flavorful banana bread. 

Cooks NoteThe bread is sweetened mainly from the bananas and the brown sugar - so its slightly less sweet than a cake, if you prefer a sweeter banana bread, substitute the 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup of Sugar 

And if you don't want to stop with just that and wanna get a bit wild and creative - slice the whole bread into 1/2" or 1" slices,  take out your fav cookie cutter (I used a heart ♥ shaped one) and cut out heart shapes from the centre of each slice for the whole chocolate banana bread as shown below.

mmmm.....wondering why you would do this??

Well stay tuned for my next post over at Manju's Eating Delights to know what's gonna happen to these cute little Chocolate Banana bread hearts!! ;-)

19 comments:

  1. This looks so tempting! Luscious and rich loaf :) Very tempting clicks :)

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  2. very nice chit chat. bread looks awesome, perfect clicks too. thanks for sharing this manju and priya

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  3. Superb guest post,such a nice ,choclatey Banana bread.tempting clicks.imm love to have them straight away.

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  4. Bread looks so yum and deep chocolatey.. nice GP...

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  5. Nice to know more about Manju.. Lovely guest post..
    Chocolate bread looks delicious.. Nice pictures too.. :)

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  6. First time on your blog...Manju is an wonderful person. I also got the chance to exchange fb messages with her. I would say she is a self trained excellent cake decorator!!!!

    You got a nice space with lots of goodies. Nice to meet you!!

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    1. :-) thanks so much for visiting...

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  7. wow looks soooo tempting manju :) and very nice chit chat priya and manju :)

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  8. Great guest post,Priya & loved reading more about Manju,cake looks simply irresistible & healthy..Yummy!

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  9. very tempting click....lovely guest post....

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  10. Amazing clicks dear and lovely guest post..

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  11. Thanks for introducing manju great cakes that I Wud never never ever imagine making in my kitchen:) good wrk manju
    Thanks priya:)

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  12. nice guest post and bread too.

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  13. Priya tnx for introducing Mannju and her blog....so tempting looking bread....

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  14. Very nice chit chat,gr8 to know abt Manju n the choc banana bread looks delicious :-)

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  15. Perfect and abosolutely delicious bread. Lovely chit chat. Thanks for sharing this Priya and Manju.

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  16. Very nice chit and chat and the bread is awesome. Love to have a bite. Good work Priya and Manju

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  17. super and lovely clicks:)yummy an dtempting:)

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Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed my recipes :-) Your comments mean the world to me. In case you have tried any of the recipes featured here, do let me know.
***Kindly note I do not publish comments with links***

Love,
Priya Ranjit

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