Banana Chips, Caramelized Foxnuts & Buckwheat Masala Peanuts

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Hi foodies. Hope you all doing good 🙂 And for those of you who are curious to know how did AB react to the surprise then let me tell you. He was dazed, his eyes went bigger and a smile covered his face with innocence 🙂 and then came out a thank you for the two of us. But that’s not it. Then came out his nitti gritties and corrections that needed to be made in the previous post. He went on for a minute “This is nice, but that’s not right. Pictures are amazing but I haven’t tasted so hard to comment, recipe font can be improved…..” The next moment we held him from his neck in fun and shouted in his ears…” Enough AB”…:) and we all burst out laughing… “Once an Editor always an Editor” I tell you. Though my real version of this statement is “Once a Foodie always a foodie” and you will soon discover that with this post:)

Foodies if you find bit energy missing in this post then we apologize in advance. But its because we are fasting past seven days and so we are pretty low on energies. Lol..  just kidding. Though we are fasting but does not mean that we are not eating anything 🙂 Cant be expected out of us . Right! Munching special on our menu today  “ Banana Chips, Caramelized Foxnuts and  Buckwheat Masala Peanuts 🙂 is the result of us fasting and discovering new things we can have 🙂 Foodies whenever you are fasting one has very limited options to eat. But those who discover special ones for mid meal munching even during a fast are called Miss Foodies 🙂

Coming to why are we fasting? Foodies festive season has almost begun here in India. And the start is always as beautiful as ever with NAVRATRI 🙂

Nava-ratri” literally means “nine nights.” This festival is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of summer and again at the onset of winter.

During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as “Durga,” which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as “Devi” (goddess) or “Shakti” (energy or power). It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. In other words, you can say that God is motionless, absolutely changeless, and the Divine Mother Durga, does everything. Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.

If you wondering about why worship Mother Goddess let us brief you on that. It is believed that this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the mother of all, and all of us are her children. “Why mother; why not father?”, you may ask as we used to at times in innocence as kids 🙂 The best answer we could find to this was that it is believed that God’s glory, his cosmic energy, his greatness and supremacy can best be depicted as the motherhood aspect of God. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.

Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power because:

We believe that it is the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that this divine power must be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe. Also due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance.

Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.

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So on this occasion many keep fasts for lesser or all nine days depending upon an individual. Foodies Sakshi and I are also fasting and that too for all nine days 🙂 My view of fasting is also to give break to all junk food and cravings for at least these many days 🙂 It feels good 🙂 But you ought to feel hungry as we eat less. Although there are a lot of fast delicacies available as far as main meal is concerned. But when it comes to craving for munching in mid meals during fast its hard to overcome 😉 And so our this munching habit got us to experiment this amazing, delicious and crunchy munching basket on the menu today 🙂

Foodies so anytime you are fasting or even if not this will set as a perfect munching basket for most of you 🙂  We are sure of that:)

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Talking of first munchini in our basket, Banana chips 🙂 We both love bananas and specially in these form they are simply amazing. And I bet no one can have just one 😉 I still remember how crazy I was after these during my hostel time. One of my friend’s relative belonged to south, and ever since he got us a packet of these yummy banana chips, I was addicted. Thereafter the number always increased from one to two, three and at times five. And then I wonder why do I still have that baby fat on me 🙂 Lol…. Foodies Banana chips are deep-fried and/or dried slices of bananas. They can be covered with sugar or honey and have a sweet taste, or they can be fried in oil and spices and have a salty and/or spicy taste. Banana chips are commonly found in Indonesia (as kripik) and India. Variants of banana chips may be covered with chocolate instead.

Usually, the chips are produced from under ripe bananas, of which slices are deep-fried in sunflower oil or coconut oil, which are dry (like potato chips), which can be salted, spiced,sugar coated or jaggery coated. If ripe bananas are used they come out oily. They are used for deserts, not for dry chips.

Some varieties of banana chips can be produced using only food dehydration. Banana slices that are only dehydrated are not light brown and leathery, but rather are dark yellow and crunchy. They are very sweet and have an intense banana flavour. These are ideally made from bananas that are fully ripe.

Another kind is made by baking in an oven, although this process may not result in the same intense banana flavour.

These banana chips can also be had in fasting or vrat during the Navratri festival 🙂 before the fasting period starts, you can just make a good batch and store in an air-tight container.  These are fried, so obviously they will be loaded with calories. So foodies these are another variety for those days when we have unbearable cravings for munching that is not so healthy 🙂  So once in a while and in limited quantities it may not really be of much harm 🙂 Hope you all agree. To reduce the amount of calories Banana chips can be baked too. However, we did not have great results with baked banana chips. So we got back to the old method of frying them.

Also, you really need to make these slices thin, so we would suggest using a slicer which slices very thinly.  While frying, don’t add too much of the slices and don’t overcrowd. The slices stick to each other and don’t become crisp. So you have to fry in batches. We have seasoned the chips with black pepper & salt. Though you can use red chili powder or your own choice of herbs and spices.

Keep in mind that your fingers will also blacken when slicing the raw banana, but that’s a small price you have to pay to enjoy these homemade banana chips 🙂 and it’s worth it.

Bananas are a good source of dietary fibre and minerals like potassium, manganese and vitamins B6 and C. In fact high in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure, and protect against heart attack and stroke. They are super rich in Calcium. Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. And while they’re already a great, portable snack, when they’re dried as chips, they satisfy a sweet-tooth and give a little crunch!

Though you’re better off eating a fresh banana. Banana chips contain large amounts of saturated fat and smaller amounts of key nutrients when compared to a banana. Because these are deep-fried to achieve the crunchy texture, they are high in fat. Saturated fats can be harmful to your health because they elevate your cholesterol levels. But as I said it’s meant for the days when we have unbearable food cravings 😉 so limit the amount but enjoy every chip you put in your mouth 🙂

So foodies remember this Tip that Banana chips can be a part of your healthy eating plan, but only on an occasional basis. Have an ounce once or twice a month if you enjoy the taste, but don’t eat more than that. Better yet, make your own banana chips. Slice a fresh banana and use a food dehydrator to achieve the crunchy texture. Alternately, bake banana slices in an oven at a low temperature for several hours until they are crisp 🙂

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Coming to what more we have in our munchini basket for you all 🙂 Fox Nuts. Fox Nut, Euryale ferox , also known as Makhanas in India  is a flowering plant classified in the water lily family. Unlike other water lilies, the pollen grains of Euryale have three nuclei. Makhana or Fox Nut  is Asian water plant which is mainly cultivated for its edible seeds. They are white colored and round in shape which make them resemble to popcorn 🙂

And we have got a caramelized version of these on our menu today 🙂  Caramelised Fox nuts are a crisp lightly sweet treat, very addictive but fairly healthy.  Used to feed new mothers and as a tonic food this nut is very versatile. These grows in ponds and is often called water lily seed. The plant belongs to the water lily family but the seeds are different. The foxnut seeds are roasted to make them pop and makhana is actually the popped seed of Euryale ferox. These light popped nuts are an excellent snack on their own once roasted or fried in ghee and we make kheer, vegetable and many more recipes using makhana. Vrat ka khana or fasting recipes use makhana a lot as this nut is allowed in all Hindu fasting rituals 🙂

This caramelised Fox nuts used to be a favourite snack of both of us since childhood. I remember whenever Mom used to be fasting and having these I was the one finishing more than half of her serving of these fox nuts. They used to be my all time favourite low fat munching snack and still are. Always used to ask my mom to roast them in largest kadhai  available 🙂 One needs to be just little patient in roasting  them on low heat. It takes about 15 minutes to get completely roasted and to get crisp and then is the time to caramelise it 🙂 Caramelisation takes another five minutes and then the snack is ready. And the crisp caramel laced makahnas will be polished off within a matter of 10 minutes. There were times when  would ask Mom  to make the second batch as well:) Has been a Foodie since then 🙂

Raw Fox nuts are chewy in texture and does not melt in your mouth easily. The story changes once it is roasted well or is fried in ghee 🙂

Though not much liked the ghee fried makhanas as it bursts like a balloon filled with ghee in your mouth when fried. Not at all a good texture nor good taste so to speak. ‘Slow roasted in a kadhai’ was a preferred way always 🙂 And  Caramelised makhana was a treat. It still is 🙂

These however are good source of calcium and you can also make various items like kheer,snack or curry with it. We though end up making this simple and tasty snack most of the times. And these go perfect with our banana chips. This whole basket of little salty and extremely crunchy banana chips with crunchy caramelized Fox Nuts is a super treat especially during Fasts 🙂

Fox nuts are something you would love to snack in the evenings and at times between breakfast and lunch. Many a time it is something rich and indulgent but most of the times it is fruit and dried fruits and nuts. And specially while watching movies at home as we call it the Indian version of  pop corn 🙂 Foodies trust us they are so much healthier and better 🙂

Fox Nuts are completely nutritious and fully organic non-cereal food that is extensively grown in the stagnant water of wetlands, ponds lakes, tanks and ditches. Comparing with some dry fruits like almonds, walnut, cashew nuts and coconut makhana can be considered superior in term of phenol content, sugar, protein, ascorbic acid etc. Fox Nuts is considered as easily digestible food along with having good nutritional content. It has high medicinal benefits and have no side effect. This one nut is full of benefits 🙂 It strengthens the heart and so is very useful in Cardiac Protection,  initiates beneficial action in dysentery, act as an anti-oxidant. It is very light in nature and hence easily digestive to all people. Its  astringent property provides relieves to diarrhoea patient and provide improved appetite. 25 gram makhana a day is considered healthy food/diet as it provide strength to body and even make one active and full of energy. Makhana helps inregulating blood pressure. It is good in curing arthritis, impotence and problem of premature aging. Now that sounds interesting:)

Since its light in nature along with high nutritive value its good for women during pregnancy and for overcoming post natal weaknesses.

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Masala peanuts is a zesty and a very popular recipe in India. It may be eaten as a snack in itself or used in a number of recipes as one of the chief ingredients.  Peanuts, being a legume is rich in nutrients and provides immense health benefits. They are rich in proteins, which is a major macro nutrient required for growth and maintenance of body tissues and fluids.Peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats or the MUFA, which helps decrease the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol in the blood. Thus they are very heart friendly as they help decrease the chances of heart attack.Peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, which delays the process of aging.

We have tried our version of Masala(Spicy) peanuts by adding buckwheat flour (kuttu atta) to it. Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They are also helpful in controlling blood sugar levels.Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as buckwheat, can help women avoid gallstones

Banana chips,caramelized fox nuts and spicy peanuts are a tasty treat. May  taste slightly different depending on how you make them. So here’s our version of amazing basket of these mid meal snack 🙂 Have a look .

banana chips

banana process

foxnutsfoxnut process

Masala peanutspeanut process

So foodies we are enjoying these hearts full delicious snack basket of ours. You start making them too and you will be done in no time. You enjoy these while we busy making list of our food cravings, ones we can have once the fasts are over 🙂 Just one more day to go 🙂

Happy Navratri!!!

Sakshi n Parul

 

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