Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eggless Low-fat Lemon Loaf

It is about that time of the year when I start scouring my bookmarks, links, notes, and cookbooks for ideas to use lemon zest, lemon juice, or the whole lemon, as my Meyer lemon tree is heavy with fruit and ready to harvest. There will be plenty of citrusy salads and even a basic waran bhaat will get a generous squeeze of home grown lemons, but it is the baked goods that I look forward to experimenting with.

While many of the recipes I look through get pushed lower on the list if they are too daunting or time consuming, this snack cake looked easily adaptable. The fact that it is low-fat made it sound even better. I added plenty of lemon zest for flavor, and baked it in a loaf pan, turning it into a lemony loaf cake. I had to bake it a little longer which was probably due to the shape of the pan. I also de-veganized it because I didn't want to run out to buy a small amount of soy yogurt and soy milk, but using soy would make it truly vegan.

This is a lovely light cake that can be enjoyed without guilt as a snack, with tea, or for breakfast, and when dressed up with a fruit compote or puree it works as an elegant dessert too. I am sending it to this month's Grow Your Own event.

Lemon loaf cake

Here is my recipe, adapted from Susan's, with many thanks to her.

Meyer Lemon loaf Cake


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup yogurt (regular or soy)
1-1/2 Tablespoons oil, plus a little more for the pan
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (regular or soy)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F.

Grease a 9x5 inch pan well with oil.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, blend the yogurt, oil, vanilla, water, soymilk, and lemon juice. Do not overmix. Stir in the lemon zest. Stir in the dry ingredients with a whisk or spatula.

Pour the batter into the greased pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool completely. Loosen sides gently with a knife and remove from pan.

Serving suggestion

Mango Sauce: Mix together a few tablespoons of mango jam with equal amount of water, and heat for a few minutes until it forms a sauce.

Lemon cake with mango sauce

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soy Milk Kadhi

I have a niece who is lactose intolerant, and drinks soy milk everyday. So whenever she visits, I make sure soy milk is well stocked at home, but when she leaves, there is invariably some leftover. If it is a tiny quantity I add it to a shake or soup, but what does one do with a lot of soy milk if one doesn't consume it regularly?

The idea for this kadhi (for lack of a better name) was sown on one such occasion. This dish is neither a traditional kadhi, nor is it a substitute for the regular version made with yogurt, but came in handy recently when cooking for vegan and low carb-ing friends. For those not watching their carbohydrate intake, it goes rather well with plain white rice.

If you can find fresh soy milk, by all means use it rather than the carton variety.


Soy Milk Kadhi

Serves 4 as a main course


4 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 Tablespoons besan
1 teaspoon ajwain seeds
1-2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5-10 curry leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
4 green chilies
1/4 cup of tamarind extract (not concentrate!)
1 Tablespoon jaggery (optional)
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
salt to taste


In a large bowl, stir together the soy milk, turmeric and besan with a whisk, until there are no lumps of flour. (Alternatively, you can add the turmeric later with the other ingredients in the hot oil.)

Pound the ajwain seeds to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and finely chop the green chilies.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mustard seeds. As they start to pop, add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, chilies, and the ajwain powder. Stir and quickly add the soy milk and besan mixture. Keep whisking as it comes to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer.

Stir in the tamarind paste, jaggery and salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat until the mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Add the cilantro at the very end, just before serving.
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