Basil seeds (sabja seeds) are one of the most sought-after summer ingredients in Asia as these seeds are believed to lower the body heat according to traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda also. You may check out the other health benefits of these sensational basil seeds here.
It is a common sight in the super markets here displaying a number of basil seeds’ products, and the refreshment shops selling fruit juices & ice creams with added basil seeds to attract more customers during summer.
Nevertheless I used to add soaked basil seeds into my regular foods like chappathi (flat bread), raitha (yogurt based salad), fruit juices, puddings, etc. to beat the notorious scorching summer heat here in Chennai.
I also like to add basil seeds into my egg free baking recipes as the substitute for eggs. Now I have prepared an Indian-flavored American banana bread with soaked basil seeds replacing eggs, jaggery as sweetener, cardamom powder for sweet aroma, ginger powder for the sharp flavor and ghee-roasted coconut pieces & raisins for adding texture. I could enjoy the gritty basil seeds, lovely banana flavor and sweet cardamom aroma in every bite, and the chewy coconut pieces & juicy raisins made this bread even more delectable. With no further elaboration of texture & flavor of basil seeds banana bread lets move on to the recipe:
|Whole wheat flour||1 and 1/2 cups|
|Baking powder||1 tbsp (heaped)|
|Mashed banana||1 cup *|
|Powdered jaggery||3/4 cup|
|Soaked sabja seeds||1/2 cup **|
|Neutral oil||1/2 cup|
|Ghee-roasted coconut & raisins||as desired|
|Coconut pieces (slivered)||as desired|
|Cashew nuts||as desired|
* I used 2 large ripe red bananas.
** I added about 1 tbsp of basil seeds into 50 ml of water, and then the seeds absorbed all the water and swelled into gel like globules in just 2-3 minutes.
Mise en place:
- Line the loaf pan with parchment paper as shown below.
- Powder the cardamoms & dried ginger using mortar & pestle and leave aside.
- Keep the banana & jaggery mixture ready.
- Roast coconut & raisins in hot ghee and keep aside.
Banana bread baking:
- Preheat the oven at 170 deg C.
- Sieve the whole wheat flour along with baking powder, cardamom powder & ginger powder through a fine mesh into a mixing bowl.
- Pour banana-jaggery mixture followed by soaked basil seeds & oil into the bowl.
- Mix them using a hand mixer (or whisk) at low speed.
- Add roasted coconut & raisins into the dough and mix again.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Garnish with raw coconut pieces & cashew nuts.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from oven and leave it aside until it reaches the room temperature.
- Transfer the loaf to a plate and slice it after few hours to enjoy the intense banana flavor.
- Serve delicious banana bread for breakfast with peanut butter or jaggery syrup.
We can make appam (pancake) or paniyaram (appe) quickly on the stove top using the same batter instead of baking the bread for 40 minutes. We just need to dilute the batter with little water or milk before making appam or paniyaram and they can be served as after school snacks for children. We can also bake cupcakes for 15 minutes using the same batter after reducing baking powder to one teaspoon and adding half a teaspoon of baking soda.