I can’t stop eating; join me for a spongy and spicy lentil, rice and vegetable muffin
I get really, very hungry these days. I am tempted to reel off a load of synonyms for ‘hungry’ in order of growing desperation but that would be so…urgh.
I need you to understand how insatiable my appetite has been. I am still holding my beautiful little darling responsible for this. Apparently feeding him usurps loads of calories and he gets the goodness first and I get what is left over. SO, it is only fitting that I must keep eating. Tough stuff eh? I’m eating right now, as I type with fingers flecked with goat’s cheese. It’s a beetroot bake with a bit of carrot in it.
Anyway, I am forever snacking, as you can imagine. I mean, before I had my sugar-lump my friends advised me to keeps snacks such a cereal bar with me during feeds. The health visitors of course suggest fruits. But, it’s not enough!! I am at it all the time. I leave a trail of evidence in the form of stains on my clothes (what the heck, they get baby puke and milk on them anyway), crumbs in crevices (its true) and not-so-subtle aroma’s. I know it’s not very glamorous but I wouldn’t be me if my finger nails weren’t stained with some sort of spice. It’s usually turmeric. I slap a bit of nail paint over it. Sometimes.
The other day I was at a baby class. The other mummies are so well behaved and introduce themselves as ‘Bo’s mum etc. They tumble in, smiling broadly and carry with them branded nappy bags and prams, sing the rhymes with raised eyebrows, feed the babies in break and sway during the goodbye song. Now, I do get into it, but I also pull out whiffy treats wrapped in sandwich bags from my nappy bag. Before you start conjuring up images of baby poo…stop! There is no poo in that bag of mine.
So they kind of sneak peeks at me, feeding myself Handvo muffins (recipe below) during the break and playing with the baby, of course. Look; healthy mum, healthy baby is what I say.
Life evolves and sometimes it is pretty sad letting-go, but I remind myself that there is a lot more to look forward to. Until my baby was a still wearing ‘up to three months’ clothing I was satisfying the hunger pangs with nibbles of lemon drizzle cake or banana cake or something that the me and girls from the NCT group had half-hoovered up together during our weekly get-together’s. We have all evolved and part of it has been letting go of the cake.
I am sharing a recipe with you for Spongy and Spicy; Lentil, Rice and Vegetable Muffins, or Handvo/Onwo muffins. Traditionally these savoury, moist and fluffy mouthfuls are made in a rectangular cake shape and are full of tangy vegetables. The spongy element comes from fermented rice and lentils, a bit like south Indian idli, or Guajarati dhokla. They provide an awesome, comforting and filling snack and some goodness too. The muffin shape and crunchy, sesame coated topping seems to encourage children to give them a go too…result!
Spongy and Spicy; Lentil, Rice and Vegetable Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
1 cup long grain rice
¼ cup channa daal (Bengal gram)
¼ cup oily Toor Daal
¼ cup Urud Daal (split black gram)
4-5 green chillies, finely chopped
1 cup plain, natural yogurt
1 ½ tsp. minced ginger
1½ tsp. minced garlic
1 cup grated courgette
½ cup grated carrot
5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp. Eno fruit salts or soda bicarbonate
The spices; 1 tsp. cumin seeds, a couple of pinches of asafoetida, 1 tsp. mustard seeds, 6-7 curry leaves, 1 tsp. ajwain, salt to taste, a pinch of asafoetida, sesame seeds for sprinkling on top of muffins, ½ tsp. chilli powder, ½ tsp. turmeric powder, salt to taste, 1 tsp. sugar
Cook’s note: you will find the lentils in all good Asian Supermarkets and they are often found in standard supermarkets. They are all split lentils for this dish.
- Soak all of the rice and lentils for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight
- Drain the water from the lentils and the rice and grind to a coarse paste-like consistency. You should still see small grains, but it should be a thick paste.
- Mix in the yogurt and vegetables together, before adding the ginger, sugar, salt, garlic, ajwain and two of the chillies.
- Heat two of the tablespoons of oil, add one pinch of asafoetida, mustard seeds, turmeric and allow the seeds to pop before adding the chilli powder. Pour this tempering into the batter and mix through.
- Leave the batter to soak for another 4-6 hours. When it’s ready, add 1 tbsp. of water to loosen it. When it’s ready, it will smell tangy and spicy in all the right ways.
- To make the second tempering, heat the remaining oil, asafoetida, cumin seeds, curry leaves and allow the seeds to crackle. Pour the batter equally into each of the muffin trays and coat with a little of the tempering and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Cover the muffin trays with tin foil and bake in the oven at 180degrees for approximately 40 minutes. You will find the browned muffins crispy all around the outside and spongy in the centre. I’d suggest you use a skewer to check on the insides.