Gone Bananas: Indian-spiced Banana Muffins & Banana Songs

Eats:  Not Your Mama’s Banana Muffins
TunesGone Bananas: Our favorite banana songs
Fun Fact(s):  Origins of Banana Bread and banana facts site.

Intro

We don’t dig on fresh bananas but oh those banana muffins, how they disappear in this house.  So much so, that that is what dear daughter requested for her birthday this year, selecting it 6 months in advance.  This time, not only did we add the usual Indian twist of cardamom (rather than cinnamon), to make it more festive we added sounf (candy-coated fennel seeds).  As we learned with the Christmas Cookies, sounf doesn’t make a melty mess if you put it on straight away (at least not for the max 12 minutes it took to cook any of the cookies/muffins we’ve made).

 

Tunes

As usual, first up is to get the tunes playing!  This one is a mashup (pun intended) of our favorite banana songs:

  • Kicking off off with the catchy ‘I like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones)’ played and sung by the amazing Terry Waldo, with the  who literally wrote the book on Ragtime.  You’re in for a treat if you catch him live, and if you’re in the NYC area you have a couple chances every week!
  • Next up, is the (required!) live version of ‘30,000 Pounds of Bananas’ by Harry Chapin.  Such a classic.
  • Day-o!  ‘Banana Boat Song’ by Harry Belafonte. Of course.
  • Steering clear of the awful overly-kiddie versions of ‘Apples & Bananas,’ the Keith Urban version is fun and demonstrates the fun  the vowel-swapping each time through!
  • … or skip the country and do the nice instrumental version of ‘Apples & Bananas,’ by
  • And then: a French version!  ‘Les Pommes et Les Bananes!’ by Will Stroet
  • Bonus: starring YOU.  If you went to camp, or have a current/former girl scout among you, someone knows the Banana Cheer.  Get up and do it!

Fun Facts

I started off thinking I wouldn’t have a fun fact, but now I can’t choose!

Only 130 days ’till national Banana Bread Day (Feb 23rd)!  Yes, apparently that’s a thing!

And here’s a whole page of fun facts, which is part of the publicity for the book The Banana Police.I think my favorite is the very first listed:  “The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means ‘the fruit of the wise men.'”  I’d love to know more about how that name came about but I’ll have to look into that another time.

Lastly, according to Wikipedia, banana bread’s origins are debated: either a byproduct of the Great Depression (resourceful housewives not wanting to throw away overripe bananas), or developed in corporate kitchens to promote baking soda and flour products.  I’ve always wondered if zucchini bread, carrot and apple cakes were related and I’ll have to look into that another time, too.

Eats

Not Your Mama’s Banana Muffins

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, kids birthday
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana muffin, fusion, indian-spiced, sounf

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 1/2-2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 eggs (large/jumbo)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional toppings: saunf* or a pinch of brown sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Remove & discard skins of banana and mash them in a medium bowl.
  • Add sugar and cardamom powder and mix until combined.
  • In another medium bowl, beat 2 eggs until combined, add sunflower oil and whisk until combined.
  • Combine the contents of both bowls into one, mixing until combined, but don’t over-mix.
  • In the empty bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
  • Add one to the other, combining but careful not to over mix.
  • Scoop batter into mini-muffin silicone molds (un-greased), filling nearly full.
  • Top the muffins as desired (or not).
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I find that ovens vary on this, even between my toaster oven and big one)

Notes

Notes
  • * Saunf is candied fennel, commonly eaten after meals in India to freshen breath and aid digestion.
  • Baking time: I find that even between my toaster oven and normal oven baking times vary. We prefer them nice and soft/fluffy, and if you, do, too check the muffins before they brown too much!
  • The original recipe asks to sift the flour but I’ve never bothered to do that we love the results without it.
  • The original recipe also asks to add the wet ingredients into “a well” made into the try ingredients, but having tried both ways, I see no actual difference so just mix it any which way — just careful not to over-mix.