Avocado Banana Chaat


I have wanted to try Rasika, an Indian restaurant in DC, for a while now. Friend after friend has told me how exquisite the food is, but it seemed that the timing was never right and somehow five years had flown by. So, for Mother’s Day I chose to have dinner there with my family and a dear friend.

We ordered several dishes to share, marveling at each one. One of our favorites was one of the appetizers, the avocado banana chaat, which had an incredible blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and cool tastes. I swore that I would go home and try to replicate it.

After a couple of tries, here is my take on the delightfully different dish. I added some crumbled tangy tomato banana chips that we found at our local Indian grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 banana
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind chutney
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • tangy tomato banana chips for garnish (optional)
  • paprika (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork and squeeze the juice from half the lemon over it. In a smaller bowl, mix the tamarind chutney, cumin and cayenne pepper until well blended. Stir the tamarind chutney blend into the mashed banana. Cut the avocado into 1/2″ cubes and squeeze the juice from the remaining half lemon over it to preserve the color. Add the avocado to the banana-chutney mixture, tossing gently, making sure not to squish the avocado. Chill.

To serve, dish onto a plate and crumble some banana chips to give it crunch. You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika on an around the chaat for color. Bon appetit!

How to Make Organic Bunny Treats

I recently discovered a new blog, Winding Road Farm, written by a woman who, along with her fiancée, is working to build a 10-acre farm in Georgia. She posted an article on the care and feeding of bunnies, along with a recipe for bunny food. This reminded me of some homemade bunny treats I purchased at the BUST Holiday Craftacular back in December. Amy Sedaris was there autographing her latest crafty book, and selling people’s homemade crafts. When I mentioned that I had a rabbit (Sedaris is a big rabbit fan), she pointed out a little bag of of “Elliot’s Cilantro Treats,” which she highly recommended.

Even though my rabbit adores these snacks, I still have quite a few left (because they are treats, you can only give one or two to your rabbit per day). But I wanted to try making my own version, just for the fun of it. While doing an internet search on homemade rabbit treats, I came across a recipe posted on Live Journal by Katie, who apparently is the very same person who made the snacks I bought (Katie, it turns out, is also the author of the Amy Sedaris Rocks website).

In the intro to her recipe, Katie explains “It’s a bit time-consuming and makes a big mess, but it’s worth it because it’s so much healthier than treats sold in stores…” I’ve developed a short-cut version that is pretty quick and not very messy. I may try them again in the future with cilantro or parsley.

Here’s what I used:

* 1 cup organic rolled oats, finely ground
* 1/2 cup organic dried alfalfa powder (I bought this from Mountain Rose Herbs)
* 4 ounce jar of baby food organic carrots
* 4 ounce jar of baby food organic banana (I used a banana-apple blend)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Grind the oats in a coffee or spice grinder to make a powder. Place the powdered oats in a bowl, then stir in the alfalfa, carrots and bananas until well-blended. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the liquid from the wet ingredients.

The dough should be firm enough to shape into a ball. It looks like something a dung beetle would live in.

Roll the mixture into a ball, then place it between 2 sheets of wax paper. With a rolling pin or large bottle, roll it out to about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick.

Cut out small circles (I used a 1/2″ diameter circle cutter) and place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes (don’t let them get too brown), then turn off the heat and let them sit in the warm oven for at least an hour to allow them to thoroughly dry. (Katie points out that this is a very important step that prevents the treats from growing mold).

NOTE: Since these are treats, please limit them to 1 or 2 per day for your rabbit.

my rabbit is a bit camera shy

but it didn't take her long to get over her self-consciousness and dig into her treat