Daring Bakers Challenge – Meyer Lemon Loaf:

It’s been a while since I tackled a Daring Bakers Challenge. This month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was Quick Breads and I got it done just in time before the month ends. 

Epicurious define Quick Breads as “Bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. That's because the leavening in such a bread is usually baking powder or baking soda, which, when combined with moisture, starts the rising process immediately. In the case of double-acting baking powder, oven heat causes a second burst of rising power. Eggs can also be used to leaven quick breads. This genre includes most biscuits, muffins, popovers and a wide variety of sweet and savory loaf breads.”

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Lisa provided us with some simple delicious base recipes to begin with but one glance at the Meyer Lemon Loaf recipe and I was sold. I’ve always wanted to make a Lemon loaf and quickly seized the opportunity. I know Lisa wanted us to build on these recipes but I couldn’t resist trying the original recipe first. Other variations and versions of quick breads, I’ve best left for another day. 

Meyer Lemon Loaf

Makes two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaves
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf

You will need:
2 2/3 cups (640 ml) (375 gm/13¼ oz) All-purpose (plain)unbleached flour
¾ teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3¾ gm) Baking powder
Zest of 3 Meyer lemons (I used regular lemons)
2 cups (480 ml) (450 gm/16 oz) white granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) fresh Meyer lemon juice (regular lemons are fine too)
Pinch of salt
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (125 gm/4½ oz/1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter, melted and cooled

½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
Juice from 1 medium Meyer Lemon (or regular lemon)

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and flour two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaf pans.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.
3. Place sugar, lemon zest, and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until the mixture is a light lemon color and thickened a bit. This can also be done with a mixer. Whisk in sour cream, then salt, then rum (if using) and lemon juice.
4. Gently whisk in the flour in four parts, then whisk in the butter in three parts. You’ll have a thick, pourable batter flecked with lemon zest.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
6. While the loaves are baking, prepare simple syrup. Heat together sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved - do not boil. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
7. Turn the loaves out of their pans onto a cooling rack and brush liberally with the lemon syrup, repeat brushing as you feel necessary. Let cool.
The loaves soak up the syrup beautifully and create a nice glaze on top. Quick breads can have a huge crack on top of the loaf, which is normal. I dressed up my loaf with thinly sliced lemon twists to conceal the crack. Another way is to dust powdered sugar on top.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

Loaves can be kept wrapped tightly on the counter or in the fridge for approximately 5 to 7 days. Loaves last for 6 months if wrapped tightly and kept air tight in the freezer. 
I loved the flavor and texture of this loaf. The brushed syrup made the loaf super moist and needless to say delicious. The heady aroma of lemons is quite intoxicating and will certainly make you grab a second slice. Its also a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Thanks Lisa for a quick and easy challenge!

Tindora Fry & Chunky Vegetable Sambar:

Tindora or Ivy Gourd is one of my favourite vegetables. Since childhood I’ve always been accustomed to one way of eating and now making Tindora – boil it and season with ground garlic, coconut and chili powder. Tindora Fry is how it’s made in Andhra, also known as Dondakaya Fry. It is a very popular dish served along an array of mouth-watering Andhra dishes.This is now my new favourite way of making Tindora.

You will need:

3 cups Tindora
1 Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp fresh grated coconut
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad Dal
½ tsp Chana dal
1 tsp Cumin powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Wash the Tindora and trim the ends. Cut Tindora in half lengthwise and cut each half into fourths. You should have four thin pieces from each Tindora.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan that is wide enough to accommodate all Tindora in one layer. Add the Tindora and sauté on medium-low heat. The key is to cook the Tindora until the edges are crisp and the Tindora shrinks. Stir every now and then to prevent burning and to ensure the Tindora cooks on all sides. It takes about 12-15 minutes, the wait is well worth it!

When the Tindora is almost done heat the remaining oil in another pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When it begins to splutter, add the urad and chana dals. Saute until light brown for a few seconds. Add the sliced onions and ginger garlic paste. Saute until the onions are translucent and soft. Now add the cumin powder and grated coconut. Saute for a few seconds and add this to the Tindora. Toss and season with salt. Cook for a minute more until the cumin is fragrant. Turn off heat, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Chunky Vegetable Sambar:

Nothing hits it home like a yummy and aromatic Vegetable Sambar which brings back a host of memories from India. The Sambar is a quintessential part of a South Indian meal. The way it’s made varies widely from household to household – what goes in the sambar as well as the spices used to make it. The most comforting and a family favourite is the Vegetable sambar.

You will need:

½ cup Tuar Dal
1 onion, cubed into pieces
2 carrots, sliced
1 small white Radish,sliced (Daikon variety in the US)
2 tomatoes, cubed
1 cup Green Beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Chayote Squash, peeled and cubed*
½ cup Lima Beans, fresh or frozen (Valor Lilva)**

*White pumpkin can be used instead of Chayote squash
** In the US, I prefer to use frozen Lima beans which cuts cooking time. I buy it at my Indian grocers – Surti Lilva is the tender smaller lima beans; Valor Lilva is the larger lima beans preferable in this sambar since it holds shape better. 
***You can add all or one of the following - potatoes, peas, white or brown chickpeas (soaked). Avoid Cabbage, Cauliflower,Broccoli

To Roast:

2 tbsp Corriander seeds
2 tsp Cumin seeds
6-7 Whole black peppercorns
½ tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp Urad Dal
1 tbsp Chana Dal
8 Byadige Dry red chillies
6 Guntur Dry red chillies

Dry roast each of the ingredients above in a small pan, until light brown and fragrant. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

To Grind:

Prepared powder from above
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
1 clove of Garlic
Water as required

Grind to a smooth paste with water as required.

Wash Tuar dal and drain. Add the prepped vegetables to the tuar dal, add water until everything is just submerged, about 2-2.5 cups of water. Add a pinch of turmeric and ½ tsp of oil. Pressure cook for 3 whistles in a pressure cooker. Let cooker cool before opening the lid.


2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
¼ tsp Asafetida (Hing)
Few curry leaves
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
1-1   ½ tbsp Powdered Jaggery
Salt to taste

In a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing. When it begins to splutter, add the pressure cooked dal and vegetables. Add the tamarind paste, powdered jaggery, salt to taste and prepared ground paste. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil on medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and then garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with white rice.

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