In pre-Coronavirus times, your idea of delectable comfort food might have included a Ramen bowl from your favourite Japanese restaurant or a slice of chocolate cake at the bakery right down the street. Ever since the world has gone into lockdown, that has changed quickly. Eating out is now practically a distant dream. Even shopping for food supplies is like some twisted version of The Hunger Games which calls for cheer if you manage to snag yeast and ketchup.
At the start of March 2020, when the Coronavirus quarantine was coming into effect in various parts of the world, it so happened that banana bread simultaneously rose in popularity. It wasn't by coincidence. The global phenomenon didn't happen because everyone decided to forgo spring desserts like lemon tarts and strawberry shortcake in favour of it.
Banana bread was suddenly the dessert du jour and there's a good reason why that is so. With even basic food supplies in shortage, desserts are a near luxury. Banana bread however, doesn't require exclusive items the likes of which a souffle or tart would. Simple pantry staples like flour, milk, eggs etc., which are found in most homes, can be combined with banana to make the bread (which in fairness, is practically a cake)
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Remember that part about food supplies being in short supply when the quarantine first began? Panic shopping swept the masses which led to dozens of bananas being stress-purchased lest shoppers go hungry. Bananas, as we all know, do not stay at optimum yellowy ripeness for more than a week. When the dozens in the fruit bowl on the dining table started to develop black splotches, there were only a finite amount of banana smoothies and "nice-cream" which could be made. This led to the mass creation of banana bread in many forms; some enjoyed with scoops of vanilla ice-cream, others with a topping of walnuts. And the rest is history.
If you'd like to bake banana bread at home, follow this recipe by Chef Sabyasachi Gorai.
Walnut Banana Bread by Chef Sabyasachi Gorai
Half cup sugar
Half cup brown sugar
One-third cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium-sized bananas)
1 and a half teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, in halves or large pieces
1 cup whole-wheat flour
Half cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Half teaspoon salt
Quarter teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, or coat it with non stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar and oil and blend with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add the mashed banana, eggs and vanilla and stir or whisk again until completely mixed. Stir in the walnuts. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir them together for a minute, using a fork or whisk, so they well mixed. Add to the banana mixture and stir just until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, with no streaks of unblended flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake about 1 hour, then test for done-ness: A wooden skewer or sharp knife inserted into the centre of the loaf should come out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs on it, but no raw batter. If necessary, bake about 5 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out and onto a rack cool to room temperature. Store in a sealed plastic bag or container. The bread can also be well wrapped and frozen.
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