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Here’s a confession – Polish Christmassy baked goods are my favourite food group. Yeast dough poppy seed strudel, vanilla cheesecake made from dry curd cottage cheese and honey gingerbread… mm-hmm. Other than the poppy seed strudel which stands a chance in the land of low FODMAPs, the others are things of the past. But! This does not mean we are feeling down! Quite the opposite: time to come up with new favourites… through trial and error, obviously. Eh, I think it’s time to seriously take up running again…

I present you the first little gem (modest much?) – a festive variation on the humble banana bread, adaptable to the vegan diet. Feel free to serve it on other occasions, with or without the spices!

Chai Banana Bread

  • 3 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/3 cup gluten or 1/3 cup potato starch + 1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg or 2 tablespoons of firm tofu (or your preferred egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup butter or vegan substitute
  • 7 tablespoons lactose-free milk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). On the stove top, melt the butter in a small pan, add the sugar and fry for 5-8 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Be careful as this concoction has the properties of lava! Also, make sure to not burn the sugar. While frying the sugar, in a large bowl, mash up the bananas with a fork. Sift in all the dry ingredients, mix well with a spoon. Add the fried sugar and milk, mix before adding the egg yolk so that it does not cook in the hot butter. Mix thoroughly, beat the egg white and stir it gently into the batter. Pour into a greased 4×8 inch loaf pan, bake for an hour. Let cool if you’re patient enough… enjoy on its own, with some strong black tea or with a cup of rice milk hot cocoa.

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A word of caution about xanthan gum (I tested both the gum and gluten as glueing agents). The instructions for xanthan gum suggested using 1 teaspoon per 1 tablespoon of gluten-free flour, but the resulting consistency of the baked bread was a little too gummy and it did not raise well; you can see it in the first posted image. As shown below, I had better results with gluten. So, either use less xanthan gum (I suggest 1 1/4 teaspoon), or stick to the latter option.

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When your love for onion rings, whipped cream latté and apple pie has to surrender in the face of a gastrointestinal war... when the world becomes a bleak place, full of chicken soup and carrots... do not despair! There's more than one sweet fish in the sea, and your culinary adventures have only just begun. I hereby present you Squashablanca, the land of plenty for people following a low-sugar version of the low FODMAP diet. Enjoy your food!

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