It is a dull summer afternoon. The temperature has touched 43 degrees C. It is stuffy outside and stuffier inside. “Burrrrrrrrrr Bah Bah Bah” goes a Barbet in the mango tree. Soon she perches on the lower branch and looks at the bird bath. She inspects the area blinking her eyes and tilting her head from side to side sense the slightest activity around. She seems to feel safe and descends from her perch. 

Reluctantly, she plunges her beak into the water and quenches her thirst. Then she gets bolder and almost dives into the pot splashing water around. She continues to play in water till a group of noisy babblers arrive and she flies away.

For dinner, I decide to bake a wholegrain bread. I‘ve always loved to incorporate local grains into my breads.   Raagi / finger millets (madua) grows in the hills and is sourced from the local farmer. It is grown in the Himalayan Valleys without any chemicals. Harvested grain is sent to water mills to be crushed into semi coarse flour.

Finger millet, known as Madua locally, has the highest amount of Calcium and Potassium. It is a great source of iron. Madua also contains important amino acids and B vitamins especially niacin, B6 and folic acid. Madua is low fat, gluten free and easy to digest

My earlier breads with finger millets turned out to be dry. Raagi being gluten free and sandy in texture, makes the bread dry and crumbly. The bread does not slice neatly and the slices break. This time I experimented   and decided to make a batter bread. 

The bread came out to be a real surprise. It sliced well and the slices were soft and supple. It tasted great.

Here is my recipe-

Multigrain Batter Bread | Whole Wheat Finger Millet Batter Bread| Multigrain No Knead Bread | Atta Raagi Bread | Vegan Bread
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup finger millet flour / Raagi flour / Madua flour/ Nachni flour
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
Grease one 8x4x4 inch bread pan. Dust with cornmeal (makki ka atta)
Whisk together first five ingredients in a deep bowl. I used a steel wok.
Add sugar to warm water. Add yeast. Stir.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
 Add water mix to flour mix. Stir with a ladle till the ingredients are well combined. Now mix steadily for 6 to 8 minutes (it requires a lot of muscle power J ). Do not add more water than the quantity specified, even if it feels heavy to stir. You will get a very stick batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Apply some oil in your hand and level the batter in the pan.
Cover the pan with a kitchen cloth generously dusted with flour. Keep in a warm to rise for 45minutes to 1 hour or until doubled.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes or till the top turns brown and the bread shrinks from the sides and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack. Brush the top with butter.
Slice when completely cold.

Summers remind me of our holidays in Pondicherry. How intimidated we were on a friend telling us that summer is not the right time to visit Pondicherry. But we had our fill of good times and good food. We loved the guest house where we put up for four memorable days. The lotus pond, green frogs, the fish pond, the beach, and cashews growing kept us so amused and engaged that the heat did not bother us at all. 

On the last day, we had a simple lunch at a CafĂ©. The dessert counter had great varieties of cakes. The swirls of chocolate marble cake caught my kids’ attention and they wanted me to bake one for them.  Yesterday, when I baked this cake, the memories got fresh again. 

We enjoyed our slices with ice cream as we flipped through the pages of the album, reliving the good times.

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or less depending on taste)
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • Cocoa paste (¼ cup cocoa + 2 tablespoons boiling water. Stir till smooth)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Line the bottom and grease the sides of one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla essence.
  4. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with buttermilk.
  5. Set aside 1/3 of this batter.
  6. Add cocoa paste to the reserved batter and stir till well combined.
  7. Spoon the batters in the prepared pan. Add one tablespoon of vanilla batter followed by the chocolate batter. Level the top with a spoon. Run a table knife or the back of a spoon in swirling motion through the batters to get to get a marbling effect.
  8. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out the cake from pan and cool completely on the rack.
On my kids’ behest, I added 2 tablespoons of vanilla custard powder to the plain batter to get a golden hue. 

On another occasion, I added 2 tablespoons of strawberry custard powder to plain batter and the result was a lovely strawberry and chocolate marble cake.

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