Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rice Puttu / All about Rice Pittu

     Puttu is my favorite food, i love puttu!!! I think my greatest culinary achievement (!) is, making my husband like it too :) He's not a big fan of dry food. This steamed rice flour can be flavored in different ways. 
    This post answers all these questions: what is puttu?, how to prepare it?, how to steam it with/ without a puttu steamer? and all the different ways to flavor it (my favorite part). Puttu recipe is in the bottom of this post
Puttu is a popular breakfast in South Indian states like: Tamil Nadu, Kerala and it's popular in Srilanka too. 
What is puttu? Moistened rice flour is steamed in a puttu steamer,  an idly cooker or by keeping the rice flour- filled bowl over boiling water (covered pan). My friend use rice cooker to steam the flour.
Puttu in tamil literature: Puttu has been mentioned in the works of 15th and 16th century tamil literature- wikipedia. Puttu or pittu is a tamil word, meaning: dividing into (small) portion. 
How to make puttu?: Small amount of moistened rice flour and shredded coconut are (usually) filled inside a puttu steamer consecutively and steamed. When cooked, it will look like small round cakes with coconut icing on top. 
Ways to eat puttu: Puttu, by itself is bland, we can make it sweeter or spicier by the things we add to it.  
1. Puttu can be sweetened with sugar and shredded coconut. If it's too dry, add few tsp of warm milk or fresh coconut milk to it. 
2. Add puttu with shredded coconut, sugar, banana or ripe mango. 
3. Add sugar and  few spoons of warm milk with puttu.
4. We can make it a Kerala delight, by adding mutta (egg) curry, fish curry, chicken curry or kadala curry Click here for kadala curry recipe. as a side dish. 
5. We can add sugar and ghee/ clarified butter too.
Puttu !!!


2 cups        rice flour 
1/2 cup      warm water
1/4 tsp       salt
4   tbs        shredded coconut
We can steam the rice flour in any pan with a tight lid. As i said before my friend use rice cooker to steam the puttu flour. 
Making puttu:
1. Heat water in the bottom portion of the puttu maker.
2. Dissolve salt in 1/2 cup of warm water.
3. Dry roast the rice flour, sprinkle the warm water and mix it with hand. 
To check the right consistency of the flour: take some moist flour and squeeze it slightly in your fist, the flour must hold together without falling apart. 
4. Press the moist flour through a sieve or put it in a blender and pulse it a few times.
Puttu steamed in a puttu steamer:
5. If using the cylindrical puttu maker/kutty/kuzhal, put a handful of shredded coconut inside the cylinder, followed by three handfuls of rice flour.
6.  Continue the process, by consecutively (and loosely) filling the steamer with coconut and flour. Close the lid and place it on the bottom part of the puttu maker. Let the water simmer until, steam comes out from its slotted lid. 
7. Remove the puttu carefully and enjoy it with the side dish of your choice.
Puttu steamed in a covered pan:
1. Heat water in a saucepan (with a lid), place a cookie cooling rack or a trivet inside it.
2. Follow the (above) steps 2-4. Now take a small  metal bowl/pan with lid, fill 1/2 the cup of moist flour, add a handful of shredded coconut over it. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of rice flour over the coconut... repeat the process with the remaining rice and coconut, cover it with lid or with a kitchen towel. 
3. Place the covered puttu- bowl inside the saucepan (on the cooling rack/ trivet) now cover the saucepan and bring the water to a slow  simmer for 10 - 20 mins. Add more water to the pan as needed.
Steaming puttu in an iddly cooker: 
Prepare the puttu flour following the above steps, heat water in the iddly pan and keep the flour in the iddly mold with handfull of coconut flakes over it. Cover the pan with lid and steam it till you hear the whistle sound.  

Feel free to comment, i love your feedback. Enjoy ur cooking! Have a blessed day :) 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spicy fried Peanuts / Poritha kara verkadalai

This is a healthy snack, spicy with a hint of garlic. Adding whole red chillies, garlic, lemon and curry leaves (optional) makes this a crunchy, fiesty treat.
2 cups           peanuts
4 cloves        garlic with peel (trim the ends)
4 whole         red chillies
1 tsp              lemon zest What is lemon zest
1 tbs              lemon juice 
few                curry leaves/ karuveppilai (optional)
1/8 tsp           salt
1 tbs              veg. oil
1. Heat oil in a pan (high), add peanuts, garlic, curry leaves and crushed chillies.
2. Stir it continuously till the peanuts becomes dark. Add lemon juice, zest and salt and continue stirring for another minute or so.
3. Transfer it to a serving platter and enjoy.  

Feel free to comment, i love your feedback. Enjoy ur cooking! Have a blessed day :) 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spicy pear shortcake pinwheels

"This fragrant fruit dessert, served warm from the oven offers special welcome to family and friends "- The Evening Independent 1973
It's true, we loved this crumbly, pear filled shortcake soaked in spiced brown sugar sauce. My search for a pear recipe, led me to this rich, beautiful dessert.  A rich shortcake dough, rolled around fresh pear filling and basted and baked until golden  in a spicy brown sugar syrup.
Pear filling
3              fresh pears
1/3 cup    chopped dates
1/4 cup    chopped nuts
1/3 cup    sugar
Short cake dough
2 cups      all purpose flour
2 tbs         sugar
2 tsp         baking powder
1/2 tsp      salt
1/2 cup     butter
1              beaten egg 
1/2 cup     milk
2 tbs         soft butter
Spicy brown sugar sauce
3/4 cup     water
1/2 cup     brown sugar
2 tbs         butter 
2 tsp         lemon juice
1/4 tsp      cinnamon
Pear filling:
1. Core and finely dice pears and combine it with dates, nuts and sugar.
2. Prepare the dough by sifting together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add sugar and cut in 1/2 cup butter until the mixture is crumbly.
3. Combine eggs and milk. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Turn the dough on floured board and knead gently until smooth (if the dough is sticky add more flour).
4. Roll the dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle and spread with soft butter. Sprinkle pear filling over dough.
5. Roll dough from long edge, jelly roll style. Cut in 11/2" slices and arrange, cut side down, in baking pan.
6. For spicy brown sugar sauce: Combine water, brown sugar, butter and lemon juice. Bring to boil, pour over the pin wheels.

 7. Bake in 425* for 25 - 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream/ sour cream.