Steamed wheat-rice cake – Wheat puttu

Quite interesting name! For us it’s simply puttu made with roasted wheat or rice flour. But what I have for this post is about puttu made with wheat flour.

When roasted wheat flour blends with fresh grated coconut it only enhances the flavor and takes it to the next level. That makes wheat puttu ridiculously rich and deliciously aromatic breakfast item. In Kerala and some other parts of southern India, wheat puttu is very popular even if it doesn’t have any fancy tags on it.

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It has many variations based on the creativity, either you can opt for the sweet version or the non-sweet version of it. No matter what version you like, puttu is generously filling and gives a sense of satisfaction. The best combination for puttu I enjoy is with butter, hint of sugar and sliced banana which is appealing and elegant to entice anyone.

That being said, the taste purely depends on the texture and the consistency of the flour. Flour must be roasted without burning. Any hint of burned smell would spoil the entire deal. You can say the flour is at its right stage when it slides like dry sand. Feel free to also follow your instincts. Remember to lower the heat when the pan is really hot to the touch. And consistently stir and often check the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to make sure the flour is not browning. If you’re able to take care of these critical stages, you’re good to go!

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As you prepare the flour for the puttu, adding water cannot be so generous. Add little water at a time as you would do for the pie dough – sort of like coarse yet moist texture – more like bread crumbs. Too much water will make it soggy and too little water make it dry. You will find it really hard to steam it. In fact it stays the same and doesn’t hold up the shape in the puttu candle. So the ruse is when you’re done mixing the mixture , take a pinch of the mixture and press it between the thumb and the point finger. If it holds up the shape and stays the same and at the same time as you drop if it slide back into coarse texture the consistency is right.

I often opt for 3:1 ratio for the flour – 3 cups of wheat flour and 1 cup of rice flour. ¾ cup of grated coconut. Even frozen coconut works great!

Steamed wheat-rice cake - Wheat puttu

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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When roasted wheat flour blends with fresh grated coconut it only enhances the flavor and take it to the next level.That makes wheat puttu ridiculously rich and deliciously aromatic breakfast item. In Kerala and some other parts of southern India, wheat puttu is very popular even if it doesn't have any fancy tags on it.

Ingredients

wheat flour – 3 cups

rice flour – 1 cup

salt to taste – ¾ tsp

sugar – 1 tbsp or more if you prefer more sweet

Water 1 – 1 ¾ cup of grated coconut

Puttu candle

Directions

Combine the flours and roast well.

When it cools down, add salt and sugar.

Sprinkle half cup of water over the flour and blend well.

At first you’ll find it hard to incorporate the mixture. But don’t worry. Keep adding water – but, only little at a time and keep mixing with a fork and a butter knife. It does a fantastic job. Or you could pulverize in a food processor. And when it reaches the consistency, make sure by taking a pinch of the mixture and press it between the thumb and the point finger. If it holds up the shape and stays the same and at the same time as you drop if it slide back into coarse texture the consistency is right – sort of like coarse yet moist texture – more like bread crumbs. Keep it aside.

Boil water in the pot that comes with the puttu candle or if you have the pressure cooker version boil water in the pressure cooker. When the water reaches the 100֯c point fill the puttu candle with the mixture by adding grated coconut at the base then the mixture, adding coconut again between the mixture would enhance the taste and the aroma is amazing. Once done with filling place it on the pot or the cooker until you see the steam coming through. When the steam flows smoothly yet rigorously is the signal that the puttu is ready. Gently remove the candle and push it through with a skewer or any kind of thin clean long stem.

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Sweet plantain fritters

First and foremost, pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India, mainly southern part. The name, the aroma, the picture – everything about this is delicious!  Sweet plantain is the star ingredient for this particular snack. Plantain itself is a healthy hint. With less sugar and sodium and rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber, plantains are incredibly rich food for everyone. Ripe plantains can be eaten raw or sometimes folks would steam cook it, especially for young children.

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It is one of my staple foods since childhood. Still I drool over the sight of these bananas. The sweet aroma – as it blackens – when ripe is irresistible. When you pair it with one hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk makes it a rich and healthy breakfast.

Banana fritters

During my childhood, I used to go to my dad’s work place to eat this delicious snack at a nearby restaurant. Their version of banana fritters were different in taste and size alike. It was so delicious and worth the journey! 

Sweet plantain fritters

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India.

Ingredients

Ingredients

-Ripe plantains – 2, sliced vertically

-Oil for deep frying

For the batter

-All purpose flour – 1 cup

-Sugar – 3tbsp

-Salt to taste

-Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp [optional]

Directions

Mix together all the ingredients for the batter by adding little amount of water at a time. The consistency of the batter should not be too thick or thin. Dip the bananas into the batter,fold them well. Deep fry them in the hot oil until light brown in color. Drain it on the paper towel. Enjoy!

Rice noodles – String hoppers

The delicious string, also known as idiyappam, is one of the culinary wonders and a widely popular breakfast or dinner item of Southern India. The interesting part I like about it is that these rice noodles can pair with anything from sweet to savory. And my favorite is always sugar and butter. My hubby’s favorite is as same as mine but with an extra addition of hard boiled egg. Other combos are mild egg curry, mutton or chicken stew etc..

Still I enjoy eating Kerala’s own delicious idiyappam here in my home away from home as well. These days it’s sort of easy to prepare since all the ingredients are readily available in the market. That wasn’t the story years ago. I remember my grandma’s tough task of soaking the rice to roasting the flour. Roasted rice flour smells so wonderful… And the result was so darn amazing!

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The crucial part is mixing the rice flour with hot water and maintaining the soft and smooth consistency. Any hint of raw flavor and the grainy consistency would spoil the whole deal. It happened with me a lot of times. We tend to use more cold water due to the unbearable heat and there won’t be any visible difference in the beginning as well. But when you start the process of squeezing out from the idiyappam press, the strings will break apart and end up a pile of broken thread.  

Beef meatballs with gravy

Everyone has their own version of meatballs recipe. All of them are equally tasty and so darn appealing to the eyes. This variety dish can be served with anything you like or if you wish to eat as is, no problem. It makes the soul happy and content. I know people add different – often a lot – ingredients to boosts the taste. But I find it unnecessary. As for me, I tend to follow the simple method of shallow frying in a skillet. So, first, season the mince with pepper and salt. Shallow fry it in slow fire. Meanwhile prepare the onions in a separate skillet. The texture should be translucent to slightly brown not burned.  Add the fried onions and tomato sauce to the half cooked meatballs. Sprinkle the flavorings. When you get the aroma spreading, turn the heat off, cover it and allow it to rest.

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This is how often I prepare meatballs with gravy version. But, when it comes to adding greens, it’s  a different story. Recipe is different, too. May be I will follow the rest of the folks who add lots of ingredients to boosts the taste and boast about it 🙂 Definitely it works for a dry version.  I’ll be trying that soon.  For time being, here’s the simple beef meatballs with gravy.

The ever delicious coriander chicken

Few days ago I happened to eat an ever delicious chicken dish that my mum used to prepare back home. The whole scenario was in fact nostalgic. Every aspects of it took me back to my childhood for some reason. She was a great cook and had an amazing way of incorporating ingredients to make it extra special. Fortunately, I was the one who got to try everything first hand. The only problem was that most the dishes were no name dishes with any recipes.

As I was writing this, the whole idea behind this blog made me proud. I can put names for all those nameless dishes my mother used to make and document it here

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So this is my version of coriander chicken. The main difference is that it has more coriander than red chili powder. It’s mild and mellow, easy to pair with steamed rice, lacy pancakes and dinner rolls. Thanks to that vague memory of my mother preparing similar version. Her favorite combos for this dish were appams and steamed rice.

Healthy green rice

This rice is a whole package of nutrition and my all time favorite healthy green rice. Seemingly a simple ruse to hide most of the vegetables to keep the texture more appealing. Adding pureed vegetables would enhance the flavor and reduces the mushy texture of the rice.

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The delicious texture of the rice although I’ve added all those pureed veggies simply amazes any eyes! That’s the fact. In the end finish it with tomatoes, coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chilies to bring that authentic look!

A healthy leisure time snack!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re from England or Emirates or Canada or Caribbean, this Indian treat has an amazing power to keep your sacred tummy intact whilst it delivers some medicinal protection to your system since there is no hint of the term ‘junk’ in this leisure time snack.

Jhalmuri

In Mumbai it’s known as Bhelpuri, Jhal muri in Kolkatta and Churmuri in Bangalore. Well, whatever it is, Jhalmuri has all the ingredients to make you happy. It is one of those perfect savory snacks to enjoy any time.

Well, while watching Eat St. on Food Channel I came across a British guy preparing the same treat on street corners in London surrounded by bunch of folks to boast about it. His way of incorporating everything from dicing the veggies to sprinkling the spices were all fun to watch. Each ingredient in that recipe made me literally drool. I know how tasty it is when you bring together rice puffs, roasted peanuts, cucumber, fresh tomato, ginger and a hint of red onions. Well, finally I ended up making two times the same evening….

Jhalmuri..

Here’s the recipe to pamper you with a simple yet awesome treat.

Ingredients
2 cups puffed rice
1 ½ cup cucumber, finely chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 ½ cup roasted peanuts
¾ cup Coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp chaat masala
Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together all the chopped vegetables: cucumber, tomato, onion, ginger and coriander. Add lime juice, honey, chaat masala and salt. Mix well. Add puffed rice and roasted peanuts to the vegetable mixture. Enjoy!