Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sri Lankan Pittu (Rice Flour and Coconut Dish)

Sri Lankan Pittu
Traditional Sri Lankan food always makes me very happy, hungry and ready to eat.  Most of it involves very simple ingredients like rice and coconut.  
One dish that is made from coconut and rice flour is called Pittu.  My mother says that Pittu is her favorite dish to eat and will gladly eat it every day.... I am totally ready to do that as well. 

Pittu comes to Sri Lanka from the Kerala region of India and is known as Puttu or Putu there.  The recipes I have read about the Kerala version is made with slightly different ingredients, but this recipe is how Sri Lankans make and eat Pittu.
Pittu is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Sri Lanka. Now a days it is also eaten for lunch or dinner since people are off and rushing to work and school in the morning and cannot eat a leisurely long breakfast. 
The process of making pittu is simply mixing coconut with the rice flour to form a "crumbled texture" mixture.  Then that mixture is placed in the cylinder tube of the Pittu steamer and steamed for about 5-6 minutes and it comes out as a solid Pittu tube.  You can use either red or white rice flour to make pittu so it is a wonderful gluten-free dish.   
The pittu is then eaten with warmed coconut milk, lunu miris and any spicy meat, fish or vegetable curry.    I love that such simple ingredients can create beautiful and delicious food.  Now that's something to really celebrate!


5 cups desiccated coconut
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
1 can hot water (use the coconut milk can to measure)
2 tsp salt
8 cups rice flour

Step 1: Place the desiccated coconut in bowl and pour coconut milk and can of hot water over it.  Mix well and allow coconut to soak for 20-30 minutes. 
Step 2:  Sift together rice flour and salt.  Set aside. 

Step 3:  Set up steamer with hot water and bring pittu steamer to a boil until you see the steam coming out of the top of the steamer.   
Step 4:  In a new bowl, take up cup of sifted rice flour/salt mixture and mix with 2/3cup soaked coconut mixture.  Use fingers to create a "crumble texture".   

Note:  This texture is really important. It should be a dry crumble so sprinkle a little flour mixture to make sure you get the right texture.
Step 5: Take the steamer tube and place the piece that separates the tube part from the steamer part.   It's the little metal circle in the photo shown here that has holes.  These holes allow the steam to go up through the pittu mixture and steam it all together into a tube.   

Note: We recommend that you wash this round metal piece between each steaming because it will get pittu residue on it and that will prevent the steam from going through the holes.  I simply placed a small bowl of cold water to dip it into and clean off quickly before resetting it in the pittu steamer.   

 Step 6: Then fill the tube with the dry crumble mixture of the rice flour and coconut until you get to the top.  Place the  lid on the steamer tube and back on the base that is full of boiling water. 
Step 7: Steam pittu for 5 minutes until you see steam coming out of the top of the pittu steamer.  Then allow it to steam for about 1-2 more minutes.  That means the steam has worked it's way through all the pittu ingredients and steamed everything together.  Take the pittu tube off  the base and use a wooden dowel/pole to push the pittu out of the steamer. 

Step 8:  Repeat until all the mixture is used and you have cooked your pittu.  
Note:  My mother says that once you are steaming the pittu, work on making the crumble for the next tube of pittu.  It's best to work in batches otherwise if you mix all the flour/salt with the soaked coconut at one time the crumbles mixture becomes too tough or soggy.

This amount of pittu will serve 6-8 people or more.  Eat it with, coconut milk gravy,  lunu miris and any spicy meat, fish or vegetable curry.

Note:  To make the coconut gravy just mix 1 can (15oz) with 1 tsp of salt. Stir well and this is poured over the pittu and eaten with the other condiments and curries. 

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Asian Apricot Glazed Chicken Wings


Spicy, sweet and delicious is definitely how I would describe these Asian Apricot Glazed Chicken Wings.  
My husband is a football fan and although his team did not make it into the playoffs, he is still loving all the playoff games and eagerly awaiting the Super Bowl.  My kids and I on the other hand do not really enjoy too much football... but we do enjoy all the football treats.  These wings are definitely one that we all enjoyed!
I used two cooking methods for these wings.  First, I used my slow cooker  so all the flavors soaked into every inch of these wings and then I baked them off in the oven to give them a perfect crispy exterior.  I love wings and these sweet Asian style version is a real touchdown in my books! 

3lbs chicken wings (I separated the two parts and cut off the tip)

Overnight marinate:
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves grated fresh garlic
1 Tbs canola oil
salt (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
red chili powder (or paprika)

Asian Apricot Sauce:
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup soy sauce
2-3 Tbs Sriracha sauce
2-3 Tbs sambal oelek
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves fresh garlic grated

Toasted Sesame seeds
sliced green onion tops

Add ingredients from overnight marinate and toss chicken wings.  Place in a bowl with airtight cover or a large ziploc bag and place in fridge.

The next day place marinated wings in slow cooker with Asian Apricot Sauce.  Cook for 2 hours on high.  Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove chicken wings onto foiled lined baking pan.  Keep sauce in slow cooker on high and continue to cook for 20 more minutes. 

Tip 1: spray foil with cooking spray.
Tip 2: Place chicken wings skin side down

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Turn over to other side and take some of the sauce from slow cooker and spoon a teaspoon of sauce on each wing.  Bake for 10 more minutes or until wings are fully browned and cooked through.  Remove to a platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Serve hot with more sauce from slow cooker.   Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"Lucky" New Year's Quinoa Biryani



A new year... a new "lucky" dish to enjoy.  I am always looking for lucky foods to eat for the New Year so we can celebrate the day and hopefully bless us with some luck throughout the year. 

This year I am trying to eat less rice (quite hard for a rice and curry loving Sri Lankan girl) and trying to eat other grains. Quinoa is one of my favorite substitutes for the rice I love so much. 

I decided to remake the "Lucky Biryani" made last year and replace the rice traditionally used in biryani with quinoa.  It turned out great and I may keep using quinoa for more of my rice dishes.

What makes this biryani lucky?  I used pork (to move forward), collard greens ( for money), and black-eyed peas (fortune).  My son loved the black-eyed peas so much in the biryani he said he always wanted them added.  I also cooked a pot of lentils since they represent gold and coins.   

Here's to hoping that 2018 is a great year! Cheers!!

"Lucky" New Year's Quinoa Biryani
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer


The Biryani Curry:
3 pounds boneless pork loin cut into large cubes (all fat removed)
2 Tbs garam masala powder
1 Tbs red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder 
2 Tbs grated ginger
3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
salt and black pepper 
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
red chili flakes (to taste)
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
1 package Biryani powder
2 cans drained and rinsed black-eyed peas
1 small bunch of collard greens cleaned, trimmed and chopped
salt and black pepper to taste (if needed) 
1 1/2 cups sour cream  
2 1/2 cups water

The Quinoa:
5 cups quinoa
8 cups cold water

1 tsp salt
3 Tbs canola oil    

Making the Biryani Curry:
Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil on high heat.  Add pork, garam masala, turmeric, salt, black pepper, ginger and garlic to pan. Then cook for 5-6 minutes and fry pork and spices.  Next add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and stir well. 

 Lower heat to medium heat and place lid on pot.  Cook pork for 45 minutes and check periodically.  ** If needed add water if needed.  

Clean collard greens well and remove the rib/stem.  Chop greens and set aside.  

Chop onion and jalapeno peppers.  Once pork has cooked for 45 minutes and is tender, add the collard greens, onion and biryani powder to the pot with the pork.  Cook for 10 minutes. 

Next add the can of diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.  

Then add the rinsed/drained blacked-eyed peas and cook another 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally and taste for seasoning and flavor.

Turn stove off and allow curry to sit for 5 minutes.  Then stir in the sour cream and mix well. 

Quinoa Directions:
Step 1:   First you will need to use a pot with a tight fitting lid.  Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh strainer.  Allow quinoa to sit and drain well.  Then heat the oil in the pot and add quinoa.  Cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  You will hear a "popping sound" and smell a nutty aroma from the quinoa as it toasts.   

Step 2:  After the quinoa is toasted, add water and salt.  Stir well and place the lid on the pan.  Lower heat to medium and simmer the quinoa for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Assembly ingredients:
Part1:  Cooked quinoa
Part 2: Biryani curry

Layering Process: 
Layer 1: In a large casserole dish place some of the curry gravy on the bottom.  

Layer 2:  Place more than 1/3 of the cooked quinoa in a layer.

Layer 3: Place half of the pork and 1/3 of the gravy over the layer of quinoa.  

Layer 4:  Layer of quinoa. *Use the same amount of quinoa as the first layer.

Layer 5:  Layer the rest of the pork pieces and 1/3 of the gravy.
Layer 6:  Final 1/3 of quinoa. (this layer can be a little less than the other two layers of rice. 

Layer 7: Spoon remaining curry gravy over top layer of rice. 

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Before you serve biryani, mix all of the quinoa and chicken well and put into serving dish.   Serve with any curries you wish, salad, raita, boiled eggs etc.. 

Note:  Remember when you eat curry or biryani, the cardamom pods, cloves, seeds are meant to be removed as you eat.  They are only there to enhance the flavors of the dish and are not meant to be eaten.  Eating them does no harm, but the flavors are very strong and not pleasant on their own.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Orange Sherbet Creamsicle Champagne Cocktail

 Happy New Year 2018!!!
Wishing you all a year full of happiness, health, love and prosperity. 

Another new year brings a yummy cocktail/mocktail to enjoy. My daughter picked this one out this year since she loves Orange Sherbet.  We enjoyed it with sparkling apple cider, but the adults out there can enjoy it with some persecco or champagne of choice. 

~  Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

Orange Sherbet Creamsicle Champagne Cocktail

Champagne/Presecco or Sparkling Apple Cider
Scoop of Orange Sherbet

Place one scoop of orange sherbet into a champagne flute and slowly pour champagne or cider.  Enjoy. 

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.