Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Sri Lankan Pittu (Rice Flour and Coconut Dish)

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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!



Ingredients:

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

Directions:
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, June 17, 2022

Chicken Tikka Kebabs

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Chicken Tikka is basically chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt. Traditionally, they are cooked in a clay oven called a Tandoor.  But I simply cooked them on a griddle on my stove and it still came out delicious. 

The key to getting this dish right is the marinating process.  It's great if you can marinate for 24 hours or overnight.  If you are in a rush, four hours will be okay.  I marinated my chicken for 24 hours and each bite was full of flavor.



Ingredients:
3lbs Chicken
2 Tbs of canola oil
wood skewers

The Marinate:
2 inches of ginger peeled and grated
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 cup plain yogurt ( I used Greek Yogurt)
2 Tbs of gram masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbs of paprika
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
1 tsp of red chili powder

Directions:

Mix all the marinate together and then add the chicken.  Mix well until all the ingredients coats the chicken. Marinate the meat in a ziploc bag or a bowl that you can seal.

When you are ready to cook your Chicken Tikka, take it out of the fridge for 30-45 minutes to get the chill off the meat. I skewered mine on wooden skewers here.  Since I was cooking them on the stove top I didn't bother soaking the skewers and they were fine.  If you decide to broil yours in the oven, I would suggest you soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes before skewering up the chicken.


I used a flat griddle to cook the tikkas.  I oiled the griddle with about 1 Tbs of oil and allowed it to get heated on high heat. I placed the skewers down and lowered the heat to medium heat after about a minute. You want the chicken to cook on each side fully without burning the outside of the chicken. 


Apply oil on the other side of the skewers before you flip them over.   You will want to stand there and baby-sit the chicken skewers.  I did flip the skewers several times to make sure all the sides of the chicken got heated. Cook until the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4-6 people.  You can eat this with rice, salad or even inside pitas with some yogurt sauce. 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, May 18, 2022

Roasted Tomato Carrot Soup with Cheesy Bread Dunkers

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Ingredients for Roasted Tomato and Carrot soup:
2lbs fresh tomatoes cut into large chunks
2 large onion cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
7-10 cloves or garlic (you are roasting this so the flavor is mild)
salt and black pepper to taste
canola oil (about 2 Tbs)
6-8 cups chicken stock/broth
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
red chili powder (or cayenne powder) to taste

Directions:
 On a large baking sheet, add chopped tomatoes, carrots, garlic cloves, onion, salt, black pepper and canola oil.  Roast in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Turn oven off and allow to sit in oven for 10 more minutes.

In a large soup pot, add the roasted veggies, chicken stock, dried thyme, cumin and red chili powder.  Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt as needed. 
Use an immersion blender make the soup creamy.  This step is best done by an adult or teen.  Once soup is creamed, strain half of the soup through a mesh strainer.  I added the other half of the thickened soup to the pot for a nice consistency.  Taste for seasoning and serve hot.  Enjoy.

Ingredients for Cheesy Bread Dunkers:
1 loaf of french bread cut in to slices
butter or margarine as needed
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar or Colby cheese mix
dried parsley flakes (optional)

Directions:
 Slice bread (have an adult do this step).   Have the kids butter the bread on both sides.

Mix the cheeses and top each slice of bread with enough cheese to cover the bread and then sprinkle with a little dried parsley flakes.   Bake in preheated a 375 degree oven for 5-6 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.  Serve with soup.  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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Fruit Salad in Watermelon Bowl

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Ingredients:
Small seedless watermelon
Pineapple
grapes
cantaloupe
**Any fruit you desire

Dressing:
Juice of lemon
Zest of lemon
agave or honey (if desired)
mint (optional) Recommended Good Cook tool:                                             Citrus Zester   
                                                     Citrus Reamer
                                                      Melon Baller


Directions:
Cut a base for your watermelon bowl. Cut watermelon so you have a large bowl shape. Then use melon baller to scoop out watermelon.
Add all fruits into separate bowl and mix with dressing. Place back into watermelon.  Serve immediately or chill. 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.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Sri Lankan Miris (red chili) Kokis

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A few months back I made traditional Sri Lankan  Kokis (a dish that is made by deep-frying a batter of rice flour and coconut milk).  My mother said she had some fantastic kokis in Sri Lanka that had red chili powder in the batter to make it very spicy.  I never tried spicy kokis so we set out to make some and I was in love with them from first bite.   These kokis are bright orange in color (compared to the light golden of the traditional kokis).  The color comes all from those lovely chilies!  It makes my mouth water just to look at these and remember the spicy kick they had.



Ingredients:
2 up to 2 1/2 cups rice flour (available in Indian Stores)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 egg
1-2 Tbs red chili powder (or to taste)
salt to taste

Directions:

Mix Batter until smooth and it forms
a thick "pancake" like batter.  Heat oil (only halfway up a deep fryer) until about 350 degrees. Allow mold to sit in only for 30-45 seconds to get nice and oily.

Dip mold into batter carefully.  You don't want the batter to get onto the top of the mold or the kokis will not release from the mold in the oil.

Dip battered mold into the oil and hold for a few seconds.  Then gently jiggle the mold until the kokis releases from the mold.

Fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and repeat the process. This will make about 25-30 kokis. 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.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Tabbouleh- Middle Eastern Salad

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Happy New Year!  This healthy salad will start the new year with some good eating habits. 

My family and I love eating this salad as a side dish and since it's packed with good for you ingredients there is no problem going back for seconds.







Ingredients:
  • 3 large handfuls of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1/2 handful of mint chopped
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes diced or sliced
  • 2 cups of cucumber (seeded) diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions chopped
  • 1/2 of a large red onion diced
  • 2 jalapenos seeded  diced
  • 1 cup dry Bulgar Wheat cooked (2 cups cooked)
  • all of lemon olive oil dressing (recipe below) 
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Note:  to seed the cucumber, simply scrap down the center with a spoon until all the seeds are gone. 


The Grain:
2 cups of Bulgar Wheat prepared.  To prepare Bulgar Wheat, measure 1 cup of dry Bulgar and place in a pot with 3-4 cups of water.  Bring water to a boil and boil bulgar for 12-15 minutes until the Bulgar softens.  Drain water and then wring out all the excess liquid from the Bulgar with your hands. 


Note:  You can also use Cous-Cous, brown or white rice or Quinoa instead of the Bulgar Wheat. Prepare those grains per their package instructions.


The Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic grated
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
Boil the Bulgar Wheat and squeeze dry.  Then prepare the dressing and set aside.  Prepare parsley, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes and toss with the Bulgar Wheat.  Pour Dressing over salad and allow to chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Makes about 8-10 cups of salad.  This makes a great side dish for any grilled meat.  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.