November 22, 2014

Purple Puttu

Purple is the color of the season at the QuicknHealthy kitchen :-). I have been using a lot of purple vegetables this season including sweet potatoes, cabbages, potatoes and cauliflowers. Have used the sweet potato more than others this season in a variety of ways. The recipe today is a variation of a staple breakfast from Kerala. 'Puttu' is very nostalgic to every malayali. They are steaming hot rice cakes traditionally made with roasted rice flour, slightly moist, put in a cylinder shaped mold with layers of coconut and steamed. Most non-malayalees find it hard to understand how the rice powder holds together to stay in shape, and that is a secret known only to us mallus :-). In olden days, when people used to work in the fields, it was probably a good idea to eat a high carb breakfast like this one. I think it is not really a good idea for people like us, who sit in front of a computer for a living, to do the same. So while we try to indulge in our traditional delicacies we often restrict the quantity. This is a very healthy breakfast if you can control the quantity, as it is made of whole grains, has good fat from the coconut and is steamed. We could also make it with whole grain rice varieties, instead of white rice and also with other grains/seeds (whole grain rice varieties like black rice & red rice, millets, quinoa, etc). In today's recipe I have substituted half the rice with purple sweet potato.  It needs a little prep work ahead of time, but then homemade food always come with some amount of prep and planning. 

  • Rice flour - 1 cup 
  • Purple sweet potato - 1 (medium)
  • Finely shredded dried coconut - 1 cup 
  • Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 - 1 cup 
  • Sea salt - about a tsp (as per taste) 

  • To make rice flour, refer to my recipe here. 
  • Roast the rice flour by method 1 - heat a pan on medium heat and roast by keep stirring the rice flour till you get a nice aroma- about 10 -15 minutes. 
  • Or roast the rice flour by method 2 - heat oven at a very low temperature, around 170-180 deg F, spread the rice flour on a baking sheet and leave it in for 20 -30 minutes, till you get a nice aroma. 
  • Let the roasted rice flour cool completely. This can be done ahead of time. This can also be done in big batches and stored in air tight containers. 
  • Boil the sweet potato till cooked just enough (still firm and not mushy). Let it cool completely. Peel and chop it roughly. This can be done ahead of time too.
  • When you are ready to make puttu, measure equal amounts of rice flour, chopped cooked sweet potato, dried coconut. Add along with salt into your blender or food processor and run it slowly so that the sweet potato powders along with the rice flour and coconut to make a slightly moist meal. It should be moist just enough for you to hold together with your palm, but still crumbles on applying a little pressure. 
  • Fill the puttu mold with a small layer of coconut, followed by about 2 handfuls of prepared flour mixture. Repeat till you fill the whole mold. Steam for about 3-5 minutes. 
  • If you don't have a puttu mold, but would still like to try this, you can line your steamer with a clean cheese cloth and use that as your make shift puttu steamer. Just that you will get a flat puttu disk instead of a cylindrical puttu ;-)
  • Serve hot with your favorite puttu accompaniment. It can be enjoyed in many ways. I prefer to have it with a chickpea or lentil curry with a coconut base. My husband prefers it with ghee and honey or coconut sugar, while my son prefers it with a banana (and this combo is a classic). You can also have it with pappadam or the spicy mixture too. 
  • Enjoy!!

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