April 17, 2011

Steamed Rice-Cake with Black Garbanzo Beans Curry — Puttu with Kadala



The weather was gorgeous the past few days. In the midst of rising mercury, we were back to spring with the drizzling rain. Oh yeah. Drizzling rain, balmy breeze and peals of thunder. Aha. The tinkling wind chimes and sweet fragrance of flowers from my garden evoked a sense of déjà vu—blissful memories of times past. I wish the weather would stay like this for a while. Calm, beautiful and soothing. Before summer truly envelops us.


Sorry for the momentary absence from behind the screen. I was delighting in the April drizzle and simply could not summon up enough energy to jot down recipes or drop in for a chat. Besides, I was a bit preoccupied with certain details going on in my end, leaving me exhausted most times to even pop in to say hello. 

So, among all the pictures and recipes I’d planned to share with you, today, I’m going to talk about puttu and kadala, a traditional breakfast from the lush green state of south India.



In the west, Indian cuisine has come to represent a variety of classic dishes like biryani, naan, samoosa, butter chicken, chapatti, dhal curries and poori. In truth, India being geographically so diverse, each region has its own unique cuisine in response to its history, climate, religion and local ingredients. For example, rice is cultivated mostly in the south and wheat in the north. Ergo, wheat-based breads (rotis) like the wholesome chappati, the glorious tandoori-baked naan, the soft flaky parathas and the sinfully oily and puffed golden poori are staple foods in the north. Whereas, in the south, rice and rice-based dishes are the main staples.

The regional rice staples of Kerala, little-know to the world outside, are puttu (steamed rice cakes), idiappam (string hoppers), appam (lacey rice pancakes), idli/doas (fermented rice pancakes) and pathiri (unleavened rice pancakes)—mostly featured in the menu for breakfast or dinner in almost every household. With such choice of scrumptious traditional dishes, not to mention healthy, who would want to eat a continental breakfast in Kerala? It is little wonder that breakfast in Kerala was rated as one of the best in the world by the National Geographic Traveler magazine.

The steamed rice cake or puttu as we call it in Malalayam, Kerala’s native language, isn’t really a cake in its literal sense, but an indulgent dish made out of slightly coarse rice flour and grated coconut. These two ingredients are steamed in unique perforated moulds available in (check out specialist Indian stores) two different aesthetic shapes:  coconut shell shaped chiratta-puttu, or cylindrical shaped puttu-kutti. Puttu can also be made with powdered finger millet or wheat, instead of rice. What’s more, it pairs beautifully with anything from crispy bits of Kerala pappadam (crisp legume wafers), small sweet bananas, mudira curry (horse gram curry), cherupayaru curry (green gram curry) to non-vegetarian curries like fish or beef.  

Still, puttu with kadala is the classic combination.


We all know the importance of that first meal in the morning—breakfast equals brainpower. With a wee bit of planning and prep the day before, you can easily whip up and enjoy this wholesome meal on the go. Simple, easy, tasty, not to mention, filling. A hearty breakfast to start the day.



Steamed Rice-Cake  — Puttu

Ingredients

2 cups rice flour (use any ready-made puttu powder like Nirapara, Nellara, etc.)
1 cup fresh coconut, grated
Water, approximately ¾ - 1 cup, plus more for pressure-cooking
Salt to taste, approximately ½ teaspoon
Chiratta-puttu mold



Directions

Tip flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Pour in water a bit at a time, rubbing the mixture with your fingertips as you go. Repeat, until the whole mixture is crumbly and quite moist—not to worry if there are any lumps at this stage but check for the right texture—the crumble should be moist enough to form a ball, but not sticky. The key is to add the right amount of water—too little will yield a dry and uncooked dish whereas too much will yield a lumpy mess. Cover and leave to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes, and then grind or pulse the mixture for a few seconds until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, pour 2-3 cups water into a pressure cooker, remove vent weight from the lid and place cooker on high heat.  

To make the puttu, spread 2 teaspoons of coconut to the base of the mold and loosely fill the rest with the crumbled flour. Top off with a generous sprinkle of coconut, if you like, and cover with the lid.

When steam escapes steadily from the cooker vent tube, place the puttu mold on top. Reduce heat to medium and cook until steam comes out freely and forcefully from the perforated cap of the mold. Remove from cooker and carefully turn out onto a plate. Repeat, finishing with the last of the flour. Serve hot with kadala curry. 


Black Garbanzo Beans Curry — Kadala Curry




There are numerous ways to cook the inexpensive and nutritious garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Here’s a quick recipe using black beans. Very simple. And, very tasty with puttu.

The black bean know as the desi-type has even greater quantities of antioxidants compared to the kabuli channa or white chickpeas. Don’t shied away from eating the thick seed coat because that’s where you get the extra nutrients. See my white channa recipe for more benefits of including chickpeas in your diet.

This is a spicy preparation; feel free to adjust the quantity of chili to suit your taste.

Black Garbanzo Beans Curry — Kadala Curry

Ingredients

1 ½ cups black garbanzo beans (chickpeas), soaked in water overnight
2 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder, or to taste
Handful curry leaves
2 tablespoon oil (use coconut oil for authentic taste)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
¾ cup coconut milk (first extraction, I used tin milk)
1 cup water, plus more for pressure cooking
Salt, to taste


Directions

Like most legumes, check for any small stones or debris before rinsing the beans in a strainer under running water. Presoaking is recommended to shorten the cooking time—soak in 6 cups of water, enough to hold the expanded beans, for a minimum of 5 hours, or preferably overnight. Drain the beans and rinse again in cold water before cooking.

Pressure cook beans in 4 cups of water, adding salt to taste. Cook for about 12-14 minutes or until done, on medium heat, at full pressure. Bear in mind that the cooking time will vary depending on the age of the legumes and type of pressure cooker used. Watch cooking time closely —the beans will turn mushy if cooked too long.

Meanwhile, heat 1½ tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until seeds crackle, about 30 seconds, and then add chili flakes and cook for 5 seconds. Stir in onions and curry leaves, and gently fry for 4 minutes or until onions are tender. Tip in chili powder and sauté for 30 seconds. Now, stir in the cooked beans with the stock, if any, and pour in water and coconut milk. Taste and season as needed. Simmer everything together for 4 minutes or until cooked to your desired consistency. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top. Take off heat and serve hot with puttu.



Outside, it’s beginning to rain again. Ha!


51 comments:

  1. I cannot take offmy eyes from ur pictures.cool puttu and kadalai.very ultimate breakfast.

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  2. Looks so yumm, I love this breakfast.

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  3. Wow....never seen a puttu kadals as pretty as these! I love that white spoon:)

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  4. hmmmm mine fav breakfast...........relly tempting pics....

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  5. i have tht exact puttu cheratta :)
    and the kadala curry is a keeper..i am gonna book mark that :)

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  6. Puttu and kadala curry is always a yummy and unique combination. Lovely clicks!!!

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  7. An excellent dish...superb combo & lovely clicks :)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  8. Looks delicious..It's tempting my taste buds...nice recipe and great pics!

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  9. wow grt puttu with kadala is my fav breakfast. lovely clicks

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  10. Slurp, mouthwatering here. Awesome clicks dear..

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  11. You definitely transformed the puttum kadala curry into a glamourous affair!!! awesome clicks! And an all-time favourite!

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  12. wow looks so perfect and very delicious !! excellent clicks !!

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  13. this looks uberly tempting and delicious :)

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  14. My favorite breakfast,looks absolutely delicious.

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  15. awesome clicks!!!!!!!!!!drooling here:-)

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  16. puttu+kadala+nashi=voila!

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  17. Wow!! The pics are amazing!!

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  18. Your shots are professionally done and this combo shows how tasty they are....

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  19. Ohhh the puttu and the curry looks scrupmtious!!I can have this at anytime of the day:) Thanks for sharing this :)

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  20. delicious combination we enjoy rice flour pittu as well love the steamer you have used cute
    curry looks fabulous

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  21. Wat an authentic dish, looks simply delicious and inviting...stunning clicks..

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  22. Uffff lovely clicks. My Husband likes this with pappadams and myself with small bananas. Lovely Nash.Mindblowing and amazing snaps dear. I loved the kadala curry snap with a red chilli coming out of it..:)
    Congrats Nash, for the third time you have won the best contributor award. You rock gal. Keep going.

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  23. Gorgeous!You made our simple puttu & kadala curry very sexy with your beautiful clicks!!!

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  24. i love this combination... love the dish yummooo

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  25. Incredibly delicious looking puttu and kadala... Kothivarunnunde!!

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  26. Cant get any better than this...Perfectly presented..:-) Incredible!!

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  27. My all time fav kerala breakfast, i make sure my sunday breakfasts are always this combo..Beautifully photographed!

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  28. oh.............yummy.......yummy............eventhough i also made this today not as brekky but as dinner i still want to wipe out your whole plate.....................

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  29. This really looks wonderful. I'll wager it is delicious as well. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  30. Adipoli clicks..kothi sahikkan patunilla!!! awesome!!!

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  31. ur clicks are soo tempting!...it makes me want to have it now!....too tempting....droolworthy clicks
    Smitha
    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

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  32. wow.. puttu kadala never looked this pretty.. amazing presentation..
    ammaandbaby.blogspot.com/

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  33. Yes like Rachu said Puttu and kadala never looked this pretty.I am hungry for some Puttu right now.

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  34. I too have this chiratta puttu maker :) Puttu-kadala is my all-time favorite..Great pictures and presentation! Esp loved your tempting kadala curry..

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  35. The name of the dish rings 'classic'- what can be better for a delicious n healthy breakfast loved by all :) Stunning stunning pics !!

    US Masala

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  36. Hello everyone! Thanks so much for making my day more sunny and bright with your lovely comments!♥

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  37. Wow, wish you lived somewhere close my place...what a beautiful clicks, very pleasing to my eyes. And yes, you are right...very healthy breakfast, indeed. Enjoy the weather:)

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  38. Wow so delicious. Beautiful presention and clicks..

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  39. WOW , lovely dish and very beautiful pictures.

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  40. That is absolutely stunning. Very tempting.

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  41. Love the way it is presented....you have taken our puttu and kadala to a whole new level...

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  42. Thank you lovelies for your comments!

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  43. Now how did I miss this favourite post of mine...I go crazy for Puttu and kadala curry and whenever we make a trip to Kerela I never forget to wat this...Slurrrppp

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  44. Now how did I miss this favourite post of mine...I go crazy for Puttu and kadala curry and whenever we make a trip to Kerala I never forget to have this...Slurrrppp :))

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  45. O yeah, it's everyone's favorite. Thanks for the lovely note, Sharmilee!

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  46. Hi there, thanks for visiting me and for the lovely thought...OMG!! puttu looks soooo perfect with kadala...and wonderful clicks...awesome!!!

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  47. Great work Nashira....I love it when the mould itself is chiratta!

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi