Friday, March 13, 2009


Puttu is the most amazing breakfast food EVER. You know how you just can't seem to use those last few over-ripe bananas? With Puttu, problem solved. What about figuring out whats for dinner? tangentially, Puttu can help. Or when you want a speedy and healthy breakfast- puttu leftovers-- oh yes they re-heat well! Annd it's been my latest obsession (confession, I have been purposefully buying ripe bananas just so they will become over-ripe and I can make puttu!!!)

Enough of this suspense you say? What is this mysterious food? Fine fine. Puttu is simply steamed rice flour, with optional flaked coconut. Anti-climactic? Perhaps.. but it is really good!
Start by dry frying rice flour, being careful not to burn it. Dont add oil or any other liquids. Store this as "puttu flour" for as long as you would store flour.. basically shelf stable. I dry fry the entire bag at once, and then store it to use whenever. Now, in a bowl, take about 1 cup of puttu flour and mix in water slowly, until the mixture resembles soft crumbs. (I tried to take a picture of this.. but I am not sure how much you can see in the photo above).
Get your pressure cooker going.. and put something inside! I like to put a bean or lentil item for that night's dinner in the body of the pressure cooker.. kills two birds with one stone. Make sure you have a jet of steam coming out of the top, as seen in the pic above.
Load up your puttu maker with the rice flour mixture. Add flaked coconut in layers between sections of rice flour. For a small puttu maker like mine, I put about 3 layers of dried sweetened coconut flakes, but it is really only about 1 Tbsp of coconut.
Put your puttu maker on the pressure cooker stem, lining up the bottom so that the steam travels up the column through the puttu.

Two to three minutes later (for a small puttu maker) remove the puttu maker from the steam and poke the back with a skewer to push the steamed flour out. It usually breaks at the coconut seam.. mmmm.

Now here is the best part-- you get to mash a ripe banana into the flour with your hands! Normal Indian etiquette generally requires that the palm of the hand stay clean, and that the fingers are used for eating. Puttu is an exception.. mash it with your entire hand!! its like play-dough... oh so fun! And thats it! Enjoy the mashed banana creation! You can add sugar if desired.. but it is pretty good with just banana :)
The only you might have guessed.. is the special equipment required.. namely the pressure cooker and puttu maker. I am still pondering this problem.. When I come up with an answer, I will be sure to share it! But for now.. youre just going to have to come over for breakfast!
BTW if you already know you looooove puttu, I am going to India soon and will take requests for equipment (tiffon carriers.. puttu makers, etc).

Homemade Bean Dip!

This is my mom's speciality-- bean dip made from dried pinto beans. She cooks them in a pressure cooker, then simmers with tomato sauce, garlic, and salt until cooked through (mashing the beans if necessary after the pressure cooker step).

This week, I am participating in Kim O'Donnel's eating down the fridge challenge ( so no grocery shopping for the week.. and I didn't have tomato sauce! What to do?! I had already cooked the pinto beans in the morning (because I am addicted to puttu, which requires a pressure cooker... I'll post about puttu soon), planning to use them for dinner.

Oh well-- the Eating Down the Fridge challenge is all about being creative-- right? Right! I used 3 Tbsp of bottled spaghetti sauce for my 1.5 Cups of cooked pinto beans... add a little garlic powder, chili powder, and a dash of cumin (I wanted to make sure the spaghetti sauce taste was gone) and it was delicious! Couldnt even tell the difference!

I topped the bean dip with cheddar chunks, sliced green onion, tomato, and bell pepper, and some finely diced celery. MmmMMmMMM! I ate it rolled in a corn tortilla that I microwaved for about 15 seconds.. along with some sour cream. Delicious!

The taste is so much better than refried beans from a can-- the fresh cooked pinto bean has a very distinct and wonderful flavor! try it out, and let me know what you think.

Shrimp-A-Palooza Pictures

This cooking event occured almost a year ago-- but I am just getting around to putting up pics now. Enjoy!!
Grilled shrimp, cajun style and lemon pepper grilled
Shrimp Biscuits, and in the background panko breaded shrimp and coconut shrimp
Super spicey south Indian style shrimp curry. This curry ended up in Amanda's eye. Ouch.
Shrimp and Cheese Bread
Shrimp Scampi, and in the background shrimp quesadillas
the coconut application for the coconut shrimp (this part was fun.. thanks Suee for volunteering)
Close up coconut shrimp

Shrimp Alfredo.. I cheated and used store bought alfredo sauce (yea next year its going to be a potluck...)
Shrimp with cocktail sauce
And shrimp stir fry!
Is anyone else reminded of Bubba from the movie Forest Gump? What can I say, I love me my shrimpies.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fried Chicken Rollups!

Rachel Ray Everyday magazine has these wonderful weekday menu planner segments (you can find them online here). I am on day 2 of the menu from February's magazine.. Yesterdays steaks were so wonderful, but all I took a picture of was a massacred piece of meat.. which looked wholly unappetizing upon review.

Today: Fried Chicken Rollups.. a homemade taquito stuffed with store bought rotisserie chicken, garlic, onions, and red pepper (my addition to the recipe).

In this recipe, corn tortillas are pan fried in oil. My only complaint is that this recipe is not really that healthy.. but hey, two of them filled me up for a nice dinner, so I guess it wasn't that bad. My only suggestions is: don't skip the step of warming the tortillas before stuffing them with the chicken mixture..this makes the tortillas pliable and without enough heating they fall apart when you roll it up. Try it out! delicious.