Thursday, 8 November 2012

Quinoa pittu

Quinoa Pittu or  Healthy pittu for lazy people or Gluten free pittu

Pittu(பிட்டு  or புட்டு ) is a staple food among Sri Lankans, especially among Tamils. It is also eaten by the people from Kerala, South India. But I don't think it is as popular. Usually it is  made from rice+wheat flour mixture. But it can also be made from other types of flour such as atta or kurakkan (குரக்கன் ) flour.

I don't usually make pittu at home because my kids won't eat it.  It is not worth the trouble to make pittu when both kids don't like pittu. Besides, it is easy to buy pittu when R or I feel like eating pittu.

When we visited London last summer, my cousin made couscous pittu for us. I thought it was a great idea because couscous pittu was easier to make, tasted the same as the traditional pittu and looked prettier( all tiny pittu beads will be the same size when you make pittu from couscous )

Since we have been eating quinoa a lot, I thought I'll try making quinoa pittu the same way as couscous pittu.  (Thanks to my cousin Ramani for the inspiration)

So I made quinoa pittu couple of night ago. It was very easy to make and tasted great.  I am sure it is also more nutritious than traditional pittu. Also it is gluten free. I have been trying to eat less wheat since hearing about the book wheat belly ( I never read the book, so I shouldn't comment )  I only used half the of the packet of quinoa for pittu since I was trying it out and didn't want to waste it in case the pittu was not edible, not that I have made inedible food ever before :-) I used the other half to make quinoa with mixed vegetables for kids.

1 packet of quinoa - I used PC brand 225 g  package.
Roasted rice flour - This is where I am going to get into trouble because I forgot to measure how much I used it. But I'll guestimate and say 1/2 to 1 cup for 1 packet of  quinoa.
Salt to taste
Coconut flakes - Shhh! Don't tell anyone I used desiccated coconut flakes. You can use fresh coconut flakes if you have them.

If you live in GTA, you can buy roasted rice flour in any Sri Lankan grocery store. If you live in a place where there are no Sri Lankan grocery stores, you can order them online. Or if you are like my brother you can stock up when you visit GTA.   Don't ask me how to make your own roasted rice flour. It is way too complicated for my cooking skills!


  •  Cook quinoa according to package directions. 
  • After you turn off the heat, let it stand only for couple of min. Then open the lid and fluff the quinoa with  a spoon. Add salt. Quickly add the roasted rice flour, little at a time, while mixing the mixture with a spoon. You want to add just enough flour to coat the quinoa. If you add too much you will have loose rice flour in the mixture. If the quinoa has cooled down and the rice flour is not sticking to quinoa, then you can add a few drops of hot water.
  • If you are using desiccated  coconut add couple of tea spoons of hot water to the desiccated  coconut . 
  • If you have a pittu steamer ( பிட்டு குழல் ) then you already know what to do next.  Pack the Pittu steamer with 1/2 tablespoon of coconut flakes then 1/2 cup Pittu mix, repeat until the steamer is full. Steam for 5 to 7 minutes, until the steam comes out the top of the steamer. Push the Pittu out of the steamer onto a platter using the back of a wooden spoon 
Pittu steamer

  • If you don't have a pittu steamer, and you probably won't have it if you don't have Sri Lankan relatives, mix the pittu mixture and coconut flakes together.                       
  • Steam the pittu  in a steamer approximately 7-9 mins until the pittu is cooked. If the holes of the steamer are too large, line the steamer with layers of cheese cloth.   
  • Voila! You have made pittu. 
  •  You can eat pittu with any type of curry or coconut sambal. 


    Dee said...

    Hi what is quinoa and is it available in Sri Lanka, do you know what it's called locally

    Kavitha Nadarajah said...

    Here is more info about Quinoa

    I first heard about quinoa 3-4 years ago, but left SL 20+ years ago. So I have no idea if it is available in SL. I would try the super markets there.

    trudy Wijesekera said...

    what is it called in sinhala

    Kavitha Nadarajah said...

    Hi Trudy,
    Quinoa is from South America. I don't think there is a name for it in Sinhala or Tamil. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. I like to use it because of its nutritional value.

    Abhaya Premawardena said...

    Very nice . I ate sone quinoa while in Sanb Fran and thought it tasted and looked like kurakkan . not sure it is related . :)