Puttu is a very common and popular breakfast dish from the Kerala cuisine. It is specially made in a puttu maker. It is made with rice flour and coconut. Puttu maker is a steamer which is cylindrical in shape and is available at any super market. Puttu is an excellent breakfast dish made in many ways to suit the taste of your palates.
It is a popular dish in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as in some parts of Sri Lanka. It consists of firm cylinders of steamed ground rice with layers of coconut and is served with banana, sugar or chickpea curry. The origin of word Puttu is believed to be from Sanskrit word Pishtu and is a traditional dish of Ezhava people of Kerala. It is also called as Kandyappam by Nambudiri people and similar castes. Puttu primarily consists of coarsely ground rice, grated coconut and water. It is often spiced with cumin but may have other spices too.
Puttu is made by slowly adding water to ground rice until the correct texture is achieved. It is then spiced, formed and steamed with layers of grated coconut. Puttu is usually cooked in a metal puttu kutti vessel with two sections. The lower section holds water while the upper section holds the puttu - where the rice mixture is inserted with layers of grated coconut. Perforated lids separate the sections to allow the steam to pass between them. In older times people in Kerala used bamboo pieces instead of the metal upper section of the vessel.
Puttu can be prepared with any variety of flour which includes rice flour, wheat flour, ragi or corn. Generally puttu with rice flour is the most common and popular breakfast dish. One needs patience and getting the dough right for preparing the puttu. The puttu dough doesn’t have the consistency of a dough instead is a damp coarse mixture or moistened flour which requires only little amount of moisture for the required dampness. Hence for preparing the mixture, water should be sprinkled slowly with immediate mixing.
For checking the right consistency, take a portion of moistened flour and press between your fingers. On releasing, the amount of moisture should be just enough to hold the portion together. Too much of moisture would spoil the puttu.
To prepare this simple yet delicious dish, firstly dry roast the rice flour in a kadai until it gives out a nice aroma and becomes slightly brown in color. Transfer this into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder and mix well. Sprinkle water into this mixture little by little and mix well.
It should reach a consistency such that it becomes a dumpling when pressed with hands but disintegrates into a powder when crushed. Now this mixture has to be steamed. For steaming take a plate with holes and line it with a tissue paper. Put the rice flour mixture onto the plate and put it into the idli cooker or any other vessel such that it sits above the level of boiling water. Now steam the rice flour for 15 to 20 minutes till it feels really soft to touch. Now put the steamed mixture into the bowl and allow it to cool.
Mix it softly with hands to crush the small balls that may have formed. Cut cashew into small pieces and fry them in little ghee or oil until golden brown. Take jaggery in a kadai and add very little water, just enough to immerse the jaggery. Bring it to boil stirring continuously till it becomes slightly thick.
Add the steamed rice flour into the jaggery syrup and mix well until all the jaggery is mixed well with the flour and the powder becomes very smooth without any lumps. Stir in the cashews and mix well. Serve it hot or cold. It tastes good either ways. Do try this wonderful and different dish from the god’s own country with full of flavors. Click on the link for detailed recipe at:
An alternative steaming vessel is the chiratta puttu made of a coconut shell or of metal shaped similarly to a coconut shell in which the puttu can be prepared. Some people use a pan similar to an idli pan, but with small holes on the bottom to allow steam to pass. It is also known for pressure cookers to be used for steaming.
Sunga pitha is also almost a similar dish to the puttu with different style of cooking. This is popular is the northeast states of India. In this dish the Rice flour of Xaali saul and Bora saul is mixed with water and jaggery and churned thoroughly.
Then the paste is put in an immature bamboo tube corked with banana leaf and roasted over a fire. The bamboo tube is removed to leave a solid cylinder of pitha. This is cut into pieces and served with hot milk. Kerala cuisine offers many delicious vegetarian breakfast dishes that are often relatively unknown outside the state.
These include Puttu (made of rice powder and grated coconut, steamed in a metal or bamboo holder) and kadala (a curry made of black garbanzo beans chana), idli (fluffy rice pancakes), sambar, dosa and chutney, idiyappam (string hoppers also known as noolputtu and nool appam), pal appam a circular, fluffy, crisp edged pancake made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of toddy or wine, etc.