Puttu or steamed rice cake is an authentic breakfast item of Kerala(extreme south west of India) cuisine. This is made by steaming moistened rice flour in a puttu kutti(puttu maker), a mould used for making puttu. Puttu kutti has two parts. The upper portion is a cylindrical shaped vessel-the puttu mould, in which the moistened rice flour along with grated coconut is placed. This part has a perforated lid at the bottom which allows the steam to pass through and a tight lid with small holes at the top to allow the steam to escape.The lower portion forms the steamer in which water is boiled. The upper part with rice flour is placed on top of the steamer and steam is allowed to pass through the dough for prescribed amount of time.
How is Puttu prepared?
Puttu can be made with any type of flour-rice flour, wheat flour, ragi or corn. Puttu made with rice flour is the most common one and widely popular. You should be very careful while making the dough for puttu and can be a real challenge for beginners. The puttu dough doesn't have the consistency of a dough, instead it is a damp coarse mixture/moistened flour which requires only a certain amount of moisture for the required dampness. Hence for making the mixture, water should be sprinkled slowly with immediate mixing. For checking for 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.
What is Chiratta Puttu?
The puttu that I have posted here is called chiratta(coconut shell) puttu as in traditional preparations the puttu used to be steamed in a chiratta/coconut shell. The puttu maker shown in the picture is called chiratta puttumaker because the upper portion(the mould) resembles a chiratta(coconut shell). Puttu may also be steamed by placing the mould(the upper part of the puttu maker) on top of a pressure cooker. Some people may also use idli moulds for steaming puttu but the mould should have a perforated bottom to allow the steam to pass through. I'm frankly not very familiar with steaming puttu in idli moulds but if there is anyone out there who has tried using this method I would love to hear from you!
Do not have a puttu maker? Dont worry!
You may still make puttu without a puttu maker. But you need empty coconut shells for this purpose. Fill the moistened rice flour along with grated coconut on one half of the coconut shell having a hole at the bottom for steam to pass through. Cover with the other half of the coconut shell having tiny hole at the top to allow the steam to escape and place this on top of the nozzle of a pressure cooker. Voila! You have made chiratta puttu in the traditional way!
Puttu is commonly served with ghee(clarified butter) on top, ripe bananas and crispy papads. It forms a perfect combo with Kadala curry, Egg Roast, Mutton stew, Chicken curry, Potato Stew, Lamb Curry etc. There are many variations for making puttu. Instead of making layers with grated coconut and moistened flour, puttu may even be layered with cooked meat, chicken or fish and then steamed. Now lets enjoy this simple, basic, delicious puttu!
1.5 cups whole wheat flour(You may use store bought puttu flour/rice flour/ragi flour)
Salt to taste
Water for mixing
Grated coconut- 1/3 cup approx
- If you are using store bought puttu flour(podi) you may skip the step of roasting the flour. In a pan at low heat roast the flour for about 8-10 minutes with continuous stirring. Do not allow the colour of flour to change.
- Add enough salt to water.
- Sprinkle water on roasted flour and mix well.
- Continue sprinkling water to flour till it becomes moist enough. To check for the right consistency, take a portion of moistened flour and press between your fingers. On releasing the pressure the mixture should have just enough moisture to hold it together without crumbling. At this stage, no more water is needed and the puttu dough is ready.
- In case after mixing the dough, if some parts of the mixture sticks together/form tiny balls (as it happens often on using wheat flour), grind the dough in a mixer once to get the coarse texture of the dough.
- Place the perforated lid at the bottom of the puttu mould and place a portion of grated coconut on top of this. Fill the rest of the mould with puttu dough and again top with a layer of grated coconut.
- Place the lid tightly on top of the mould.
- Meanwhile heat some water in the puttu steamer at high heat and bring to a boil.
- When steam starts coming out from the nozzle of the puttu steamer, place the puttu mould on top of the steamer and continue the steaming process at high heat.
- When steam starts coming out from the top of the puttu mould, reduce heat to medium-high and steam for additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the mould from the steamer and unmould the puttu.
- Serve hot!
This goes to EFM June-Breakfast Series event hosted by SriLekha.
Ideal matches for Puttu:
Other Breakfast Dishes: