January 29, 2007

Puttu/ Steamed Rice Cakes

Egg Curry

Puttu is rice soaked and powdered coarsely and then layered with coconut into a bamboo or any other kind of tube and steamed to form long tubes of a soft crumbly texture.The coconut layers impart flavor as well as help in breaking up the tubes into serving sizes. So what is the fascination with puttu that we have? Is it the fresh flavor of steamed rice and coconut in a hollow bamboo or is it its versatility that it can be eaten as a staple instead of rice with any combination of curries?

While growing up, I disliked it immensely (yes, even though I am a Keralite!) and its only marrying a puttu fanatic that I started appreciating it.
It is a staple at my grandmothers and aunts' houses for breakfast. The kids eat it with milk and sugar, with plantains boiled with coconut(my favorite), fried plantains, or with the any of the plethora of tropical tiny bananas such as the Mysore Pazham, Poovan Pazham, Njavali Poovan etc. I remember one of my cousins eating it with milk tea! Then there is also meat puttu (Erachi puttu) and Fish Puttu (Meen Puttu) which is not as common but has meat or fish layered inbetween the rice powder instead of coconut.

The spicier accomapaniments to puttu are fish or Mutton curry, Beef fry, Kadala curry, Cherupayar curry, Vegetable Stew or Egg curry. As kids, we used to call the puttu-kadala breakfast as reinforced concrete with its coarse-soft texture as it would sit solidly in the stomach till late noon.

In Calicut, I couldn't understand how anybody could eat fish curry and puttu for breakfast! But it is in fact a way to use up the previous day's fish curry and start cooking anew with the day's fresh caught fish. The taste of fresh puttu squished into the claypot(chatti)with the remnants of the previous day's fish curry and the flavor of the claypot has us all fighting for it over dinner though. My mother mixes the previous day's Yellow Fish curry (with coconut)and the Red Fish Masala (Moliyar without coconut) to make a unique tasting curry. Some crushed papadams and it is perfect.

There are lots of Puttu recipes already in the blogging world and I thought I should my own recipe also to it. I am not going into the details of the vessel and flour as that has already been covered here and here.

A few pointers that might help..
1. The rice flour should be wet enough to hold together when you try making a fist with it and dry enough to break apart at a simple knock with the thumb. It shouldn't be clumpy or too powdery. Keep breaking it with the hand as you mix. The amount of water varies with the kind of rice flour used. So keep adding in small quantities.
2. The rice flour from the grocery stores use up more water and after leaving it wet for 15 minutes, you may need to sprinkle a bit more water.
3. Grated raw Tapioca or Cassava (1/4 cup or so per cup of rice flour) added to the rice powder while mixing makes the puttu moister as the tapioca cooks inside the puttu.
4. The puttu is cooked when the steam comes out at the top steadily.
5. While reheating the puttu use a steamer to make it soft again.

This is a ragi puttu that is made alongside the white rice puttu.

Ragi or Finger Millet is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6, and folacin and offers calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It is only grain that retains its alkaline nature when cooked, millet is ideal for those who are allergic to wheat and gluten. Depending on the variety, millet's protein content is very close to that of wheat, with a half-cup serving, cooked, providing 4.2 grams. One-half cup raw millet contains 11 grams of protein. Millet's use is diverse, including in cereals (including porridge), soups, breads and stuffings, fermented beverages, and baby food.

Ragi is full of fiber and vitamins and hence healthier for you. The taste is rougher and more chewy but if you get used to it,it is a healthier version of the traditional one. It is made in the same way as the regular puttu using preroasted ragi flour.


babli said...

Ooooh! Puttu reminds me of my family back home. definitely is a breakfast winner! Although I don't mind having it during lunch or dinner :) Shaheen, is that whole wheat puttu or Ragi? and yeah, I love those colorful plates.
(I had left you a msg at Shaheenso. check it out!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaheen,

I am an ardent fan of your blogs. I am from kerala and puttu is my all time favorites.. noting like the smell of puttu cooking.. yummy..Thanks for sharing. I wanted to try ragi puttu, I guess I have to get ri powder and then roast it. My mom said that they make puttus out of whole wheat and of curse with a combination of rava and avil. Thanks!!


Seema said...

Waw one of the typical yet favourite breakfast items for us !!
That egg curry is so inviting !
Didnt know about this ragi puttu...looks yummmy and to add on its nutritious too!

Helene said...

Hi Shaheen,
I used to serve finger millet like couscous. I will have a try to serve it like this.
Thanks for the recipe.

Coffee said...

My MY!!!! that looks cool!!!! What a way to steam!!! Not even in my dream had I thought abotu somehting liek this!!!!!! Steaming in bamboo!!!! WOW!!! Awesome!!! I am going over to the other blogs to see their version now :)

Krithika said...

Ragi puttu ? that's a great idea. looks really nice

Asha said...

I have heard of Puttu but never made it.Probably like bland idlis to be eaten with spicy gravies,sounds great!:))I love Ragi.

RP said...

I haven't tried with ragi flour yet. Looks good.
Oh! You made me drool with all those details of puttu, day old fish curry in clay pot, pappadam.............
Please add a paragraph on how you make meat puttu & fish puttu. Is it ground meat that you use for it?

padmaja said...

I heard of puttu. My husband told me, back in his school days he use to eat often at his friend's place. His mom use to make veg side dish for these boys. Lovely dish and nice pictures.

Maheswari said...

Puttu...wow..my all time fav.But here, my H hates it.So i make rarely.I like to eat it with Poovan Pazham,pappadam and payaru.Fish puttu and meat puttu is new to me.Thanks for sharing shaheen...

Mishmash ! said...

".......The taste of fresh puttu squished into the claypot(chatti)with the remnants of the previous day's fish curry and the flavor of the claypot ......"
Why are u doing this to me ?? ente vaayil oru kappalodikkanulla vellam undu !!!!!!!!!!!!! U give that combo for b/f, lunch and dinner, I will be the happiest person!!


indosungod said...

WOW Shaheen mouth watering!

Sandeepa said...

I was wondering what Puttu is (I saw in someone elses post). Thanks for enlightening me :)

sra said...

Lovely pix, can almost mistake the ragi for chocolate!

Linda said...

Hi Shaheen -- I really enjoyed reading your post -- it may be awhile before I attempt this dish but your description and photos make it awfully tempting! :)

Anonymous said...

puttu now is a dinner item.

other than the combos u suggested i like the sweet chakkaputtu,pazhamputtu(ie jackfruit/banana cut and added along with coconut with/without jaggery powder)

Anonymous said...

Where is your card for BPW?????

Sumitha said...

I too dislike puttu and so is my husband,so i didnt bring a puttu kutti along with me here.Sometimes i really crave for a plate of steaming hot puttu,something I earlier disiked so very much:(My mum makes ragi puttu too,my most favourite of all puttus is the godhumbu puttu.Lovely presentation as ever Shaheen!Shaheen do you have the recipe for Shorba?

Annita said...

Ragi puttu is new to me too..have to try it real soon..thanks to u..

mandira said...

Shaheen, it looks delicious. Love the pictures. Was trying to leave a comment yesterday but wasn't able to!

Sri said...

Puttu looks perfect...i love goddam puttu of all the puttus. I tried to comment earlier but was unable to it. It was showing some error...Actually i wanted you to know that i tried your Plantain pinwheel...YUMMYYY!!!! god ! and i don't even like eating banana or plantains...I will be making them again. Thanks Shaheen for the recipe.

Sri said...

I just now posted your plantain pinwheels on my blog.

Jyothsna said...

Wow, Shaheen, never knew we could make ragi puttu! It's so nutritious!

Mallugirl said...

Babli, Hope u got my message too.

Nisha, Thanks!I know puttu is made out almost any powder nowadays. Yeah, u probably have to roast ragi powder before making it.

Seema, its more of a dinner item for me now!

Helene, This is a good way to finger millet.do try. U can steam it in any steamer except it won't have the shape.

Coffee, It is unique to south india but you might be able to get it in indian restaurants in sinagapore.

Krithika, Ragi puttu is pretty common back in kerala.

Asha, u got it right. it is like idlis.. u need something spicy or sweet with it.

Rp, i will add the meat puttu to it. Thanks..

Padmaja.. where did ur husband study? yeah u can have puttu with veg stew also.

Maheshwari.. papadam and payar.. sounds good. its funny how each of us have our own favorites.

Mishmash,Kappalil keri evide vannolu.. :)

Indo, Sandeepa,Sra, linda,Thanks and hope u make it.

Ki ,i forgot abt the banana puttu. i am going to add that. i haven't chakkara one .. that sounds good. puttu is dinner for us too.

Sumitha, cravings are when we are far away from home! which kind od shorba. i know a chicken shorba.

Mallugirl said...

Annita, what! i thot u already knew that! Do try with ur yummy chicken curry.
Mandira, thanks.
Sri., I saw ur post. and i don't know. blogger is acting funny.

Jyotsana, Ragi puttu is good but needs getting used to.

mae said...

Oh, my! I'm dreaming of this puttu! Hey, in Philippines, we have something called 'puto' which is made out of ground rice. It's steamed and oh so lovely as a snack.

Your description and photos are making me so so so hungry! I could do with a nice mutton curry right now with some puttu! :)


Anonymous said...

Ur blog is so pretty and yummy!!all those mouth-watering pictures...Can you post the recipe for the egg curry which was shown along with the puttu recipe...

Inji Pennu said...

haha..I too hated puttu before marriage. God is indeed funny!

Sig said...

Puttu and fish curry - awesome combo, and I thought my family was wierd! None of my friends have ever heard of that combination! :-). Great blog BTW, I'm a new visitor. Love the pics and the recipes..

Anonymous said...

though the taste of ragi puttu is excellent, when we make it, it turns out too dry... has anyone any ideas for making it softer ?

mallugirl said...

anon, try adding a cup of ground cooked rice to the ragi powder to make it softer. Also i make the puttu with ragi and rice flour mixed together.

Anonymous said...

Anyone out there know the recipe for URAPPAM?

dreamer said...

for those who do not like ragi puttu: you can add a handful of rati powder when you mix the rice puttu or the the wheat puttu, no body will notice the difference while everybody can get the goodness of ragi.

dreamer said...

use warm water to make the puttu softer

crispus said...

dear friend, am an ardent fan and follower of ur blog ever since i got married and cooking became a daily serious affair..one that i love tho!
Your blog has taught me a lot lot and a comment is loong overdue from my side..appreciate your wonderful recipes, the care and patience in explaining puttu, fish curry etc..i started getting nice puttu once i learnt the tips u have given here alongwith my MIL's help.
I love all ur droolworthy pics and recipes..today Im trying out ur naadan fish curry and hafta use coconut powder instead of grinding coconut..as my blender doesnt do a good job.
Thank you for posting such lovely recipes!Have a blessed day!

srividhya Ravikumar said...

wow.. first time here when googled for puttu... nice blog u r having.. following you