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Puttu is a traditional South Indian and Sri Lankan breakfast dish made from rice flour and grated coconut. It is known for its unique cylindrical shape, resembling a steamed rice cake. It is a wholesome and nutritious dish that is popular across South India, especially in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, as well as in Sri Lanka. It is often served with various accompaniments like chickpea curry, banana, or grated coconut, making it a versatile and satisfying breakfast option. The preparation involves layering rice flour and coconut in a special cylindrical container and steaming it to perfection.
To make it at home, you’ll need a special utensil called a “puttu maker” or “puttu kutti.” Here’s a basic recipe for making traditional rice Puttu:
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)
- Water, as needed (for sprinkling)
- Salt, to taste
- Prepare the Rice Flour:
- You can use store-bought rice flour or make it at home. To make rice flour at home, wash and soak raw rice (preferably parboiled rice) for 2-3 hours. Drain the water and spread the rice on a cloth or tray to dry for about 20-30 minutes. Once dry, grind the rice into a fine powder using a blender or mill.
- Mix Rice Flour with Salt:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the rice flour and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
- Prepare the Puttu Maker:
- Assemble the puttu maker. It typically consists of two parts: the main cylindrical container with holes and a detachable bottom container for steaming.
- Layer it
- Start by placing a layer of grated coconut (about 1-2 tablespoons) at the bottom of the cylindrical container.
- Alternate Layers:
- Add a layer of the prepared rice flour mixture on top of the coconut. Repeat this process, alternating between rice flour and grated coconut, until the container is filled, ending with a layer of rice flour on top.
- Steam it:
- In a steamer or a large pot with a steaming attachment, add water and bring it to a boil. Place the cylindrical container with the rice flour and coconut in the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 8-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the steam escapes from the top and the puttu becomes firm.
- Serve Hot:
- Carefully remove the cylindrical container from the steamer and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Then, gently push it out from the bottom of the container onto a plate.
- Serve it hot with accompaniments such as chickpea curry, banana, or grated coconut. It’s traditionally enjoyed with kadala curry or sugar and banana.
It is a versatile dish, and you can explore variations by using different flours like wheat, ragi, or even stuffed versions with sweet or savory fillings. Enjoy this South Indian delicacy for a wholesome breakfast or snack.
Can I make sweet Puttu?
Yes, you can make sweet Puttu by adding sugar or jaggery to the rice flour mixture. Here’s how to prepare sweet Puttu:
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar or jaggery (adjust to taste)
- Water, as needed
- In a mixing bowl, combine the rice flour and sugar or jaggery.
- Gradually add water and mix to form a crumbly mixture. The consistency should be similar to the regular Puttu mixture. It should hold its shape when pressed but crumble when squeezed.
- Layer the sweet rice flour mixture with grated coconut in a Puttu maker or steamer in the same way you would for regular Puttu.
- Steam for 8-10 minutes or until the sweet Puttu is fully cooked and firm.
- Allow it to cool for a minute or two, then gently fluff it with a fork.
- Sweet Puttu can be served with accompaniments such as ripe bananas, extra sugar or jaggery, and additional grated coconut.
The addition of sugar or jaggery gives it a delightful sweetness that makes it a perfect choice for those who prefer a dessert-like version of this traditional South Indian dish.
The nutritional value of it can vary depending on the type of flour used and the ingredients added. Here is a general overview of the nutritional components of traditional rice Puttu (serving size of approximately 100 grams):
- Calories: Approximately 150-160 calories
- Carbohydrates: Around 35-40 grams
- Protein: Approximately 3-4 grams
- Fat: Minimal, usually less than 1 gram
- Dietary Fiber: 2-3 grams
- Vitamins and Minerals: It provides small amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and traces of iron.
Keep in mind that the actual nutritional content may vary based on factors like the type of rice used, the amount of coconut, and any additional ingredients or accompaniments. It is a wholesome dish primarily made from rice and coconut, which are good sources of energy and dietary fiber. It is often served with various side dishes that can further enhance its nutritional profile. For example, serving it with chickpea curry adds protein, while pairing it with banana or grated coconut provides natural sweetness and additional dietary fiber.
Puttu, a traditional South Indian and Sri Lankan dish, offers several potential health benefits:
- Rich in Carbohydrates: It is primarily consisting of rice flour, which is a good source of complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates provide a sustained release of energy, making it a suitable breakfast option to keep you energized throughout the day.
- Dietary Fiber: The addition of grated coconut to it contributes to its dietary fiber content. Dietary fiber supports digestive health, helps prevent constipation, and may aid in weight management by promoting a feeling of fullness.
- Low in Fat: Traditional Puttu is typically low in fat, which can be beneficial for those looking to maintain a low-fat diet.
- Gluten-Free (with Rice Flour): If prepared with rice flour, it is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
- Versatile Accompaniments: It can be paired with a variety of side dishes, both savory and sweet. Chickpea curry, lentil stews, and vegetable curries provide protein and essential nutrients. Meanwhile, pairing it with banana or grated coconut offers natural sweetness and additional nutrients.
- Balanced Meal: When combined with complementary side dishes, it can provide a well-rounded meal that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Cultural Significance: Beyond its nutritional value, it holds cultural and traditional importance, fostering a sense of heritage and connection to the culinary traditions of South India and Sri Lanka.
It’s worth noting that the overall health benefits of it can vary depending on factors like the choice of accompaniments and the specific ingredients used. For those seeking a nutritious and satisfying South Indian breakfast, it can be a wholesome and enjoyable option.
Tips and Tricks.
Making perfect Puttu requires some tips and tricks to ensure the right texture and flavor. Here are some handy tips:
- Choose the Right Rice Flour: Use good-quality rice flour for the best results. You can use store-bought rice flour, but freshly ground rice flour, especially from parboiled rice, often yields superior results.
- Steam It Right: Ensure that you steam it well. Use a well-fitted lid on the steamer to trap the steam effectively. Steam it for around 8-10 minutes or until it’s firm and cooked through.
- Consistency of Batter: The consistency of the rice flour batter is crucial. It should be neither too dry nor too wet. It should resemble a crumbly texture when you squeeze it in your fist but should hold its shape when pressed. Add water gradually to achieve this.
- Alternate Layers: While layering it, alternate between rice flour and grated coconut. The coconut adds flavor and prevents the rice flour from clumping together.
- Lightly Pack the Layers: When adding the layers to the cylindrical container, lightly pack each layer but avoid pressing it too firmly. This allows for even steaming.
- Properly Grated Coconut: Use fresh and finely grated coconut for the best flavor. Avoid using dry, desiccated coconut.
- Rest Before Serving: Let the steamed it sit for a minute or two after removing it from the steamer. This helps it set and makes it easier to unmold.
- Serve Hot: It is best enjoyed when it’s hot and fresh. Serve it with your choice of side dish while it’s still warm.
- Experiment with Accompaniments: While traditional accompaniments like chickpea curry and banana are popular, feel free to experiment with your favorite side dishes to suit your taste.
- Customize: Don’t hesitate to try different versions of it, such as using wheat flour, ragi (finger millet) flour, or adding other ingredients like spinach or grated vegetables to the batter for variety.
By following these tips and tricks, you can create delicious and perfectly textured Puttu for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
Puttu is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of accompaniments, both savory and sweet. Here are some traditional serving suggestions:
- Kadala Curry: It and kadala curry is a classic combination. Kadala curry is a flavorful black chickpea curry made with spices and coconut. The nutty flavors of the curry complement the mildness of it.
- Green Gram Curry (Cherupayar Curry): Another excellent choice is green gram curry, often prepared with coconut and spices. It provides a healthy and tasty accompaniment.
- Vegetable Stew: It can be served with a mild and aromatic vegetable stew. The stew is made with a variety of vegetables, coconut milk, and subtle spices.
- Sambhar: If you prefer a South Indian touch, serve it with sambhar, a tangy and spicy lentil-based curry with vegetables.
- Coconut Milk: For a simple yet delicious option, drizzle some fresh coconut milk over it. The combination of coconut milk and grated coconut in it is delightful.
- Banana: Sliced ripe banana is a popular accompaniment for sweet it. The natural sweetness of the banana complements the mild rice flour.
- Sugar and Ghee: You can sprinkle sugar and drizzle a little ghee (clarified butter) over it for a sweet and comforting treat.
- Grated Coconut and Jaggery: Another sweet option is to serve it with freshly grated coconut and jaggery. It’s a simple and traditional way to enjoy sweet it.
- Condensed Milk: For an indulgent twist, drizzle some condensed milk over it. The creaminess of condensed milk pairs well with the rice cake.
Remember that the choice of accompaniments depends on your personal preferences. It is incredibly versatile, and you can experiment with different combinations to create a meal that suits your taste. Whether you prefer it savory or sweet, it can be a delightful and wholesome dish for breakfast or any time of the day.
Can I make Puttu with other types of flour?
Yes, you can make it with a variety of flours other than rice flour. It is a versatile dish, and different types of flour can be used to create unique variations with distinct flavors and textures. Here are some alternative flours you can use to make it:
Wheat Flour Puttu: Wheat flour is a popular choice for making it. It has a slightly nutty flavor and creates a softer texture compared to rice flour. It’s often referred to as “Godhambu Puttu” in South India.
Ragi (Finger Millet) Flour Puttu: Ragi flour is a nutritious and gluten-free option. It has a unique earthy flavor and offers additional health benefits.
Cornmeal Puttu: Cornmeal, made from ground corn, can be used to make a variation of Puttu. It has a sweet and slightly coarse texture.
Rice and Coconut Puttu: For a traditional twist, you can use a combination of rice and grated coconut to make Puttu. This variation is called “Arisi Puttu” and is prepared by soaking and grinding rice with coconut.
Other Millet Flours: You can experiment with various millet flours such as pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet, or little millet to create unique and nutritious Puttu variations.
When using alternative flours, the key is to maintain the right consistency of the flour and water mixture to achieve the desired texture. Each type of flour will offer a different flavor and texture, allowing you to enjoy a variety of Puttu styles. Accompany these variations with suitable side dishes for a complete and satisfying meal.
How long does it take to steam Puttu?
The steaming time for it typically ranges from 8 to 10 minutes. It’s essential to ensure that the Puttu is steamed long enough to become firm and fully cooked. The exact time may vary slightly depending on factors such as the size of it, the type of steamer you’re using, and the thickness of the cylindrical container. Here are some guidelines:
Standard Puttu Maker: In a traditional Puttu maker, which consists of a cylindrical container with holes, it usually takes about 8-10 minutes of steaming. You’ll know it’s done when steam escapes from the top holes and the Puttu becomes firm to the touch.
Alternative Steaming Methods: If you’re using a different type of steamer, such as a pressure cooker with a steaming attachment or an idli steamer, the steaming time can vary. It’s a good practice to check it after 8 minutes and continue steaming if needed until it reaches the desired consistency.
Thicker Puttu: If you’re making thicker or longer it, it might require a slightly longer steaming time to ensure it cooks evenly and becomes firm.
Remember that over-steaming can make it dry, so it’s essential to monitor the process. Once it’s done, remove the Puttu from the steamer and allow it to cool for a minute or two before serving. Steaming time may also vary with the type of flour used, so consider this when preparing variations like wheat flour or ragi (finger millet) Puttu.
Can I customize Puttu with additional ingredients?
Yes, you can customize Puttu by adding additional ingredients to the basic rice flour and coconut mixture. Here are some ideas:
Vegetables: Add finely chopped or grated vegetables like carrots, peas, or beans to the rice flour for a savory and colorful twist.
Spices: Enhance the flavor by incorporating spices like cumin seeds, black pepper, or curry leaves into the rice flour mixture.
Sweet Variations: For sweet Puttu, mix sugar or jaggery with the rice flour. You can also add cardamom powder or pieces of dried fruits like raisins for extra sweetness.
Nutrition Boost: To boost the nutritional value, consider adding ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, or sesame seeds to the mixture.
Customizing Puttu allows you to create a wide range of flavors and textures, making it a versatile dish for both sweet and savory preferences. Whether you’re experimenting with new ingredients or sticking to traditional accompaniments, Puttu can be adapted to suit your taste.
What’s the best way to store leftover Puttu?
To store leftover Puttu, follow these steps to maintain its freshness and prevent it from drying out:
Cool It Down: Allow the leftover Puttu to cool down to room temperature before storing it. Leaving it uncovered for a few minutes can help reduce steam and moisture.
Pack in an Airtight Container: Transfer the Puttu to an airtight container. This container should be moisture-proof to maintain the Puttu’s texture and flavor.
Refrigerate: Place the airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigeration helps preserve the Puttu for an extended period.
Consume Promptly: For the best taste and texture, consume the leftover Puttu within 1-2 days. Over time, Puttu can lose some of its moisture and become drier.
Reheat Gently: When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover Puttu, reheat it gently. You can either steam it again in a Puttu maker or use a microwave. Adding a touch of water while reheating can help restore some moisture.
Serve with Fresh Accompaniments: To enhance the flavor and texture, serve the reheated Puttu with fresh accompaniments or a drizzle of coconut milk.
Remember that while refrigeration is suitable for short-term storage, Puttu is best enjoyed when freshly made. The longer it sits, the drier it can become, so consume it promptly for the best experience.