Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Puttu-Kadala is to kerala what Iddli-Saambaar is to Tamil nadu. There's an entire blog dedicated to puttu by malayalam bloggers, showcasing its versatility and popularity. A fellow Malayalam blogger joked that if a Malayali could learn some marketing skills from a Chinese, we would be seeing puttu carry outs in every corner of the USA.

Making Puttu can look complicated for the uninitiated. It needs a cylindrical mold called puttu kudam, which has a large hole at one end for the steam to enter, and a tight lid with tiny holes at the other. A disc with holes is placed at the bottom end of the puttu kudam, so that the filling does not fall off through the large hole. Damp rice powder and grated coconut are filled in the mold and the puttukudam is kept on the steam nozzle of the pressure cooker and steamed. Sounds complicated, I know! To me the aroma of steamed puttu is abundant recompense for all this trouble.

The trick in making real soft puttus is in the moisture content of rice flour. Adding too much water can give you a hard lump, too little water and you get dry puttu tasting of raw rice flour. I use a little less than half a cup of water for two cups of flour. This measurement cannot hold good every time, and you will need to keep adding water little by little until the whole batch is damp enough. To know you have the correct dampness, take a little of the flour between your index finger and thumb, press gently and let it fall gently. If it holds its form as it falls down the flour is damp enough.


Rice flour : 2 cups
Grated coconut : 1 cup
Water : about half cup

Mix the rice flour and salt well in a large bowl. Spray water little by little, and keep mixing it in gently with your fingers. The entire batch of flour has to be damp enough. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes.(To be on the safe side, you can give a quick blending to the flour in the small jar of the blender. Add a little of the damp flour to the small jar of the blender and blend it for 4 to 5 seconds. Repeat until all the flour is this mixed)

I normally use store bought dessicated coconut to make my life easier, though it cannot be compared to fresh coconut. If you are using dessicated coconut, sprinkle some water on it so that it gets slightly damp. Fresh coconut doesn't need this water treatment.

Fill about half your pressure cooker with water , cover and bring to a boil. Do not put the weight.

To fill the puttu mold, place the disc at the end of the mold. Add one teaspoon of coconut first, followed by 3 to 4 tea spoons of rice flour, then again a tea spoon of coconut. Keep layering thus until the mold is almost filled. Close the lid.

After steam has build up inside the cooker, place the puttu mold on the nozzle of the cooker, and steam for 3 to 4 minutes.

Take the mold in a hand and using a skewer push the cooked dish out of the mold through the bottom end. I must confess that I am yet to perfect this skill of getting the puttu out of the mold in perfect shape, mine tumble out haphazardly.

If you do not have and cannot find a puttu kudam, and still want to try this dish, cheer up. There’s a better way! Puttu can also be made in an empty coconut shell, and this version called chiratta puttu has a unique aroma. All you need is a half of an empty coconut shell with a small hole drilled to its end. Add a little grated coconut to the bottom of the shell, and fill half the shell with damp rice powder. Now place the shell on the nozzle of the pressure cooker, cover with the other half of the shell and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Use a spoon to gently remove the puttu from the shell.

Blistering barnacles! Writing down this recipe was much harder than making puttu!


Black chickpeas: 1 cup
Onion, sliced: a quarter
Tomatoes, cubed : 1
Grated coconut : 4 T
Green chilli : 1
Chilli powder: 1 t
Corriander powder: 2 t
Turmeric powder: ½ t
Mustard seeds : ¼ t
Curry leaf : 4-5
Bay leaf : 1
Cumin : 1 t
Oil : 1 T

Soak the chickpeas overnight, or atleast for 5 hours. Pressure cook until well done.

Grind the coconut and cumin to a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds , let splutter. Add the onions, green chilli ad curry leaf. Saute for a minute. Add the spice powders and let fry for a minutes. Next, the tomatoes and salt. Let cook until the tomatoes are mashed up, adding a little hot water if necessary. Now add the cooked chana, along with 3 to 4 table spoons of the hot water it was cooked in. Simmer for 3 to four minutes, and add the coconut-cumin paste and bring the curry to a quick boil. Enjoy with your puttu .


Dawn....सेहर said...

Hey thats a cool site...with receipes...I hope to read more here....btw I also got the same puttu kuty :)

first time here...

Puspha said...

Very nice blog. Remember my mom making the same kind of puttu when I was young.

sailu said...

Very nice write up on puttu making and good pictures.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing out detailed instructions on making puttu.

I will try making it again, last few times have been a disaster with me adding more water or too little water. I like the pulsing in blender suggestion.

BDSN said...

I have to agree with sailu and say that you have done a good job writing down the recipe and taking neat pictures..

Reshma said...

Dawn, welcome:)

Pushpa, so you too grew up on puttu eh ?:)Thanks.

Sailu,Bdsn, you are kind, thank you.

Anonymous, most welcome. Yeah, that trick can take a lot of time, but gets your puttu really soooooft:)

Kay said...

I love puttu kadala. Can I come over for breakfast? :)

Ashwini said...

I had a Keralite friend in Bombay and ate lovely meals at her home - meen, chemeen, appams and what not. Never had puttu. First heard about it on Priya's blog. Maybe bcoz I didnt go to her house for breakfast (damn)!!!

Gini said...

when I was a kid I always used to complain about puttu for breakfast although my sis loved it. Now that I cant have it as frequently I have started to love it

Puspha said...

Reshma: I love puttu. We, in Malaysia, normally have them for breakfast with palm sugar & coconut.
When I came to europe, I was amazed to c how the Sri Lankans eat them with curry. Well, puttu is sort of a stample for the Sri Lankans, other than idiappam.

Reshma said...

Kay,if you would come we can have puttu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ehh, not three meals , you say?;)

Ashwini, you can join me and Kay, nah?

Gini,I have a cousin who claims eating puttu 'suffocates' him:)

Pushpa, that's some interesting news! I didn't know puttu is eaten in Malaysia. Perhaps, it's known only to the Indian population there, huh? Puttu has many partners in Kerala;coconut milk and banana, with fish curries, moong dal curry...puttu-kadala would be the most popular I think, though my fav is puttu-fish curry. (*drools)

Annita said...

Reshma,feel like eating puttu after seeing your photos..will definitely try it for weekend.

Luv2cook said...


WOW. I had heard of puttu kadalai before but NEVER ate it and definitely did NOT know it is made this way. This is another example of how diverse Indian food is from place to place.

One question - can we steam this puttu in idli plates?

Menu Today said...

thanks for sharing the making of puttu.... I tasted this in my school days

Reshma said...

annita: am glad. happy cooking!

luv2cook: Steamed in an iddli plate, the puttu will not hold its shape, but will certainly taste as good as the one cooked in a mold. My Tamilian friend says in Tamil nadu its common to make puttu by simply mixing together rice flour and coconut and steaming it in regular steel plates.Yeah, India becomes 'Indias'in its culinary diversity.

menu today: pleasure's mine. so what's today's meny?

Devagi Sanmugam said...

Hi there,
This is great. Although I make puttu all the time, you did a great job of describing it and the steps. I am a Singaporean. Here some of us eat puttu in an innotive way sometimes..........

1 cup of grated jaggery
1 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
7 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup thick coconut cream mixed with 1 1/2 tsps rice flour


1 Boil the jaggery syrup. Add in the salt and the bananas and bring to boil for 1 minute.
Add in the coconut milk mixed with the rice flour and keep stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.
Turn off heat.
Pour over puttu and serve.
The above makes 6 servings.
Note: you can also add slices of jackfruit.
Please visit my blog:

Reshma said...

now that's something new to me!Thanks for sharing:)

പെരിങ്ങോടന്‍ said...

ഓഹോ! ഒരു പുട്ടടി ബ്ലോഗ് തുടങ്ങിയിട്ടുണ്ടല്ലേ, വെറുതെയല്ല രേഷ്മയെ മൈലാഞ്ചിയിലൊന്നും കാണാത്തത്. എന്തായാലും നന്നായി, അവനവന്റെ സ്വര്‍ഗ്ഗങ്ങളില്‍ അഭിരമിക്കുന്നതാണുത്തമം!

സ്വാര്‍ത്ഥന്‍ said...

അമ്പടി കള്ളീ‍ീ‍ീ‍ീ‍ീ‍ീ‍ീ
ഇവിടെ പുട്ടും ചുട്ട് ഇരിപ്പാണല്ലേ????
നടക്കട്ടെ നടക്കട്ടെ...

Anonymous said...

this puttu seems to me like an extreme taste. kadala curry seems good.

Nandanam said...

Your pictures make my mouth like a fountain..Do you know puttu can b made with Bamboo& Cherata,
We call it Cheratta puttu....
With luv

Anonymous said...

hello,i just discovered your blog.i have been looking out for malyalam cusine,as i am trying my best to excel in it.
i have been brought up outside kerala and there has been more northern food at my home, even though we r keralites,but now married to pucca kerala food eating person, i have been setting my sight on it .
My problem with puuttu,is i am not sure how long should i let be on the stove,sometimes, i get the puutu, half done...
so,its almost a matter of luck for me, when i get the time right..
can you pls give me some suggestions?
i would really appreciate it.
a fellow keralite.


reshma,u r doing cruel things in these days.my mouth is filled with water.u ra terror to all malayalees


reshma ,as a real puttu fan,in my experience,it is difficult to get real kadala curry in these days.i know a place.no i dont tell u.it is it is it is your house .


reshma,tommorrow i am going to try ur recipe.it may be the third failure after insat and agni

blueshift said...

I needed this recipe badly.
Your blog is worth bookmarking.
Thanks for putting very great recipes.
I too like cooking.

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