Saturday, 16 November 2013

Puttu | Steamed rice cakes layered with coconut | Kukskitchen

Kerala is famous for its breakfasts. ദോശ , ഇഡലി , അപ്പം , പുട്ട് , ഇടിയപ്പം ....... the list goes on and on and on. Most of the breakfast foods are quite balanced in their combinations. Carbs in cereals like rice get paired with protein in pulses.
For instance, puttu gets paired with green gram or chick pea and dosa gets paired with sambhar.

Puttu is my dear Ds favourite breakfast or any food for that matter. Give him some puttu with curry or banana together with freshly fried pappadams; thats heaven for him . Be it a difficult week at work or a long set of long days or nights; there is nothing that a saturday morning puttu cannot fix.  :) He gets his puttu-love from his dad, I think. Puttu and upma are his favourite breakfasts. My son has picked up on that too. He luves puttu with mashed banana and sugar. So the puttu-love has literally spanned three generations. Will it carry on...... only time will tell.

The first step in puttu making is preparing the roasted rice flour. I have seen my mum do it by adding lightly salted water little by little until all the rice flour is slightly damp and lumpy, but still retaining a light texture. For me as a beginner, this was the hardest part. I could never get the dampness right. Either the flour is too dry that the steamed puttu falls apart once taken out of the tube / പുട്ടുകുറ്റി or the flour gets too lumpy and hard due to too much water in it.

Now, comes the embarassing part of my puttu story. After marriage, at pala house ( as my son calls it now) one morning I was helping my dear MIL with breakfast,  and puttu was on the menu. One thing you readers have to know is that this morning was preceded by several lunches and dinners where both my MIL and FIL were immensely impressed by the variety of culinary skills I demonstrated especially in the presence of important guests. On the morning in question, I was quite jittery when mummy asked me to prepare the rice flour for puttu, a supposedly easy and simple task for any malayali girl. Little did she know my incompetence in doing the task. Could I tell her the truth? Ofcourse not, my prestige was at stake. Without further ado, I started the task. The flour was prepared. It was time to fill the tubes. Those few moments that it took for the puttu to steam felt to me like a life time. A few minutes passed. The moment of truth! Mummy pushed the puttu out of the tube on to a serving plate, as you do. To my despair, the whole cylinder of layered riceflour and coconut fell apart like an avalanche. A few moments of silence...... mummy, the sweetheart that she is, said we'll try again. This tale was never told before and you readers are the first to know about it.

So, to avoid this disaster, I devised a technique to create a perfect puttu each time. The trick is ratios . I am a big fan of measurements and precision. After several episodes of trial and error here is the method that I came up with. This method is fool-proof and delivers perfect puttu each time.

If you can't get grated coconut, use dessicated coconut. Make sure you rehydrate them in some warm water and drain, before layering with rice flour.

If you can't get hold of a പുട്ടുകുറ്റി , try steaming rice flour mixed with grated coconut in a regular steamer. This works brilliant especially if you have a large crowd to feed.

About which rice flour to use, I absolutely love the brand 'Ann's' by Annamma Joseph Kottukappally the owner of the Anns chain of bakeries in Kerala.

How long should you steam a regular sized puttu ? - 3-4 minutes after you start seeing the steam come through th event is ideal. Any less and the puttu will not retain its shape. Any more and the puttu will develop a crusty outside which is horrible to eat.

Steamed rice cake layered with coconut
Serves 2


Roasted rice flour - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Water - 3/4 cup, luke warm
Salt to taste


  • Add salt to the flour and mix well
  • Now pour in the water, all at once.
  • Now start mixing with a spoon. I use a nice and sturdy table spoon for this.
  • It would look like a soggy mess to begin with. Keep mixing for about a minute or till the flour dries to a slightly lumpy consistency. 
  • Now layer this with grated coconut in a  പുട്ടുകുറ്റി starting and ending with a layer of coconut in addition to another layer in the middle. 
  • Steam for 3-5mts till the rice flour is nice and cooked through.
  • push them out of the tube and serve hot.
Serving suggestion
  • പഴം പുട്ട് - steamed rice cakes layered with chopped sweet ripe plantain and coconut.
  • ഇറച്ചി പുട്ട് - steamed rice cakes layered with spicy beef dry fry

Sherin Deepu


  1. Puttu looks so soft and fluffy.. Awesome!!

    1. Dear Jayanthi

      Thank you dear. It is comments like this that make blogging worth my while.



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 I'm Sherin, aka kukku. 

An excited mum, a  responsible doctor , a friend's friend , a thankful daughter, a thankful sister and a passionate singer,  an enthusiastic cook, food writer and food photographer . That's me in a nut shell.

A doctor in my day job and a food writer and food photographer by night. I came in to cooking because of the people around me, be it the women in family who are amazing cooks or the men who luv to eat. My son is my best critic. :) Started cooking while I was at school, my first attempt being a sweetie, no surprise there for people who know me. I got interested in cooking more after marriage, as most girls do. My experiments with food blossomed after coming to the UK, where the grocery stores opened up a variety of foodie opportunities for my hungry tum.

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