RED RICE PUTTU
Puttu is a steamed breakfast staple, originating from the kitchens of Kerala. It’s made by layering and steaming grated coconut and damp rice powder in a cylindrical puttu mould that is mounted atop a pressure cooker or a steamer and cooking until done. It’s typically served with a spicy kadala (black chana) curry. In this version, red rice or Kerala Matta rice is used in place of white rice.
The first step in making puttu is to make the puttu powder. Traditionally, the puttu podi’s made by grinding raw rice that’s been washed, drained and shade dried. At the time of making the dish, warm water and salt is added to the puttu podi and brought to a wet sand like consistency.
An empty coconut shell or a metal puttu mould would then be filled by layering grated coconut and the prepared puttu powder and steamed atop a pressure cooker or a puttu steamer until the ground rice is cooked.
It’s typically served with Kadala Curry (Black Chana gravy) or Banana & sugar. Papadam and Kanni Manga pickle, are also popular condiments served along with Puttu.
Today, several varieties of ready-to-make Puttu podis (powders) are available that makes it a cinch to pull this dish together. One needs to just add water to the powder, mix and load the puttu mould to produce steaming puttus in a matter of minutes.
The Puttu that you see in the picture today, is made very differently from the methods that I’ve mentioned above. It’s sort of in-between the traditional and ready-to-make versions, in that, there’s no drying involved. Rice is washed and soaked overnight. The soaked rice is drained and directly ground into a coarse powder to be used to make the puttus. This method beats both versions hands down with respect to taste and health quotient. Once you’ve tried this version, there’s really no going back.
Enjoy this dish with this delicious KADALA CURRY
THIS RECIPE SERVES 4
- Kerala Matta Rice/Red Rice – 2 cups
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
- Wash and soak 2 cups of Kerala Matta Rice in adequate water overnight. The water should be one inch over the rice level.
- Drain the water and let sit for no more than 10 minutes. It’s ok if the water is not fully drained. A little moisture is needed to hold the rice powder together.
- Divide the rice into 4 parts. Grind each part of rice into a coarse powder (rava/semolina/sand like consistency) When you take a little powder and clump it in your hand, it should hold it’s shape and not fall apart. If it falls loose, add a litte water (1 tbsp at a time) and grind again. (Note 1)
- Add salt. Mix well.
- Time for layering the nould with puttu podi and coconut. Add a thin layer of coconut into the puttu mould. Fill it with the prepared puttu podi until the half-way mark. Add another thin layer of grated coconut. Top it with prepared powder until almost full. Finish it off with another thin layer of coconut.
- Place the puttu mould on a pressure cooker/puttu steamer filled wth 2 inches of water and steam for 4 -5 mins from the time, the steam released is in full throttle. About 8 mins in all.
- Turn off stove. Rest for 2 mins. Unmould. Serve hot with Kadala Curry.
- Dividing the rice into 4 parts is entirely optional. You may also grind all the rice at once. I find better results when I do them in batches.