Do you want to travel with me to discover a truly flavorsome path? It is said that one needs to share the goodness of life and I intend to do just that by taking you to a practically gourmet destination known for its quintessential and exquisite cuisine. I think by now, everyone has heard of Kerala, a land of stunning scenery, artistic culture and a culinary haven for the foodie.
Interestingly enough, the cuisine of Kerala has been influenced by the Dutch, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, English, Jewish and Arab traders. With indigenous dishes being amalgamated with foreign tastes, Kerala boasts of a rich repertoire of culinary concoctions which have mesmerized the palate and have taken its cuisine to delicious heights.
Discover Mesmerizing, Magical and Mouth-Watering Dishes of Kerala
The fragrance of spices, the aroma of Thalasseri Biriyani, the smoky and delectable Nenthrakka chips, the sweet prathamans, pungent pickles, the hot karimeen pollichathu and countless culinary delights showcase the art of cuisine in Kerala. With vegetarian and non-vegetarian concoctions to tickle the taste buds, one of the most talked-of culinary experiences is the 24-course Sadya which is served during the Onam celebrations. Needless to say, every dish stands out with the flavor of coconut and coconut oil.
Known for coconut trees populating every nook and corner of its green and verdant state, Kerala has infused the taste of coconuts into every dish possible. In fact, it’s difficult to find a dish without coconut in Kerala! Talking of coconuts and the incredible flavor it adds to any dish is another subject altogether. I daresay that no guest would come away feeling empty and hungry in this land of plenty. But, I digress…I just want to tell you about an exotic and divine dish which I had the privilege of tasting, relishing and enjoying. Puttu, like Kerala is God’s own dish which is made with white rice powder and of course, coconut. As an unusual accompaniment, Puttu is served with chickpea gravy. This spicy and aromatic gravy has a coconut base which is seasoned with red chilies, mustard seeds and curry leaves in coconut oil. There are other Puttu variants with yet another tasty breakfast dish made from Matta rice or red rice which is equally magical.
Experience the Heavenly Melt-in-the Mouth Puttu
Let me tell you what I enjoyed the most besides being surrounded in a cloud of fragrances, aromas and steaming dishes of this serendipitous and tranquil backwater land. It’s Puttu, of course! Basically a breakfast dish, Puttu is a rice cake with grated coconut which is steamed in a cylindrical bamboo holder or steel steamer. Normally served with gravy comprising of kala chana or black chickpeas with coconut milk, spices and shallots, this dish can also be enjoyed with ripe bananas and an accompaniment of papadams. With jackfruit being plentiful as well, Puttu may be served with this sweet fruit instead of bananas. I traveled to the zenith of taste as I relished this melt-in-the-mouth dish with sweet black coffee which brought out the gourmet in my soul.
Being an ardent chef at heart and an ambitious gourmet, I could not resist the urge to try this famous and popular breakfast dish. So I got this ancestral and authentic recipe from a good friend of mine to bring back the memory and the experience of relishing Puttu.
This is how Puttu is made:
Rice flour 2 cups
White Raw Rice Pachari ½ kg.
Water ½ to ¾ cup
Grated coconut ¾ to 1 cup
Salt to taste
Soak the raw rice for 2 hours. Drain the water and let it dry for a while. Grind it into a coarse powder. Keep aside.
You can also substitute the raw rice with rice flour.
Place the coarsely ground rice in a pan and heat for 5 minutes. Be careful that you do not roast the rice. Take it off the fire and let it cool.
Next, take a big bowl or vessel and place the coarse heated rice flour in it. Sprinkle water lightly on the flour. The water should be carefully and slowly mixed so that the flour does not get pasty or lumpy.
Add salt to taste and knead the damp flour mixture gently till it reaches the consistency of bread crumbs.
Take a Puttu Kutti or a Puttu making vessel (This is available in the market). This is very akin to an Idli steamer. It has two sections. The lower section holds the hot water and the upper section comprises of the puttu mould. There are perforated plates which separate each section.
Fill the bottom of the puttu maker with water. Heat till the water simmers and is hot. Now take the perforated disc which comes along with the puttu maker.
Place the disc inside the puttu maker. See that it fits in perfectly and is not crooked or shaky.
Fill the bottom of the puttu maker with grated coconut.
Slowly add about 6 tablespoons of the coarsely ground rice flour.
Keep repeating the process alternating between the grated coconut and the coarsely ground rice flour.
Top the filling with grated coconut.
Place a lid over the puttu mould and position it on the perforated plate.
Once the steam starts to escape from the vessel, turn the flame to low and keep for another 5-6 minutes or so.
Your Puttu is now ready.
Serve hot with kadala curry/gravy, egg gravy or green gram curry and papadams.