Steamed Rice Cake/ How to Make Puttu
We had a few guests over this weekend and we've finally decided on what to do for our Kerala Easter Trip! Yep, you guessed it! The guests were my friends who I'm taking around Kerala (specifically, Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala). Can. Not. Wait.
What's Kerala? Where's Kerala? And what's there to even do in Kerala?! Not to worry, I'll be uploading some of the places we'll be visiting soon and answering all your questions! Stay tuned...!
Now, what's been cooking in our kitchen this week?!
We shared with you our easy peasy One Pot Chana Masala Curry/ Kadala Curry so this weekend we decided to pair it with PUTTU! Kadala is to puttu what peanut butter is to jelly - it's a match made in gastro heaven! Having said that, a nice, ripe banana wouldn't be missed with the kadala and puttu combo. It's a serious breakfast for champs and it's surprisingly simple to make!
How to Make Puttu
Puttu is another healthy breakfast option that's also steamed (à la soft and fluffy idlis) and a Kerala special. All it takes is three ingredients, a cylindrical vessel, steam, and BAM breakfast is served!
Our three main ingredients for puttu/ steamed rice cake:
Toasted Rice Flour
The magic is in the Toasted Rice flour and the amount of warm water used. So, let's work our way down this list of ingredients.
Toasted Rice Flour
There are two main ways to make toasted rice flour.
Buy non-glutinous rice flour at your local grocery store (we buy Kangaroo brand rice flour)
Pour it out into a wok. Then, on medium flame, toast it for approx 2 - 3 minutes, or until a toasted smell develops, whisking continuously. (Don't toast it for any longer, as it will change colour - we're aiming for white-as-snow puttu).
Why toast the rice flour? We're not huge fans of the raw taste of rice. So, toasting the rice flour not only removes that raw flavour but it helps it develop a more nutty flavour and makes the puttu a lot softer. Triple WIN!
Homemade Rice Flour
Use long grain rice
Wash rice 2-3 times and soak in water for 30 minutes. In a colander, drain the rice grains completely (approx 10 minutes). Then spread out the rice grains on a cotton/ absorbent cloth.
In a grinder, pulse a few times to begin then grind for 1-2 minutes till powdery. Grind in batches if need be.
Sieve the ground rice flour through a fine sieve. Collect and grind once more the thicker rice flour that doesn't pass through the sieve. Continue until the sieve no longer collects thicker rice flour granules.
Heat a large wok and lightly toast the rice flour on low-medium flame for 7-8 minutes, stir continuously.
Transfer the toasted flour onto a layer of paper towels and spread into a thin layer using a spatula. Once cooled down, transfer into airtight containers/ ziplock bags.
The rice flour can stay for over a month and even longer if stored in the freezer.
Technically, for the purposes of cooking puttu, we needn't use a fine sieve - coarser rice flour would give the puttu more texture - however, if you plan to use this rice flour for other purposes (e.g. for cooking idiappam), using a fine sieve would be better. Two birds, one stone :D
If you do make puttu podi (rice flour for puttu), toast the rice flour for 3-4 minutes. However, because the water content is a little higher, the rice flour doesn't keep for as long (which means making more yummy breakfast, sooner!! :D)
Ayurveda Dosha Suitability
Vata, Pitta and Kapha (if grated coconut isn't added)
Add all the dry ingredients together, mix well. Slowly add the water a little at a time, mixing well to remove any lumps. Aim for a bread crumb texture though, when packed, will stick together.
Line Puttu Kutti (special steel vessel for making puttu that allows steam to pass through to cook the rice flour) with coconut oil. Add the filter provided and pour in the rice flour mixture into the puttu kutti till the brim. Optional: can add 1 tbsp of grated coconut before and after adding the rice flour mixture.
Add 1 cup water to a pressure cooker (PC)and bring to a boil. Secure the puttu kutti to the top of the PC (where the weight would otherwise be placed). Steam for 6 minutes.
Remove the puttu kutti lid and push out the puttu using a solid steel rod on to a plate. Serve with kadala curry and banana :)