21 April 2012

Puttu and Kadala / Steamed Rice Funnel Cake with Garbanzo Curry

It feels so nice to be back after a break. Everyone is busy with summer vacation and celebrating festivals. In Kerala, we celebrated Vishu (New Year as per Malayalam calender) on April 14th. It is so much fun with family and to see the sky lit with crackers. The Vishu Kani and the saddya (the feast) are the main highlights.

This post is about one of the famous Kerala breakfast which is common in every Kerala household. It is prepared minimum once a week in our house. There are so many varieties of puttu we make - Rice Puttu, Ragi Puttu, Irachi Puttu, Chemeen (Prawns Puttu) and Chiratta Puttu. There are many more varieties easily available in the market these days.

Rice Puttu

You will require:

Puttu Maker

Rice Flour - 2 cups
Scraped Coconut - 1 cup
Water - as required (approx 1 cup)
Salt - as per taste


In a bowl tip in the measured puttu powder.Add salt to 1 cup of water and wet the puttu powder. 
Sprinkle water in small quantities to the rice flour and mix till you reach breadcrumbs consistency. It should not be too dry. The right consistency is reached when you press little flour in your fist and it  forms a shape and not crumble off. 
Keep approximately 2 cups water to boil in the puttu maker. By the time the water boils fill the puttu candles. First add 1 tablespoon of scraped coconut at the bottom of the puttu candle. Make alternating layers of coconut  and rice flour till you fill it up. 
When steam starts coming out of the puttu vessel/ pani place the puttu candle on the steamer and steam it (appox 5minutes) on high flame. The steam will start coming out from the top of the puttu candle. When the steam starts coming out well, continue to cook for 2 minutes on low flame.
Switch off the flame and wait for 2 minutes before you  use a skewer and push out the steaming puttu to a plate. *(note 6)
Serve hot with Kadala Curry / Sugar & Banana/ Stu

To make puttu flour at home:

Using raw rice: Soak raw rice for 1 hour. Drain away water well using a strainer.Then powder it in a dry mixer(no water at all). Do not powder it too fine.Fry the powder in a thick bottom pan for about 10-15 minutes till the vapour starts coming up. When you lift the powder with a ladle it should fall off easily and not stick to the laddle. Make sure you keep stirring. Remove from stove and let cool. This is very important before you store it.Transfer it to an airtight container and use when required. It can be stored for about 2 weeks.
Using boiled rice: With boiled rice  the puttu turns very soft. For this you need to soak for 1/2 hour maximum or only until the rice still breaks when you bite it. It should not get soaked more. Then dry it on a muslin cloth. And follow the same procedure as above.

To make puttu without a puttu maker:

Method 1:
In the olden days this method was used to make puttu. You will need a small round vessel with small opening ( as big as a coconut shell) and a coconut shell preferably a big one. Clean the outer surface of the shell well. There are 3 eye like black spots on the shell. Make 3 holes there. Then place another small round piece of shell at the bottom inside so that the rice flour does not fall off. Tie a piece of cloth at the lower sides of the shell so that the steam does not escape.Then follow the layering process with scraped coconut and rice flour. Heat water in the vessel. When the water starts to boil place the shell with the filling and close it with a lid or another coconut shell.This is called chiratta puttu. You will not get the funnel shape but you can enjoy the tasty puttu. 

Method 2:
You will need a round vessel, 2 thin sticks (as long as the diameter of the vessel), 2 muslin cloth or thin cotton cloth,a lid. Fill 3 cups of water in the vessel.Tie one muslin cloth on the top of the vessel. Place the sticks diagonally to form a cross '+'.  Tie it together at the centre.Place the other cloth on top of this. Slowly push the cloth down to make 4 dips. Fill the puttu mix and the coconut as per the procedure above. Place the vessel on the stove on high flame. Close it with a lid. Cook and enjoy the puttu. 

Kadala Curry/ Garbanzo Curry

Kadala/ Garbanzo / Black Chickpeas - 2 cups
Onion - 3 (thinly sliced)
Chilly - 3
Tomato - 1
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Small Coconut pieces/ Thenga Kothu - 3 tbsp
Chicken Masala - 1 tsp (optional) 
Mutton Masala - 1 tsp (optional)
Coconut Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Water - as required

For masala
Scraped Coconut - from 1 1/2 coconut 
Coriander Powder- 3 tbsp
Curry Leaves - 5 sprigs
Clove - 4
Cinnamon - 2 '' piece
Fennel Seeds/ Perum jeerakam - 2 tbsp
Mace/ Jathipathri - 1

Wash, pick stones and soak chickpeas overnight or about 6 hours.
In a cooker add coconut oil. When warm add onions, chilly and saute slightly.
Add chopped tomatoes and the chickpeas.
Add water about 1inch above the level of the chickpeas.
Add 1/2 tsp salt. Close and pressure cook till soft and well cooked. (Approx 4 whistles).
In a thick bottomed kadai fry the scraped coconut along with 5 sprigs curry leaves.
Fry till golden brown in colour. Switch off the flame and add the rest of the ingredients for the masala - coriander powder, clove, cinnamon, jathipathri and fennel seeds.
Grind the masala into a fine paste in a grinder.
When the chickpeas is cooked add the ground masala.
Add the chicken and mutton masala. Check salt.
Fry the coconut pieces in oil. Add it to the chickpeas masala.
Serve hot with puttu, pathiri or appam.

Cooking tips:
  1. Mix the rice flour with water for approx 5 minutes to get the desired consistency.
  2. For making soft puttu keep aside the mixture for 30 minutes. Then before making puttu sprinkle more water to the mix if it has become too dry.
  3. The amount of coconut depends on the size of the puttu maker and how many layers you want :) The first layer has to be coconut. 
  4. Once the steam starts coming out of the puttu maker reduce the flame to low. Continue to cook the puttu for 2 minutes.
  5. You can also mix little coconut in the rice flour. 
  6. It is recommended that you wait for sometime before transfering the puttu as it may crumble. 
  7. The cooking time of the chickpeas may vary. Check after 4 whistles. If it's not cooked you will need to cook again till soft but not mushy.

Sending this recipe to Kitchen Chronicles event by Saras