I love puttu soooo much. Puttu and kathrikkai and muttai porial (fried eggplant and egg) is my favourite meal ever.

Puttu is eaten at breakast, lunch and dinner.  It’s eaten with curries in the same way we would eat rice. But there are a few side dishes that we would have with puttu, which we wouldn’t have with rice: puttu and mango/jack fruit/sugar/banana. YUM!!


Before learning to cook puttu from my ammah, I had a flick through ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils‘ and found many variations. Nesa aunty has 8 different recipes. I only knew of 2.

Nesa aunty has kindly given me permission to use her wonderful cookbook  for My Tamil Kitchen and I am very thankful to her for it.


I have copied the next bit about the puttu steamer from ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils‘ (pg 4).

Puttu is traditionally steamed in a bamboo ‘kulal’. This is a food length of bamboo, about three inches in diameter, cut about an inch below a node. The lower part is ‘turbanded’ with a long pieces of cotton cloth would round it, while the rest of it is wound spirally with coir string. Resting on the node inside is a circular, perforated piece of coconut shell. The kulal rests on a vessel of boiling water and the puttu is steamed in it. It is really quite an attractive piece of kitchen equipment.


At the start of this post, I mentioned eating puttu with kathrikkai and muttai poriyal is the best. I haven’t posted the recipe for kathrikkai and muttai poriyal yet.  Will try to soon.

I have posted the recipe for milk sodhi and eggplant curry and you can have puttu with either or both.

Some combinations: Puttu and milk sodhi with egg omlette.
Puttu with fried eggplant curry, 1/4 cup cold milk (or yoghurt) with egg omlette.
Puttu with fried eggplant curry, 1/4 cup cold milk (or yoghurt).

I have slightly modified the Rice-Flour Puttu recipe (pg 4) to how my ammah makes it.

4 cups wheat flour which is a healthier option to rice flour. White or red rice flour is the substitute.
1/2 tsp salt
3.5 cups boiling water
2 cups freshly grated coconut

1. Roast the wheat flour for about 30mins and set aside to cool.
2. Grate a coconut. A whole coconut will give you more than 1.5 cups of coconut, so you can freeze any excess.


3. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt with boiling water with the top of a wooden spoon.


4. As mixture cools mix flour with your hands to form a pebble like texture.


5. Use the back of a tin to help this process.

6. My mother skips 4 and 5 and puts the flour into a food processor  for 2-3 seconds to get the flour into a pebble like texture.
7. In a kulal or puttu steamer, layer the flour mixture with a handful of grated coconut. Start with coconut and then add 3 tablespoons of the flour and then 1 tablespoon of coconut.


8. Fill the puttu pot with water and place the kulal or puttu steamer on top.  Turn stove on to full heat. When you see steam coming out of the kulal, cover and steam for another 3 mins.


9. Remove the kulal and gently push the puttu through onto a plate. Ammah uses the back of a rolling pin to push the puttu through.


10. Serve hot.


3 thoughts on “Puttu

  1. Dearest Brami,

    I am so excited about the possibility of ” My Tamil Kitchen” in print, I am going to take the liberty of selecting from your blog the ones that should go in their entirety in the book. For instance the ” Lime Pickle” is a work of art – pics and text. Just think along that way. Even on mail we can do the book ( as we did with “Handmade” ). I will find the publisher or we will self-publish and wow a publisher!!!

    Two books for me to work on!! Your photos are the story i themselves. People will buy the book as an artistic presentation.

    Just goes to show that food is really an emotional thing. Look – I just see your “Puttu” entry and my whole being tingles with possibilities!!!!!!

    Come on, Brami. Let’s get serious about this book ( in and amongst my “Tales told by the Dancer” madness).

    Cheers – to inspired living!

    Love – lots of it,

    Aunty Nesa

  2. Pingback: Omlette (traditionally made with maldive fish) | My Tamil Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s