Puttu is a popular staple dish for both breakfast and
dinner. It is traditionally steamed in a bamboo 'kulal'.
This is a foot length of bamboo, about three inches in
diameter, cut about an inch below a node. The lower part is
'turbaned' with a long piece of cotton cloth wound 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. The other 'puttu
steamer' is a neethu-petti woven out ofpalm leaf. This is
like a conical hat and the apex rests on the vessel of
boiling water. Modern aluminum or stainless steel puttu
steamers may not have the romance of these traditional ones
but they do the job just as well.
Food processors are also used to mix puttu instead of the
traditional 'hands on' method.
Rice Flour Puttu - Arisi-maa Puttu
4 cups roasted rice flour (white or red rice flour)
2 tsp salt
4 cups boiling water
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt with boiling water
with a wooden spoon. As mixture cools mix flour with your
hands to form a pebble-like texture.
2. In a kulal or puttu steamer, layer the flour mixture with
a handful of grated coconut. Repeat the process till the
kulal is almost filled. Finish with a layer of coconut.
3. Steam and serve hot.
Puttu - Kurakkan Puttu
Kurakkan (Raagi or red millet) is grown
commonly in the northern areas of Sri Lanka. Red millet
flour is dark in colour and the puttu has a pleasing warm,
dark tone as a result of this. Affectionately called "the
black puttu", it is eaten with freshly scraped coconut and
pieces of jaggery.
1 cup red millet (raagi, kurakkan) flour
grated coconut Warm water as required Salt to taste
1. Add salt to the warm water. Add water slowly to flour,
stirring it with a wooden spoon to form a paste.
2. Using your hands, work mixture till it breaks into small
3. Add grated coconut.
4. Steam in a puttu steamer—either the kulal or a
- Ravai Puttu
2 cups semolina
Salt to taste
1 cup water
11/2 cups grated coconut
1. Roast semolina slightly. Set aside to cool.
2. Add salt to semolina.
3. Add water and mix. Allow it to stand for half an hour.
4. Work the semolina with your fingers into small
5. Add grated coconut.
6. Steam in the puttu steamer—either a kulal or a
Though called a puttu, this is also a
sweet snack. It takes its name from its shape—like the fruit
o f the Aalai' (banyan) tree.
1 cup roasted rice flour (white or red rice flour) 1/2
2 cups thin coconut milk
1/4 cup roasted black gram (urad dal) flour 1/2 cup jaggery
11/2 cups thin coconut milk syrup
1. Mix rice flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Boil coconut milk.
3. Pour into flour and stir till smooth.
4. When the mixture has cooled add black gram flour and mix
well. j 5. Form into small balls, about 2 cm in diameter.
6. Steam in neethu-petti or any steaming vessel.
the jaggery pieces and coconut milk into a syrup.
8. Add to the puttu. Stir and serve.
Puttu - Seeni Puttu
1 cup roasted rice flour (white or red rice)
1/2 cup roasted split green gram (moong dal)
1 cup coconut milk 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (pounded cardamom seeds)
11/2 cups sugar
1. Wash the green gram and cook in water. Do not
overcook—it should be whole, not mushy.
2. Drain and grind fine.
3. Boil coconut milk and salt.
4. Place rice flour in a bowl. Add the boiling coconut milk
and stir to a grainy texture.
5. Add the ground green gram and grated coconut. Mix well.
6. Steam till cooked.
7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add ghee, cardamom powder and
sugar immediately. Mix well.
8. Serve warm.
- Uluthammaa Puttu
2 cups roasted white rice flour
1 cup roasted black gram (urad dal) flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cups water
2 cups grated coconut
1. Boil water with salt.
2. Add to rice flour and mix to form a grainy texture.
3. When cool, add black gram flour and mix.
4. Add the grated coconut and mix together.
5. Steam in a puttu steamer.
Spinach Puttu -
1 cup red millet (raagi/kurakkan) flour 200 grams
spinach, chopped fine Cold water as required
chillies, chopped fine
4 medium-sized onions, chopped fine 1/2 cup grated
1. Mix red millet flour and spinach.
2. Sprinkle water and mix to form pebble-like balls.
Sprinkle more water if required.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Ensure that
the mixture retains its pebble-like consistency.
4. Steam in a puttu steamer.
Tapioca Puttu -
1 cup tapioca flour, slightly roasted 1 cup grated
3-4 green chillies, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, chopped fine 1/2 tsp salt
1. Mix together tapioca flour, grated coconut, green
chillies, onions and salt. Sprinkle water as you mix with
your fingers, forming a grainy texture.
2. Steam in a puttu steamer.