Kerala recipes · Recipes · south indian recipe

Puttu-um kadala-yum

Quiet literally (or not) – Steamed rice powder with black chickpeas curry

I have been wanting to make this combo, that i love, for a while now. It is of course not a rarity, but a staple breakfast in kerala. It is also not difficult to make. However, it is very heavy, owing to all the carb from rice and protein from chickpeas. I ended up making it for dinner today and couldn’t finish my portion and have some tucked away for tomor.

Also, since I couldn’t take pics in daylight, they didn’t turn out as well.. Hopefully the next time when i try with red-rice-powder, i wil capture better pics. For now, it is recipe sharing time!

Kadala ( Black chickpeas curry) – serves 4 adults


  • Black chickpeas – 1 heaped cup (soaked for 6 to 7 hours )
  • Onion – 1 medium finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1 small

For the gravy/masala

  • Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chilly – 5 to 6
  • Small green chilly – 4 or 5
  • Grated fresh coconut – generous handful

Procedure –

  • Start by letting the soaked chickpeas cook to a mashable consistency. I used the pressure cooker and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes on a medium flame.
  • In a heavy bottom skillet, add a little oil (coconut oil works best, but feel free to avoid it and use any regular cooking oil ).
  • Fry half the cut onion along with the ingredients for masala, except coconut, for about 5 to 10 minutes or until it browns sufficiently.
  • Couple of minutes before taking it off the flame, add the coconut and a handful of the cooked chickpeas. Mashing the chickpeas in the gravy gives it an awesome flavor. Don’t skip it.
  • While the masala mixture cools –
  • Add some more oil to the skillet. Splutter  1/4 tsp of mustard seeds, 5 to 6 curry leaves and a pinch of asfoetida.
  • Now add and fry the remaining onions, followed by tomato on a low flame.
  • Blend the masala ingredients into a coarse, thick paste and add it to the onion and tomato medley.
  • Add water and the cooked chickpeas to this gravy and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes on a low flame.
  • Keep adding water, if the gravy seems too thick. It should not be pasty or watery, but in between.

While the kadala-curry is simmering, you can start to work on puttu.

Puttu – steamed rice flour ( serves 2 adults )

Ingredients –

  • Rice flour/powder – 1 1/2 cup ( you can buy the brand ‘double horse’ from the indian store. Or if you have rice flour at home, even that should do! )
  • Grated fresh coconut – 2 to 3 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 or 2 Tbsp

The coconut and sugar are optional, but serve the purpose of breaking monotony!

You will also need a vessel called the ‘puttu-kuzha‘ which can be found in indian stores, that is ideally shaped to allow even steaming of the stuffed rice flour. Here is the picture of mine, placed over the steam outlet of a pressure cooker.

kadala curry simmering and puttu kuzha steaming

Procedure –

  • Start by tossing the rice flour in a dribble of ghee (clarified butter) on a low flame.
  • If already using toasted rice flour, you can stop with just heating the flour to a tolerable heat, such that i doesn’t burn on touching. Otherwise, you may fry the flour just until it is about to start turning brown.
  • Remove from the flame and let it cool to a tolerable warmth.
  • Take water in a glass and start by sprinkling a handful on the toasted rice flour. Then remove the lumps formed and toss the flour with your hand.
  • Continue the last step, until flour is soft and pliable enough to be made into a fist, but still breaks into powder on slight pressure. Take care not to have any lumps and the flour should not be gooey.
  • Once this rice flour is sufficiently moist, this way, you are ready to fill it into the tall steam container.
  • You may fill it in layers with a layer of coconut and a layer of sugar or jaggery in between layers of rice flour.
  • Set the pressure cooker without the whistle and filled with almost a cup of water, on the flame.
  • As soon it starts to let out steam, place the puttu-kuzha’s steam inlet on top of the pressure cooker’s outlet. It should take between 10 to 15 minutes for puttu to be done.
  • Keep a long skewer handy. The puttu kuzha’s lid comes with a hole into which you can let the skewer in after about 7 to 8 minutes. If the skewer comes out clean, puttu is done!
  • Slowly push the cylindrical puttu with a skewer from the end where the steam inlet is. Notice the layer of moist sugar and the more white layer of coconut in the picture.

Puttu is also enjoyed with banana mashed and milk. To eat simply break the cylindrical puttu and mix with kadala curry and enjoy mouthfuls!


One thought on “Puttu-um kadala-yum

  1. they have real fancy puttu makers these days, no… Back home the only ones i’ve seen are the aluminium thingies with no handle, nothing. They make puttu in cherata(coconut shell) also kathe – i never knew. And as a kid I used to see people around me eat puttu with pazam(:O) which was the whole and sole reason I stayed away frm this dish – i’ve eaten it a total of 5 times in my entire life and mostly camouflaged the rice with a lot of freshly grated coconut and a LOT of kadala curry. 😀

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