By Shalini Nanda
Broken rice cakes cooked with milk and coconut.
- 2 cups thari
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated coconut (fresh please!)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar or to taste
- Salt to taste
- You will need small thalis with raised rims, or dhokla plates. Do try and find some plates with reasonable depth – paputtu is best in thick slices.
- A sekala, idli steamer or a pressure cooker wide enough to accommodate the plates you are using. If using the latter, steam without the weight on.
- A bamboo steamer will work too, but you may need to increase the cooking time by 10 to 15 minutes.
- Flat wooden sticks to separate the plates when stacking in the sekala. Improvise with anything that provides a stable base for the plates to rest on and that doesn’t restrict the flow of steam.
Wash the thari and soak for 1/2 an hour in the 2 cups of water. Add the grated coconut, milk, cardamom, sugar and salt and mix well, squeezing the coconut to extract a little milk. Divide equally between plates and steam for 25-30 minutes or until done. The puttu should look firm, with no soggy bits in the centre. Cover the plates with a clean tea cloth and allow the puttu to cool a little before cutting into pieces.
Best eaten with a simple mutton or chicken curry. Or, make a sweet breakfast of it with fresh butter and honey.
This recipe makes three plates of paputtu. The plates I use hold 500ml each. Do not fill the plates more than two-thirds full to allow room for the thari to expand.
- Increase the sugar to taste for a sweeter cake that can be eaten on its own, or with a little ghee or melted butter.
- Replace the milk with light coconut milk for more coconut flavour.This version is good with a spicier curry.
- Powdered coconut milk works nicely if fresh is unavailable.