Rice steam cake or puttu is a staple breakfast of Kerala. Puttu is served with black garbanzo beans or plantain on normal days and it is served with stew or spicy curries - veg or non-veg on special occasions. Puttu is prepared with coconut for the steam to pass through the flour mix and also gives a nice aroma especially when the steam escapes through the lid. Variants of puttu are prepared with wheat, ragi or corn flour. Fruit puttu is prepared by mixing chopped bananas (specific to Kerala) in the flour mix.
Meat puttu or irachi puttu is a delicacy of its own kind. The meat strands and the rice flour makes a good combination. A puttu mould, available in Kerala either as a vertical pipe or in the shape of a coconut shell is normally used to steam the flour mix. There is a hearsay that puttu was traditionally steamed in bamboo shoots.
If the mould is not available, place a wet muslin cloth on the steamer and then place the flour mix on it and steam till brisk steam escapes through the lid.
ingredients for the steam cake
Rice flour – 1 cup
Coconut, grated – ¾ cup
Water - ½ cup or less
Salt – ½ tsp
ingredients for the meat mixture
Meat (boiled & minced) *– 250 gms
Onion, finely chopped – 1
Green chilly, finely chopped – 1
Garlic finely chopped – 1tsp
Garlic finely chopped – ½ tsp
Garam Masala – ½ tsp
Chilly powder – ½ tsp
Pepper powder – ½ tsp
Coriander leaves, finely chopped (optional) – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
* Boil the meat and mince it in a mixer grinder – place the meat pieces in a mixer jar and run the mixie for just 1 second. The meat will become strands as seen in the picture.
Heat oil in a pan and stir in the onion, green chilly, garlic and ginger. Stir till the onion start to brown. Add salt, garam masala, chilly and pepper powder. Stir for a few seconds and place the minced meat. Stir till the meat is crisp. Add the coriander and stir for few more seconds.
Place the rice flour and coconut in a bowl. Make a salt solution and sprinkle it on the rice mix while simultaneously mixing the rice flour to form crumbs. When the rice mix is completely moist stop adding water.
Place 1 tbsp meat mix in the puttu mould and then place 3 tbsp rice mixture and then place 1 tbsp meat mix, continue filling the mould until it is full. Cover and place the puttu mould on a steamer until brisk steam escapes through the lid. Let it steam for 2 minutes to let the meat mince turn soft. Irachi puttu is ready. Serve hot.