Puttu and Kadala Curry (Black Channa Masala)


Puttu and Kadala or Puttu with banana and sugar is one of the most popular Kerala breakfasts. I hated it as a child. I found it insipid, dry and boring then and wondered how my folks ate it with such relish every other day. Today, the subtle aroma of Puttu steaming in the wee hours at my sister Sophie’s place gets me so hungry that I doubt if the soul that lives in me now, is the same one that dwelt in me as a child. If it is, I have no idea what brought about this 180 degree change.

Though traditionally it is made with rice flour, my health freak sister, Sony, makes it with Millet (raagi) and sometimes Rava(semolina) too. And I must say it tastes great as well. If you don’t have the customary device called Puttu Kudam to make this, don’t fret.  You can use any possible steaming device, like even an idli pan to make it. No biggie. At Sophie’s, her help, Thangamma, smoothened out a coconut shell, drilled a hole into one of the three indentations or eyes (as they are called) and voila  – they had a puttu making device. They simply fill up each chiratta or coconut shell with the puttu mixture, place the hole on the shell onto a steaming nozzle of a pressure cooker, cover it with a plate and a mound of chiratta puttu is done in less than 5 minutes. I found this idea to be really neat and got Thagamma to  ready a few shells for me to carry back home. How much of Puttu I’m going to make, I don’t know. But I sure like to have all the right devices around ;)!


Chiratta Puttu


2 cups rice flour
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1/3 –1/2 cup hot water
salt to taste


  • Add salt and 1/2 the amount of coconut  into the flour and mix well. 
  • Sprinkle water little by little to the rice flour and mix it. The flour should be just wet enough for steaming,  it should remain as a coarse mixture and not come together like dough.
  •   Loosely fill rice and and remaining coconut in layers into the puttu making coconut shell or the puttu kutti.
  • Steam on top of a cooker nozzel if using coconut shell, closing it with a lid on top or in a puttu kudam or in a idli maker for 4-5 minutes.
  • Serve hot with kadala curry or with bananas and sugar.

    Kadala Curry or Black Channa Masala

    Ingredients for Kadala Curry

    1 cup Black Channa (black chickpea) – 1 cup
    1 cup finely sliced shallots
    1 cup fresh grated coconut
    2 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp red chili powder
    ½ tsp turmeric powder – ½ tsp
    ½ tsp kerala garam masala
    ¼ cup coconut kothu (diced)
    ½ cup chopped tomatoes
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    salt to taste
    2 tsp coconut oil
    ½ tsp mustard seeds
    2- 3 green chilies
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste


  • Soak the channa in the water over night.
  • Cook the black channa well and keep it aside.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan. Add the grated coconut and sauté until it turns brown.
  • Add coriander, turmeric, chili powder and garam masala.
  • Stir all the ingredients in until it becomes brown. Make a paste of this and keep it aside.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in the same pan. Add mustard and when it pops add curry leaves, green chilies and the diced coconut and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add shallots sauté until translucent, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté until it forms a mush.
  • Add the cooked channa, pour sufficient water and mix well.
  • Add the coconut paste and bring to boil.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
  • Tags:

    Your Reply