There are some handful of food or dishes which becomes the centre of palate due to the different ways it can be devoured. One such food is Puttu. There are multitude of combinations for this soft, crumbly dish. Fish, red meat, seafood, sugar, ghee, banana, black gram, pigeon pea, green gram, the options just go on and on. One such deadly combo are the prawns and puttu. They pair up for a reason, to make us swoon over them. For me, puttu is an all time favorite, whether its with veg or non veg curry combos or with the different sweet versions. But it was not the same until I found out the soft version of this dish. Not to say, when I started making prawn puttu or meat puttu, this simple creature became the zing thing of our house hold.
This steamed cake can be made in hundreds of varieties. Apart from normal puttu using rice, ragi or wheat, puttu can be made with bread, oats, tapioca/cassava flour, semolina, soybean flour, corn meal and so on. It can be layered with seafood, meat, chicken, veggies or fruits. Then these days you can find Puttu biriyani, roasted Puttu, Masala Puttu. Plain simple puttu made with different flour can be served with with a wide variety of side dishes, both vegetarian and non vegetarian, which makes it so special.
Puttu is the general term for a variety of steamed rice and coconut dishes, both savory and sweet, from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the hill district of Karnataka. In old times savory puttu was steamed in bamboo tubes with pierced disc at the bottom, fixed tightly over a wide mouthed pot in which water was boiled. The sweet version was steam cooked by tying the ingredients in a thin wet cloth or wicker basket and placing it over a wide mouthed vessel in which water was boiled. In Tamil Nadu the sweet version made with jaggery if a food offering during the nine day Navarathri festival. Sweet puttu was also made when a girl child attained puberty and the coconut palm blossomed for the first time.
Prawn puttu is a sheer delight to any foodie. This puttu variation is getting all the attention it needed these days. This is a dish, which again is an origin of Malabar region. Prawn Puttu is a sought after dish in restaurants also. There are many versions to it. My recipe is a juicy one loaded with flavours. The rich prawn mix just seeps through the puttu making it flavorsome and heavenly. The fennel, shallots and coconut combination when combined with the prawns makes this a bang on dish. The addition of the onions and tomatoes in the end gives that crunchiness which is much needed in between the soft puttu and tender prawns. My hubster just drools over this. When you have people around you, who enjoys food to every bit, then the pleasure of making, serving and having it doubles many fold.
Clean, devein and wash the prawns and keep for draining.
Grind the ingredients except salt, turmeric and water given for boiling into a coarse mixture.
Slice the onions, chop the tomatoes and crush ginger garlic.
In an earthen pot, add the prawns along with the ground mixture, turmeric, salt and water. Combine. Stick the lid on and cook till done.
Separate the stock and prawns and strain the stock and keep aside.
Coarsely break up the prawns in a food pro and keep ready.
Heat a wok, add coconut oil. Throw in the ginger garlic and saute till fragrant.
Add the chopped onion and saute till wilted and pink.
Now add the salt, turmeric and chilli powders. Combine well and aromatic.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook covered till cooked and soft.
Pop in the cilantro and prawns and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock. Combine and boil.
Add the coconut milk, give a generous mix and simmer till thick.
Finally add some chopped onions and tomatoes along with cilantro. Give a quick mix. Put back the lid on and keep on low flame for a minute. Mixture is ready.
Prepare the basic puttu mixture. To this add all the items listed in the Puttu section. Combine thoroughly.
In a coconut shell, layer the coconut, cilantro, prawns and prepared rice flour, again prawn filling and finally top with rice flour. Level it and repeat the same method of steaming as shown in Basic Puttu Recipe.
Enjoy this yummilicious dish to your hearts content.