I know I can go on and on at length when it comes to Puttu. But I promise this time I’m not going to bore you with long descriptions, history and facts of this steamed cake. Like in every dish, this Indian bread too has many versions. Before I get into the details of this dish. Those of you interested in knwoing about the history of Puttu can refer to my earlier post of basic Puttu recipe. (http://simiskitchendiaries.com/puttu/)
My mom is a real talented cook. It is from her that I learned the making of the Semolina Puttu and Bread Puttu. Cassava or Tapioca is a staple of our region, varieties of dishes are made with this in different ways. Off them, drying the cassava/tapioca and grinding them into flour is a popular form. These are then used to make porridges, puddings and bread items.
Coming back to our three different types of puttu today, Ill start off with Semolina. As you all know, semolina, a wheat grain food with many nutritional benefits. Though this is highly gluten in nature and produces allergies to those who are allergic to wheat. To reduce the gluten and and its sticky nature and to make the steamed cakes soft, I’m dry roasting it first and then steaming. Unlike all other Puttus, semolina puttu needs more time for cooking. So by roasting and steaming, it gets cooked hafl way through.
Once the steaming is done, rest the semolina till it is cooled down to slightly warm temperature. Then continue with the regular method of making the flour mixture for Puttu. Use hot water to wet the semolina and to make the puttu mixture. Semolina will absorb water, so add a bit of more water and mix up with a fork. Press down the moist mixture, stick on a lid and rest for 10 minutes before the final mixing. Always add water in batches to get the right texture which will give a soft and spongy puttu. Semolina puttu tastes best with bananas, ghee and sugar or non-veg curry.
The second variety of Puttu is the Cassava Puttu. Cassava flour is a gluten, grain and nut free flour. Cassava flour is gaining momentum as a “go-to” gluten-free, grain-free flour. And it’s not surprising when you consider that those who follow restricted diets typically have to blend several flours to achieve the same consistency as wheat flour. Which is never ideal.
Cassava is rich in carbohydrates but unlike other gluten free flours like almond and coconut flours, cassava is mild in flavor and is soft and powdery rather than grainy or coarse. South Asian countries widely use this flour for baking bread and cakes and in many side dishes.
Cassava flour is very fine in nature. Hence I add a small quantity of rice flour to get some firmness for the puttu. Since its very sticky in nature, adding rice flour will reduce this nature of this flour. 1:4 is the ratio I have taken for this puttu. First rice flour is mixed with hot water and rested for 5 minutes. Then salt and cassava flour is added and combined. Be careful when you add water after adding the cassava flour.
The rice flour quantity can be adjusted according to the texture of the cassava flour. Be cautious not to over power it with rice flour. Cassava puttu should be had immediatley once its steamed. We have this with sugar and ghee which is the best pairing for this.
Bread Puttu is a delight for any foodie and especially for children. Bread has been converted into different forms, creating beautiful dishes from savory to sweet , from snacks to desserts. Attaining many Indian versions like bread upma, bread dosa are becoming common. I have seen bread puttu made by my mom only.
Stale or couple of days old bread is best suited for this purpose. Milk bread is the tastiest option for making this puttu. Edges removed, this should be crumped with the hand for attaining the right texture, though a grinder can be used. I dont like the fine texture created by the grinder which gives a bread crumpy feeling and coarsness.
Adding a tad of vanilla and grated coconut, altogether takes this puttu to another level. Water should be added after adding all the ingredients as coconut and vanilla will moisten the puttu mixture. Since its bread, itll become gooey and will form into a ball if water content is more. This point should be noted for all the varieties of puttu. Right amount of water in the flour mxiture gives a very soft and pillowy end product.
All these steamed cakes pairs well with banana, ghee and sugar. Those who do not prefer sweet tooth for a brekkie can go in for the usual combo of bengal gram or black chick peas. Semolina Puttu pairs well with beef curry.
Dry roast the semolina for 5-7 minutes until aromatic.
Line the steamer with a muslin cloth. Transfer the roasted semolina to a steamer. Steam for 5 minutes.
Get off the stove. Take out from the muslin and transfer to a bowl.
Rest till it cools down a bit. Add salt and mix.
Slowly add hot water and combine with a fork and rest for for 10 minutes closing with a lid.
Combine and crumble the mixture to a moist texture using your palms.
Add grated coconut and combine homogeneously.
Steam in a puttu maker and serve it hot with ghee, sugar and bananas.
In a bowl add the rice flour. Pour the hot water and mix up with a fork. Set aside covering with a lid for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the required amount of salt and the cassava flour. Homogenize everything adding water in very small quantities.
Press down after combining and rest for 5 minutes.
Crumble up and mash down the lumps into smooth fine mixture.
Layer grated coconut and add the prepared mixture. Steam for 3-4 minutes till cooked.
Serve with sugar and ghee and a palm sugar coffee.
Trim the edges of the bread and cut into cubes.
Break into crumbs with your hand, forming into a crumbly flour.
Add grated coconut and vanilla and combine well.
Add a tablespoon or two water if the mixture is too dry.
Rest for couple of minutes. Mix up and steam as the same way for cassava puttu in a coconut shell or puttu maker.