Puttum Kadalayum/Steamed Rice cake and Black Channa curry

Black chickpea in a delicious onion and coconut milk based gravy paired with steamed rice flour is the dish of the day. It is one of the most popular breakfast combos in Kerala. We are a rice people, as you might have guessed, so much so that we have some version of it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Incidentally, things have changed. Roti's and partha's (Indian breads) have taken it's place either for breakfast or dinner in most families.

These age old dishes are a hearty fare reminiscent of holidays and good times spent with grandparents and cousins for holidays. The steaming puttu (steamed rice flour) spreads it aroma at home transforming me to the cool early mornings in my home town. Bustle of activity outside where the yard is being swept clean and distant music of 'naama jabam' and whistle of boiling milk in our neighbours home. In short, some of these dishes are synonymous with life in kerala.

Some other combinations for the steam rice is boiled green gram and grated coconut with sugar or papad, ghee, sugar and boiled eggs. Some also eat it with spicy fish curry. Needless to say, make your own combinations as you go and make an entree of this steamed rice flour with a soupy side dish of your choice.

This recipe has been lying in my draft for a long time and I think thursday is a good time to share it with you. Make this treat at home over the weekend and help your children experience the aroma and taste of a Kerala home while you revoke some memories of old that bring a smile to your face.




Rice flour (dry roasted)- 1 cup
Water- ~1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 tspn
Grated coconut- 8-10 Tbsp

A puttu maker(if you don't have one, don't worry, you can make this in a steamer too. But you do not get the shape,though the taste is the same.Read more on this in the notes!)


1.Making the flour ready , is the most trickiest part in this simple preparation.
2.Take the rice flour in a wide mixing bowl , add salt.
3.Slwly start adding water, mixing the flour with your hand and breaking the small dough balls with your finger tips.
4.You could stop adding water when you hold a fistful of dough, it stays together, making a lump with the shape of your fist.
5.The longer the time you take to reach this, the better and softer will be the puttu :-)
6.Keep the dough covered for at least 15 minutes.
7.Boil water in a puttu maker, or the pressure cooker, if you are using one that can be fixed on the top of it.
8.When the steam starts coming , take the puttu maker(puttukutti) and spoon in a tablespoon of grated coconut, followed by 2-3 tablespoon of prepared dough.Repeat with coconut and rice dough(flour!) till you reach the top, finishing it with a tablespoon of coconut.
9.Keep this on the pot/ pressure cooker and let the staem come through the top.
10.Reduce the heat and cook till it is done. This takes 5-6 minutes.
11. Serve warm with black channa curry, plantain , moond daal and paappad or chicken curry.

Puttum kadalayum



Black channa/Kabuli chickpeas- 1/2 cup
Onion- 1/2 of a small one
Coconut oil/cooking oil- 1 Tbsp
Coconut Milk- 1/4 cup
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 Tsp
Coriander powder- 1 Tbsp
Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala (optional)- 1/4 Tsp

For seasoning:

Mustard- 1/2 Tsp
Curry leaves- 1 Sprig
Red chillies- 2
Shallots- 2-3
Coconut oil- 2 Tsp


1.Soak the channa overnight or for 8 hours.
2.Pressure cook the soaked channa with enough water, salt and turmeric powder.
3.Meanwhile saute the onion till it turns translucent and start turning golden brown color.
4.To this mix in the criander, chilli powders and garam masala and saute till the raw smell leaves. Switch off the heat.
5.When the channa is cooked , take a ladle full and grind it well.
6.Add this to the channa with the onion mixture.
7.Boil the mixture well.Cook it covered on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
8.Add coconut milk and heat it.Switch off the heat.
9.Do the normal seasoning and mix in to the curry.Enjoy :-)

black channa /kadala curry


1.If you do not have a puttu maker you could use a steamer. But the dough should have more water content and you must mix in the grated coconut also into this. Have to add more coconut compared to this method.
2.For channa curry, you could use coconut paste instead of coconut milk.
3.You could use either the white rice flour or red rice flour for making puttu.I have used the red variety here.

Contributors :Sunitha and Namitha

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