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Mixed Upma Puttu (Mixed Upma Rice Steamed Cake)
A little history of Puttu & Upma
Puttu is generally cooked in a metal puttu kutti vessel with two sections. The lower section holds water and the upper section holds the puttu — where the rice mixture is inserted with layers of grated coconut. Perforated lids separate the sections to allow the steam to pass between them.
Upma or Uppuma is a common South Indian breakfast dish, cooked as a thick porridge from dry roasted semolina. Various seasonings and vegetables are often added during the cooking.
How I developed this Mixed Uppuma Puttu recipe
Nirapara group of companies located in Kerala announced a Puttu making contest in our apartment complex. The contestants were to make puttu using any of their puttu powders. I was little apprehensive of participating in the contest, since I do not make good puttus. My spouse being a good cook himself, does not easily appreciate my cooking. First I thought I will participate for the fun of participation. But was hesitant when my husband discouraged me. At last, I agreed when my friend called up and asked me to participate in the competition (after all, all the contestants are my neighbors).
Now the question arose, as to what. I am just an average cook. So, I phoned my mother in law, who is a pro in cooking. She suggested I make a mixed uppuma puttu using chicken, eggs and veggies. She explained me its making over the telephone. I was still nervous, as I was not sure how it might taste, when I make. Though my mother in law suggested me to try it once the previous day, I was rather lazy to try.
On the day of contest, like all contestants, I also went to collect the puttu powder (ground rice powder). Nowadays, there are various types of puttu powders available like white rice powder, red rice powder, ragi powder, corn powder and wheat powder. I selected white rice puttu powder and ragi puttu powder. We had to submit our puttus at 5:30pm before the judges. I slowly started preparing the chicken, cut the veggies, grated coconut and kept the other ingredients ready. I also made a beetroot carved rose in advance. After 4pm, the cooking picked up pace and I had to finish on time. In my case, it was a blind trial. I was making this dish for the first time. I had not even seen or eaten this before. By 5 pm, things were getting close. I sought my son’s assistance in finishing off the stuff. And exactly by 5:30 pm, the dish was ready to be presented for the assessment.
I made kadala curry for the contest. And voila, the judges and the fellow residents liked this puttu alike and I bagged the first prize! J My son who does not like puttus just loved it. JJ
For the Puttu
- 1 cup White rice puttu powder, readymade or home prepared
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Coconut, Grated
- There’s a small test to check the water added. Take a fistful of rice flour and close your fist, it should take the shape of your fist, but should be easily breakable or powdered when crushed with your fingers. This is the right consistency of the rice flour and it’s ready to be steamed.
- For removing the puttu from the mold, hold the puttu mold parallel to a plate and with the help of a skewer gently push the bottom disc so that the puttu slides onto the plate. Keep it aside.
Take the rice powder in a large bowl and sprinkle salt to it. Add water little by little till it is soaked enough and yet remains powdery, not sticky. Keep it aside for 15 minutes for the rice flour to absorb water properly. The key to soft puttu lies in the moisture content of the rice flour.
Add 2-3 cups water in the bottom vessel of the puttu maker and allow simmering till hot. Place the round perforated disc with holes inside the puttu mould. Place 2-3 tbsps of grated coconut at the bottom of the puttu mould. Carefully and slowly put the puttu powder followed by another layer of 2 tbsps of grated coconut. Again layer with puttu powder and finish off with 2 tbps of grated coconut on the top. Place the lid over the puttu mould and place the mould over the water vessel. Steam on medium flame for 8- 10 minutes or till steam rushes out from the three holes on the lid of the puttu maker. Turn off heat and remove the puttu from the mold with the help of a skewer.
For the Uppuma Mix
Onion – 1 large, peeled and sliced
Ginger – 1 inch, peeled and sliced very small
Beans – 6-7 Nos, washed, chopped thin
Carrot – 1 medium, washed, peeled and cubed then and small
Green Peas – 1 handful
Green chillies – 2-3, washed, sliced
Eggs – 2
Chicken – 150 gms, boiled and shredded
Coriander leaves – 1 -2 sprig
Vegetable oil – 1-2 tablespoon
Salt – to taste
Pepper powder – to taste
In the meanwhile, heat a pan, pour any vegetable oil at low flame. Sauté onion till clear. Add ginger and vegetables and sauté till done. Scramble eggs separately in another pan. Add the scrambled eggs and shredded chicken to the vegetable mix and sauté. Sprinkle some salt and pepper powder and mix well. Crumble the puttu and add to this mixture and heat. If the puttu is dry, sprinkle little water. Remove from flame, add coriander leaves and serve hot. This uppuma puttu can be eaten as such or serve it with chicken curry or kadala (chickpea or chana) curry.
Chana or chickpea – 1 cup, soaked and cooked
Onion – 2 large, peeled and chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 ½ tsp
Green chillies – 2-3, washed and sliced
Tomato – 1 large or 2 medium, washed and chopped
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Oil – 3 tbspn
Mustard – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – ¼ tsp
Garam masala or chana masala – 1 tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 pinch
Dry mango powder – 1 pinch
Coriander leaves – to garnish
Soak chana or kadala overnight or at least for 8 hours. Pressure cook kadala with enough water and keep aside. Sauté one onion till clear, add half of the tomatoes and allow it to cool. Grind and keep aside this paste. In a pan heat oil, temper using mustard seeds and curry leaves; add onion, tomato, ginger – garlic paste and sauté till mushy and raw smell of tomatoes leaves. Add the tomato onion paste. Add the spice powders, mix well. Once the raw smell of masalas leave add cooked kadala along with the cooked water to this mixture. Add salt and dry mango powder and cook for 10 minutes at medium flame. Once done, add more water if the gravy is too thick. Allowed it to boil in sim for 5- 10 minutes. Once oil separates and desired consistency is reached, remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves and serve. This kadala curry can be used with boiled rice, roti, chapatti or puttu.