Thursday, 23 May 2013

Buckwheat Puttu (Tamil Nadu sweet version)

Puttu is a typical South Indian dish that can be savoury or sweet. It is usually eaten as dessert or as part of breakfast. It is a healthy dish that requires little to no oil and is actually steamed flour flavoured with delicious coconut. Puttu is my dad's favourite sweet dish and, unfortunately, he has type 2 diabetes. So I came up with this recipe with buckwheat, which has low glycemic index, especially for him to be able to enjoy. "Puttu" in tamil means "to make a portion". There is a mythological story in Tamil that claims that Lord Shiva himself worked as a labourer in return for a portion of this Puttu dish :) I love this dish very much as well and I am willing to labour in the kitchen to make this any time too :) Usually Puttu is made with rice flour or wheat flour or ragi flour in the south of India. But as part of the healthy life style change I decided to make it this time with buckwheat flour instead.

This is one of the ancient dishes that grand-mums and great grand-mums took pride in making. But I do cheat and use food processor to make this. You can make this without using food processor or blender as well. Another change from the traditional recipe, I have made, is the use of buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is one of the food that has low glycemic index and is one of the healthy alternatives to rice and wheat. It is perfect for diabetics and can be made with sweeteners instead of sugar/jagerry for them. Traditional puttu calls for sesame oil, but, I use butter/ghee since Anjalie is allergic to sesame seeds. Also you can add roasted nuts along with raisins to the puttu, but, avoid this totally if making this dish for young children due to chocking hazard.

You will need:
1 cup buckwheat flour
scant 1/2 cup coconut milk/water (I used reduced fat coconut milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (fresh or dried or frozen)
1 tsp sesame oil/butter/ghee
3 tbsp brown sugar/jaggery/white sugar/any other sweetener (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp cane molasses (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
raisins to garnish

Heat a skillet on a med-low flame. Add the flour and roast on low flame until the nutty aroma is released. Keep stirring constantly to make sure you do not brown/burn the flour. It should just be heated and should not brown. This takes around 2 mins.

Cool the flour on a wide mouth vessel. I use the same one for mixing and steaming. Meanwhile, warm the coconut milk/water to lukewarm and add the salt and mix well.

When flour is cool enough to handle, sprinkle a little bit of the coconut milk/water and mix into the flour well by rubbing the flour between your thumb and other fingers. Continue doing this. We are trying to moisten the flour evenly without making it into a dough.

Keep at it with a lot of patience. When large lumps start forming and the entire flour feels moist, just process the flour in a food processor or blender in low speed for 1 min. The flour should now resemble semi-wet sand now. If you want to do this without using food processor/blender, take you time and mix water in the flour without forming big lumps and when it starts forming big lumps you can use a sieve to powder them by rubbing them using your fingers. It is time consuming without the processor though :(

Place the flour in a steaming pan. I use the same vessel as before and just cover it with a clean muslin cloth. Make sure to distribute the flour evenly.

Steam in a steamer or pressure cooker on high heat for 4 mins and then on low heat for 3 more mins. This will give a crumbly, soft and cooked flour with great coconut flavour.

While the steam cooked flour is still warm, add the coconut, cardamom powder and sugar. I prefer to use soft brown sugar since I find it mixes better than jaggery. I simply add cane molasses next to give it the same flavour as jaggery. You can remove the muslin cloth (if using) now. Add butter/ghee/oil and molasses. You can skip the molasses if using jaggery. Mix well with a spoon.

Make desired shapes using moulds and serve garnished with raisins.

Sending this to Walk through Memory lane event hosted by Sowmya and Gayathri.
WTML 2013 

and to Priya's May 2013 edition of Healthy me and Healthy Us event hosted by yours truly ;)


  1. that is sooooo delicious... super yummy and super healthy!!! Thanks for sending this yummy recipe to my event.. Looking for more yummy recipes...

    Event - Authentic Indian Sweets w giveaway
    Event - Kid's delight - Sweet Treats
    Event - WTML w giveaway

  2. Interesting recipe! Thanks for sharing this healthy diet.

  3. Where is Buckwheat available in Tamil Nadu and what is the name in Tamil? I've heard Kotu and Papparai, but the people I've spoken to have never heard of either names.

    1. Hi Amit, thanks for the comment. Usually you will find Kuttu/Papparai in Ayurveda shops/health stores like Annai Organic & Naturals, Shastri Nagar, Adyar, Chennai or Gujarati stores in George town, Chennai. My mum says she found it in Nilgiris supermarket stores a few months back. Nilgris supermarket have branches in many places in Chennai including, Cathedral road and in Azeez Nagar, Kodambakkam. I do not live in India, so, this is all the info I have. Good luck!


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