One of the reasons I find the Paleo diet not only ‘doable’ but in fact, enjoyable is due to the fact that it allows me to go back to my Keralan roots! And yes pun intended there. You see root vegetables are the only starches allowed in Paleo and in AIP (autoimmune protocol). These root vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, celeriac root, turnip root, horseradish root, yucca, plantains and taro root. Sweet potatoes and yams I love love love. So no issues there and then yucca, plantains and taro root (called as arabi in Hindi) being very common in Kerala cuisine, these are all comfort foods for me. Plus I have so many Keralan recipes to draw from – which gives me so many ideas for new ‘Paleo meals’ for myself.
Puttu or Pittu is a very staple Keralan breakfast food. It is also popular in srilanka and Tamil nadu. It is sort of a steamed cake made with rice flour and coconut. It is really a very healthy and nutritious breakfast dish since it is steamed and is eaten with a curry so no sugar involved! It is funny that growing up I never liked Puttu! Whenever amma made Puttu for breakfast, I would sulk. Puttu is usually eaten with Kadala (black gram) curry or some other lentil curry. I totally hated that combination and would grudgingly eat the Puttu with some sugar sprinkled on top! Fortunately or unfortunately, my husband nurtured the same ‘not so warm’ feelings for Puttu as I did and so after marriage we never made Puttu at home 🙂 Many years ago when my mom had visited us, she had got a small Puttu Kodam for me. Puttu Kodam is an utensil used to steam the Puttu and looks like this. Since I had no desire at that time to make Puttu , I sent it back with her!
And now last month as I was talking with my aunt in Kerala about my Paleo diet and how I don’t eat any rice or any grains, she suggested that I try making Kappa Puttu i.e. Puttu made with Yucca (cassava or tapioca) and coconut. She suggested grating raw Yucca and then making the Puttu. However, that seemed too tedious for me and luckily I came across a recipe which used boiled yucca and rice flour. I tried to use the same method to try making puttu using a ‘make shift’ steamer cum puttu maker assembled using a cooking pot and a large sieve that fit on top of the pot. I skipped the rice flour and used coconut flour instead.
The Puttu came out fabulous and was really a breeze to make. I ate it with kozhuva curry (anchovy coconut curry). You could also have with any other curry or just mixed with a ripe banana. Yum.!
In case you are not familiar with yucca or cassava, here’s a picture. It’s a but hard to cut but you need to chop them the same way you chop sweet potato or yams by giving it a hard whack and then breaking it apart using your hands. Peeling the skin is also easier when you use a similar technique. Once you have it cut into pieces, you can either steam them or cook it with some water and salt. In this recipe, I am using boiled kappa and hence you need to do this step beforehand.
- 1 cup boiled yucca(tapioca/cassava/kappa) pieces
- ½ cup rice flour (or coconut flour for paleo version)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen grated coconut)
- extra grated coconut for topping
- In a food processor, add the boiled kappa (yucca /cassava) pieces. Also add the flour (rice or coconut flour depending upon what you are using and the salt and pulse for a few seconds (10-15 secs)till you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Do NOT over mix otherwise you will get a big lump.
- Now if you have a puttu maker, pack this mixture into the puttu maker mould and steam.
- If you do not have a puttu maker, heat water in a cooking pot (water should fill about ¼ of the pot). Place a steamer vessel (or a sieve) on top of this pot and place the kappa mixture as a thin layer on this steamer/sieve. See step wise pictures below. Cover this with a lid tightly to make sure no steam escapes. Steam cook for 7-8 minutes on medium heat. Turn heat off.
- Transfer the cooked puttu to a small bowl and press it with a spoon to make it compact. Turn this onto a plate to get a dome shaped puttu. Add freshly grated coconut on top. Serve warm with curry or a ripe banana!
For curry recipes to eat with Puttu, check out my following posts:
Kerala FISH CURRY fish curry with coconut milk post
BLACK GRAM CURRY kadala curry
Boiled kappa(yucca) pieces
Pulse kappa pieces with flour and coconut in the food processor/grinder
Mixture should look crumbly like this.
Place mixture on sieve
Place sieve on top on pot with boiling water
Cover pot and steam for 7-8 minutes.