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Arisi-maa puttu (Mullaitivu)

Puttu is a popular breakfast dish. Traditionally a 'puttu kullal' made of bamboo was used to steam the dish, yielding a cylindrical log of puttu, Nowadays, stainless steel ones are more common and available in Indian and Sri Lankan grocery stores in all major cities, Before eating, puttu is broken by hand into smaller, fluffy morsels and mixed with a curry or even banana.

  • (+ STEAMING)
  • SERVINGS: 3-4


  • 2 cups white or red rice flour, steamed

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 cups boiling water (as required)

  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut or desiccated coconut


  • Puttu steamer or other regular steamer

  • Light cloth to line steamer


  • In a large bowl, mix steamed flour and salt. Add boiling water slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon. When the mixture has cooled slightly, use hands to break down dough to create a grainy or pebbly texture. If too wet, add a little flour.

  • Add water to the pot of the steamer and heat the water to a boil. In the cylindrical body of the kullal (steamer), layer puttu mixture and coconut as follows: a handful of coconut, two handfuls of puttu dough, a handful of coconut, two handfuls puttu dough and so on, to about 1,5 cm from the top, the last layer being coconut. If using a regular steamer, line the base with a cloth and spread mixture and coconut evenly across the base.

  • Steam puttu till cooked. When cooked it should not be sticky to the touch.

  • Remove and push puttu out with the back of a wooden spoon into a bowl.

  • Repeat process till all dough is finished.

  • Serve warm with a sambal or curry

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