The Keralites simply love their steaming hot rice cakes, or puttu, for breakfast, and it is a known fact. The Keralites are very proud of their puttu, and it is something that is both tasty and nutritious.
Puttu, a breakfast delight cherished across Kerala, is a delightful blend of steamed rice flour and coconut served alongside kadala curry. The soft, comforting texture of puttu harmonises perfectly with the rich flavours of kadala curry, resulting in a dish that is both flavourful and nutritious.
Traditionally, puttu was prepared on bamboo logs, lending it a distinct and soothing aroma. Embraced throughout Kerala and among Malayalees outside the state and across the world, this beloved breakfast isn't just a culinary treat but also a nourishing and wholesome option. Teamed with kadala curry, crafted from Bengal gram, it forms a delightful pairing that caters to both taste and nutrition.
Despite Kerala making puttu their own, the dish's true history doesn't lie in Kerala but in Tamil Nadu. Many historians have claimed that puttu may have been first prepared in the state of Tamil Nadu, where the dish is still enjoyed along with Pondicherry, the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka, and, of course, Kerala.
Origins Of Puttu
Puttu remains an authentic Malayali delight, wholeheartedly embraced by Keralites. However, the claim of its invention can't be exclusively attributed to Kerala, despite the profound love for this dish. Historical traces lead us to Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India, where puttu found its origins and continues to be savoured in Pondicherry and the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka. Notably, there's a counterpart in Assamese cuisine known as Sungapitha, contributing to the diverse tapestry of culinary traditions.
The most common consensus is that the Malayalam language started taking shape during the 8th century, and none of the records or literature mentioned puttu to prove their statement that puttu was created during the 15th century.
Puttu was mentioned for the very first time in the 15th century in the book Thirupugazh by the poet Arunagirinathar. Although during those times, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had similar food habits, it wasn't similar to the scenario we have today, with different traditions, food habits, and cultures. So one could claim puttu also originated in Kerala, but its exact origin lies in Tamil Nadu.
The Perfect Breakfast
It is considered the healthiest breakfast in Kerala thanks to its perfect balance of carbs (puttu) and protein (kadala curry). Not just the original nutritional profile, but the steaming process helps the puttu retain most of its nutrients while also being a good source of energy.
Puttu is extremely versatile and can also be paired with other curries other than kadala curry, such as fish curry, chicken curry, egg curry, moong dal curry, and more. Puttu works as the perfect blank canvas that goes well with almost any dish.
You can make additions like carrots and grated coconuts to the puttu to add more flavour and boost its nutritional profile, while also trying variations like wheat and ragi puttu, which taste fantastic as well.