Vella Puttu is a popular neivedhyam prepared during Navarathri. Most people try to prepare this atleast once during the nine days of the festival. It is also made at home when the girl child attains puberty.The process of making this is slightly laborious but the end result is very delicious. The main task is roasting the rice flour. Once that is done then, half the work is over.
I don't remember my mother making this, as we never had the tradition of keeping doll/kolu at home, but Mil does. And, she makes this compulsorily on one of the nine days of Navarathri, usually on a Friday. And that's how I came to know about this traditional recipe, which may be forgotten in many households.
Off to the recipe:
What you’ll need
- Rice Flour – 1 cup
- Salt – pinch
- Turmeric Powder – a pinch
- Powdered Jaggery – 1 cup
- Scraped Coconut – 2 tbsp
- Cardamom – 3 to 4
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Cashew nuts – few
- Raisins – few
To make rice flour
- Wash and soak the raw rice for 1 hour.
- Drain the water completely and spread it on a cloth. Let this dry on the cloth for about 10 to 15 minutes in shade.
- Powder in mixie to a fine powder, sieve, powder the residual flour again, sieve and use.
To make Puttu
- Dry roast the rice flour until the color changes to light brown or a little more. Cool. Sieve and keep ready.
- Warm some water with salt and turmeric powder.
- Add it little by little to the roasted rice flour and start rubbing with the fingers to form a crumbly mixture.
- Add just enough water so that the whole rice flour is moist but still powdery, i.e if you take some flour in your palms and press, it should retain the shape and at the same time should disintegrate when crumbled lightly. I needed about ½ cup of water to reach this stage.
- Place this mixture in a big handkerchief or white cloth, tie the edges together to form a bundle and steam in the pressure cooker for about 8 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam in a puttu maker, if you have one.
- Remove from cooker, cool and then pulse this steamed mixture for few seconds so that the mixture is again soft and powdery.
- Heat a kadai, add the jaggery and ¼ cup of water. Once the jaggery has dissolved completely, strain for any impurities.
- Wash the kadai and pour the syrup back into it and bring to boil, on medium heat.
- Also add the scraped coconut.
- Keep boiling, taking care not to burn the jaggery, until it reaches hard ball stage.
- To check consistency, take some water in a small bowl, drop a little syrup into the water, then bring that drop together with your fingers, form a ball and just drop it on a steel plate if you hear a sound then your syrup is of the right consistency.
- Remove from flame and add the steamed rice flour to the jaggery syrup. Mix well.
- Mix very well with the back of a flat spoon/ladle until the mixture becomes lumpfree and turns almost powdery.
- Transfer to another vessel.
- Crush cardamom and add it.
- Heat a small frying pan with ghee, fry the cashews and raisins and add it. Mix well.
- Cool and store in airtight container.
- You can add small bits of coconut fried in ghee at the end instead of the scraped coconut.
- Take care to roast the flour really well, it is very important.
- Add the roasted rice flour only after the jaggery syrup has reached the correct consistency.
- Transferring the contents to another vessel once mixed properly is also important, else the puttu may become hard.
- The key to getting soft puttu is in mixing just the right amount of water to the flour. The quantity of water may vary depending upon the quality of rice used.