Monday, August 2, 2010

Nool Puttu: Steamed Rice Noodles/ Traditional Kerala String Hoppers

Puttu/ Pittu recipes  evoke   a tradition of homely breakfast and a tea-shop favourite for many Keralites. Similar dishes abound in the geographical trail of colonization, commerce, conquests, migrations,  and trade.

In our nook we call these Nool Puttu  = String puttu; Idiyappam is a common  name, Sevai  the most popular Tamil  version; Shevayi  in the Karnataka region. Srilankan's call it Indi Appa. The basic ingredient is rice flour, salt and water; the differences  come in the variety of rice, the way dough is made, extruded and its consistency.

Traditionally rice [usually parboiled] is soaked for a few hours, drained on cotton towels, dried in the shade and pounded. It is seived, the finer powder is taken for the nool puttu, while the grainier powder works for the Uthir Puttu/ Kuzhal Puttu/Kutti Puttu= moistened rice flour mixed with coconut and  steamed in bamboo stems. Named for the cyclindrical, tube like shape.

Instant Versions: There are several 'instant' versions: dried string hopper parcels, which need the minimal effort: soak in hot boiling water, drain, season/temper and serve. Searching for  different variations brought about this jaw dropping innovation, the SevaiMagik.  How did I miss this one? It seems to be in the market since 2007; am really curious to know how well it works!

Was quite tickled by the original tamil advertisement; the flawless-tv-mom's demeanour cracks a bit, just like the carefully messed-up tendrils on a sweatless, made-up brow. The perfect housewife who no longer sits at home but works full time still get up 5 am, has to reach the office at 9 am. Before that she has to cook breakfast and lunch, wash the clothes and take care of  her kid and who has time to cook the variations for the kid and MIL??!!

Nool Puttu is served with fresh grated coconut,  tiny honey-sweet bananas and pappadums.
Milk and sugar combinations are a childhood staple.
Ishtu/stew or Kadala Kari- Black Chickpeas Curry, Cherupayar Curry/ Mung beans curry, Vegetable Kurma are other vegetarian accompaniments.
Our favourite combination for Puttu is pappadums and more grated coconut!
[These could be shamelessly indulged in only at our grandparents home with a bounty of fresh coconuts].
Roasted rice nool puttu 
2 Cups of raw long grain  rice powder [paccha-ari]
One can also use parboiled, red rice powder which can also be lightly roasted.
2 Cups of boiling water or less
[ the amount would depend on the quality of the rice powder]
1 tsp of ghee/ coconut oil
Sevanazhi or a Press, using the tiny mutli-holed disc.
Steaming plates or Idli moulds.

Grease the Idli moulds or the Idiyappam moulds.
Spread 1/4 tsp or more of fresh grated coconut on the mould.
Bring the water to a boil, season with salt and ghee-clarified butter.
Add water to the rice flour and mix well with a firm ladle.
The dough should have a soft consistency.
Once the dough is slightly cool, enough to handle , knead the dough and press it through the sevanazhi onto the greased idli moulds.
Steam for about 10 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes, take off the moulds and serve.

This recipe goes to the Steamy Kitchen Event!


  1. Yummy idiyappam.. looks perfect and tempting dear.. thanks for sharing :).. gr8 clicks too :)

  2. Wow! delicious...beautiful click as always:-)

  3. Oh MY... luks delicious and mindblowing presentation.. i love the leaf.... making me very hungry...

  4. literally drooling! love these.. nice clicks!

  5. i love idiyappam...i havent had this for sometime, since my press needs lot of energy ;)

  6. That looks yummy,nice clicks as well


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