Pittu - பிட்டு /புட்டு
A very common dish made quickly and eaten with anything that is available in the house at that time.
Pittu mixture, as described below, has to be steamed before it is consumed. Very often it was done with the help of a pot and a suitable cover to keep the steam in. The mixture is placed in a cone shaped container called Neethupeddi ( நீத்துப்பெட்டி) hand made out of palmyrah leaf and this is placed on top of the pot containing water and inserted into its mouth. This then is covered with the cover. When the water boils, the steam cooks the pittu mixture.
There was another method of steaming the mixture and this was using a pittu kulal
A special pittu steamer or ‘pittu kulal' (புட்டு குழல்) as it is called, is a piece of bamboo modified to rest on the mouth of a metal pot and to retain the pittu inside it; A foot long bamboo about three inches in diameter is cut about an inch below a node. The part of the node and below is wound round tightly with long ribbon of cotton cloth so that this rests on the mouth of the pot airtight. Inside the bamboo, a round perforated metal piece rests on the node and this prevents anything from falling down and lets the steam to pass through. The top of the bamboo piece is also covered with a metal lid with perforations. This ‘kulal' fits airtight in the mouth of the pot so steam should not leak. The pot contains water which when boiled, lets steam to go through the bamboo tube cooking whatever is inside it.
A conventional steamer can also be used instead of this equipment.
Roasted red rice flour 2 cups
Coconut scraped and fresh 4 tablespoons
Salt to taste
In a wide mouthed pan or dish, put the flour and salt to taste and mix together.
Add boiling water little at a time and mix with a spatula and when cool with both hands until the dough is well mixed and granular and moist. The granules should be small and there should be no big lumps.
Now add the coconut scrapings and gently mix, making sure the granules do not stick together into lumps.
Do not use any pressure, keep the mixture loose.
Place this mixture loose in a steamer and steam until cooked or the flavour emanates from the steamer.
If you are using pittu kulal steamer to cook this, then you do not mix coconut scrapings to the dough but put some coconut scrapings first into the kulal, then add some dough and then coconut scrapings.
Similarly alternate dough with coconut until the bamboo is full.
Cover the bamboo mouth and steam until steam appears at the top.
The pittu cooked in the kulal has a different flavour and taste, try it.
Serve with: Coconut sambol, fried eggs (Plain omelette), potato curry, fish curry or as a matter of fact any curry. Pittu is delicious with banana, mangoes, jak fruit, sugar or jaggery.
1) Wheat flour pittu- Use plain flour instead of rice flour - steam the plain flour first and let it cool. Crush this in a chopper and make it into fine powder again. Use this steamed flour to make pittu, but use boiled water to mix the flour first and mix with coconut scrapings before steaming.
2) Mixed flour- I prefer to use one measure of roasted red rice flour and equal measure of steamed plain flour to make pittu and use boiled water to mix. It comes out very nice. Try it.
3) Kurakkan pittu- Use Kurakkan flour (Red millet) - Add salt to kurakkan flour and mix with little warm water at a time with a spatula. When cool, mix with both hands to granular and moist consistency. Add grated coconut scrapings (this dish will require more coconut scrapings) and steam in a steamer. This can be eaten with jaggery.
4) Odiyal pittu- See in palmyrah dishes - Click here
5) Milk Pittu – Pall Pittu
This is made using already made ordinary pittu while it is hot.
4 cups of Pittu already made pittu
2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup coconut thick milk
Dissolve the sugar in the coconut milk in a large glass vessel. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved in the milk.
Then add the Pittu while it is hot into this solution.
Cover and leave for sometime around 5 to 10 minutes.
5) Pittu Buriyani
Pittu 200 g
Prawns fresh 75 g
Chilli powder 2 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Oil 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Clean and wash prawns and mix them with salt and turmeric powder and fry in little oil until they are cooked.
Dice onions and fry them in little oil until they are soft.
In a dish break the eggs and add the fried onions, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and beat them together.
In a hot pan fry the egg mixture in oil into an omelette and as the mixture is getting cooked, cut into smaller pieces and add the fried prawns mix well and fry.
Now add the already made pittu and stir and mix well.
Remove from fire and serve.
Serve with: Pittu is edible on its own.