Thursday, March 31, 2011


Puttu Meen Curry
Icannot tell you how much I love Kannur Style Meen Curry/Fish Curry.It is such a simple recipe that even a child can make with adult supervision.I have to say, this is my first attempt at making this curry because Janu Chechy was an expert at it and it was her speciality. When I was growing up, I used to eat this at my childhood friend, Babitha's house. Asha aunty is an excellent cook! This curry was there, always at their house. So when I was cooking this curry, I couldn't help but think of all the fun we had as kids at Babitha's house.

We were a gang of 3 girls. Rechana, Babitha and myself. Rechana was elder to the two of us by 6 years or so but that didn't matter. We still enjoyed pretend play as any other kids would do. I used to be the cook flipping out dosas from my pan with a small 'chattugam'/flat steel spoon.Once in a while we used to fight and since we were 3, one of us were 'outside' the group during the fight as 2 of us paired against the other.
I clearly remember we 3 were enrolled for Indian Classical Dance classes which was held at a school very close by to our house in Talap. Finally we got our uniforms for the class which was a 'salwar kameez'. The kameez was off white and the salwar and dupatta were baby pink. We were super excited to have the uniform but myself and Babitha didn't go for the class after that...just being lazy, you know! :-D

So, one day, we had a fight...this time it was me and Babitha against Rechana. We were so angry with her (and I don't even remember why!) and we decided to pour water at her over my boundary wall when she went for the dance class. But it never happened as she was smarter than us :D
Meen Curry
When I look back at it, we were just being stupid and silly! I have such good memories with my childhood friends and the best part is we are still connected. Rechana got married 2 days before our wedding and Babitha was one of my bridesmaid. We live continents away but we are still in each other's thoughts!

Do you have such memories of how stupid and silly you were, when you were young? I have plenty of them. I was a single child till I was 8 years old, so I never liked sharing anything , mostly with my cousins (no idea why!). When my cousins used to visit us and if there were chocolates in the fridge, I used to run and hug the fridge so they they wouldn't open it, also thinking that they wouldn't know they were chocolates in it! Imagine how stupid I was!! :-D

That reminds me...I haven't told you how we 3 became friends right? It's funny, atleast how Babitha and I became friends. That's for another post...I hope I haven't bored you . Now let's move to the recipe :-)

My own recipe 

For Puttu:
Roasted Rice Flour* or Store bought Puttu Podi (Taste Buds, Avis,Nirapara, Double Horse are good brands)
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Freshly grated coconut as need

For the Meen Curry:
1 lbs/ 0.5 kg King fish (can use sardines, mackerel, shrimp etc)
1c freshly grated coconut
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 lime sized ball of tamarind
1/2 c warm water
Salt to taste
3 tbsp coconut oil

For Puttu:
In a large bowl, mix together the salt and rice flour. Sprinle water to it and mix well.Start with half the qty of flour that you are taking.
When you press a ball of flour, it should hold it's shape and not crumble down. If you have reached that consistency, stop adding water. Pass this mixture through a sieve to remove the lumps.Leave it aside for 15 mins.
Take your puttu maker *, add some grated coconut followed by the rice flour mixture. Never ever press the puttu podi into the puttu maker, it just needs to be spooned in.
Bring to boil some water in a pressure cooker. When the steam comes, insert the puttu maker into the nozzle where the steam comes out. Let it steam till you can see steam passing through the puttu maker which will happen in less than 2 mins.
De-mould it and serve hot with Fish Curry.

Fish Curry:
Grind the coconut and turmeric powder. Add water to aid it in grinding.
Add the warm water to the tamarind and set it aside for 5 mins. Squeeze out the pulp and strain.
Add the red chilli powder, green chillies and salt to the tamarind pulp and mix.
Heat oil, add the ground masala and the tamarind pulp.
Once it comes to a boil, add the fish and let it cook.
If you think you need to add more water,add it and give it a boil.
Check for salt .

*The rice flour used for Puttu is not super fine, it has to be coarse. The super fine variety is used for Idiappam/String Hoppers. So make sure you have the right one.If you are in doubt, go for the store bought powder made specially for Puttu.
* Puttu maker usually comes in a cylindrical form but Amma always made it in 'Cheratta'/Coconut shells and her shells are as old as I am :) I wanted to get one here but in the last minute hurry all I could manage was this commercially made 'Aluminium' Cheratta. If you are using any other kind of puttu maker, please follow the manufacturers instructions.

* If you do not own a puttu maker, you can still make it by steaming it in a plate . Simple! But this time, you will keep it inside the cooker/steamer and not over it as I did :)

Verdict: It goes without saying how much I love this curry rather the combo! Try it and you will know why I like it :)

I am sending  the deliciousness to The Kerala Kitchen.


JishasKitchen said...

wow..that's my fav combination....looks very delicious....Superb clicks too..!!

kavis said...

OMG Ria!!sound so delicious and very tempting pic too.I love these kind of combination.^___^

Anonymous said...

i really like puttu .. but i thought you could have it only with banana and sugar :) This is brilliant. I will love to make it someday

Anu Menon said...

i've never been a meen curry person (was a more of a fish fry gal ;)) but then i turned eggitarian so the taste of fish lingers vaguely in my memories :D
Love how pretty the puttu looks and I am so looking forward to the day when I can make some puttu and kadala for my (R)oomie :D
Lovely post and gr8 pics!


Sneha Benny said...

That's a good combo !!! I liked the "hugging the fridge" part . :-)

Sunitha said...

Looks great! No lent is it?

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Hey, that puttu and fish combo looks awesome. This is the one that I mistook for Idli..He he. Love that cute puttu maker!

kiths said...

Y yu r not thinkin abt a small restaurent cm thattukada setup @ downtown ?? it'll b a nice place for us to get sm mal dishes :D :D

Sumi said...

very nice post.this combination is new to me.never went beyong puttu with sugar and coconut :).
That puttu maker is super cute, do we get that in India?

Shabs.. said...

Loved thefish curry and the pics!I used to be a sucker at fish curries and wen ever i asked my mom for the measuremenst she just told me appx. measurements, u know...little of that, little of this, and i realized my meen curry just went from bad to worse. This time when i visited her, i weighed all the ingredients inclding chilli powder, puli etc and it is good now. But my mom's recipe is totally diff. from urs. we add ulli, garlic, tomato and all...:)will give urs a try once i excel with mine:)

Sarah said...

looks lovely Ria :) Even we make our puttu in a cheratta and mine are as old as my son :) Enjoyed reading about ur childhood escapades :) Yep, i too had many of them and silly secret missions as well :P

Ally said...

fish curry and puttu a hit in our household too...especially if its the fish gravy at stuck to at the bottom of the chatti....

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, feel like grabbing that plate and having rite now, puttu and meen curry,prefect pair to enjoy anytime..

Zareena said...

Wow Ria, This is my most fav breakfast. I love this a lot. My Husband likes to eat puttu with pazhgiya meen curry and it tasted heaven...:)

Prathima Rao said...

OMG!!! What a delicious curry!!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Justbeanme said...

Issh Kya baat hai! Nice post!
Wow were ur hands big enough to hug the fridge?I am laughing picturing the scene!!hands trying to b around the fridge and head turned toward those cousins!
Puttu and Meen,never had it together!! Hmmm look yummo

Swapna said...

May be I am the only malayali who dont like to eat puttu with fish curry :D... Mom also used to make similar fish curry but not with tamarind but wither with pacha manga or erumbanpuli... ur curry looks delicious!

Panfusine said...

You had me at the puttu!! Where can I get one of those pittu steamers?

Mélange said...

That looks so fantastic Ria..Mindblowing pictures as well.
As a hostlier,whenever I came home for shortvisits,this was my favourite breakfast,but suddenly I started dying for puttu and beef varattiyathu..That was a killing combo yaar..
aa meeninte manam ivide vannu.
btw,reading your story I was thinking about a girl called Bindu,who happd to be my room mate for a short time.She was so much enthusiastic about 'Talap' where she came from.In fact,it was Talap housing colony and we used to kid with her saying 'talap..talap.'she was such an amzing girl Ria.As I dont have none in that part of Kerala,I have all vivid memories of her..
So cute reading you.I had some vibes of an old friend no ?

Unknown said...

This is just awesome ria! purity of puttu and divines from curry had been thinking long to bump into ur blog glad made it way today! :)

Preethi Pinto said...

Hi Ria. A question. How do you make puttu powder at home? Roast rice and powder it?

Ria Mathew said...

Preethi- You are correct! Here's how you go about it: We use 'Pachhari'. So buy the rice, wash it well and then dry it ( under the sun,preferably). Give it to a mill and powder the rice and tell them specifically that it should be a bit coarse and not super fine (like powdered sugar).

Once you get it home, using a heavy bottom vessel, roast the rice flour on medium high making sure the colour of the rice powder doesn't change a bit as it will affect the colour of the final product, which in this case is puttu.

Once the flour is roasted, sieve it, the finer flour (which falls down from the sieve) is used for 'Idiyappam' and the coarse flour which is left behind in the sieve plus some fine flour is used for 'puttu'. We need the coarse flour as it gives texture to the puttu.

If you happen to get lumps in the sieve after sieving, just powder it using a mixie and use it for puttu along with some fine flour (which you sieved).

If you are buying the 'puttu' flour from a store,just feel it with your bare hands, you can see that it's a bit coarse, that's how it should be.

I hope this helps :-)

Preethi Pinto said...

Thank you Ria for that recipe. Will let you know when I try it out. Meanwhile, I bought some puttu podi from the local Nilgiris Supermarket and tried making the puttu this morning, for the first time. I am not sure it was done right as both hubby and me ate it with great difficulty. The puttu was powdery and absorbed a lot of gravy and when we ate it the was all goey and stuck to the upper part of the mouth. So looks like we ate a lot of rice powder. Do you think I should have added more water to the rice powder? Is there any which way you can send me a picture of how the powder should look before putting it into the puttu maker?

Ria Mathew said...

Preethi- It's true that Puttu absorbs gravy, but it should not stick to the upper part of the mouth. I am not sure whether the puttu podi that you bought is good, because not all brands are good.Which brands do you get there?

Did the puttu hold it's shape after you de-moulded it?

Did you steam enough?

The best way to see if you have moistened the flour enough is to grab some wet flour and squeeze it in your palm and if it holds it's shape, the amount of water used is fine. If not, you need to sprinkle some more.

Infact I wanted to make it for brekky, but I'm out of the puttu podiright now. If you can wait, let me get it when we go to the Malayali store and then I can show how it should look like :)

Preethi Pinto said...

Ria, thanks for the quick response. Well I think I need to do all that you suggested. I feel it needed a little more water. It did not hold its shape completely. So looks like it needs more steaming as well. It did hold in my palm, but not so well again meaning it needed water. I used the local nilgiri brand. I have got another packet which is Horsesomething. I will let you know what happens next time. But for now hubby and me are not going to eat puttu for sometime :) Thanks, will wait for the pics.

Ria Mathew said...

Preethi- You are very welcome! :) I think you are talking about 'Double Horse', it is a good brand :)

Sandeep said...

Hi, me too from kannur, thats why i thought of clearing the doubt. dont we add, jeera to the fish curry. especially for the thenga aracha meen curry? might be, diff parts of knnr have their own recipe.. pls clear.

Ria Mathew said...

Sandeep- Hello :-) I'm sure you can make this curry in many ways but as you can see, ethu njan thatti kotti ondakkiya recipe aanu, from the taste I remember. Somehow this tasted the same way as Jaanu chechy makes, maybe she never added Jeera.

Will ask her the next time I meet her :)

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