For Malayalees, almost every preparation starts and ends with coconut
One should learn how to exploit a coconut from the Malayalees. Right from its shell to water, coconut is used in different forms such as coconut paste, coconut cream, coconut milk, grated coconut, and, of course, the indispensable coconut oil for seasoning and deep frying. The breakfast menu comprises interesting delicacies with perfect accompaniments such as ‘puttu’ with ‘kadala curry’ or ‘nendram pazham’, ‘idiyappam’, and ‘appam’ with either egg curry or stew, ‘kanji-paya’, and steamed ‘nendram pazham’ other than the usual ‘idli’, ‘dosa’, ‘upma’, and ‘poori’. People of this region are basically rice eaters. They eat a lot of boiled rice and savour multi-cuisine spread. Kerala delicacies include ‘kalan’, ‘olan’, ‘inji-puli’, ‘thoran’, ‘varutherisheri’, ‘koottu curry’, ‘avial’, ‘upperi’, ‘idichakka’ (made of small jack fruit), ‘kodam puli meen curry’, banana chips, and ‘pappadam’ along with rice. “We prepare a lot of seafood at home and ‘kodam puli meen curry’ is popular among our authentic delicacies,” said Suraja, a housewife. Cooking method is usually steamed or cooked. “If you don’t have ‘puttu kodam’ at home, it can also be steamed using a coconut shell,” added Selvi, another Malayalee.
Recipe for ‘puttu’
Ingredients: Raw rice – one cup, finely grated coconut – one shell, little water to wet the rice flour, and salt to taste.
Preparation: Soak rice in water for an hour. Strain the water and spread the rice on a clean muslin cloth until water gets absorbed. Make a coarse powder of the rice and roast it lightly. Take a container; make rice flour mix by blending in rice flour, three-fourth of grated coconut and salt adding little water. Take a clean coconut shell, add little grated coconut first and then fill the shell with the rice flour mix and top it again with remaining grated coconut. Now place the coconut shell carefully in the steamer and steam it for five minutes. Keep it over a low flame for five more minutes. Invert the coconut shell on a banana leaf to serve.