Chettinad Style Ragi Puttu

Ragi does play a major part of our cuisine. The Tamil month of 'Purattasi' (mid Sept - mid Oct) is just round the corner. We do not use Ragi in any of our preparations along with observing Vegetarianism (hidden as well). Which means no cakes, cookies, outside food, etc. I was cleaning my pantry and Amma reminded me to finish the little Ragi flour that we had.
Puttu is very easy to prepare; but we do have a step (laborious I would say; but worth the effort) that makes the puttu moist, soft and ...
Half the time I am unable to find the exact word that would drive the message home.
This is a right snack for the evenings, delicious and wholesome. Seasoning is optional. Delicious Thalicha Ragi Puttu tastes best with Summa Kuzhambu.

Apatha would always make the dish a little more innovative and interesting to the palate. She would season the Ragi Puttu with onions. Seasoning or "thalikkiradhu" does happen in a big way in Chettinad homes  - the combination of salt, sour and spice does predominate our cooking for a wholesome taste.
The basic Puttu needs to be done before the variations (sweet / salted) are made accordingly.

Basic Puttu Recipe
Ingredients:
Ragi Flour - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup (approx; use as needed)

Ingredients:
Take Ragi Flour in a bowl and sprinkle water in to it in batches, mixing it well and breaking any lumps that may have formed.
Add water and mix until the flour is able to hold shape, but will crumble on rubbing it. It should not become a wet dough.
Lay a butter paper (double thickness). Using a drum sieve with large perforations, sieve the moist flour on to the paper rubbing the flour with the heel of your hands.
For the last bit on the sieve that will be lumpy by now (sometimes, you are lucky to escape this stage); add a little dry flour and rub it through to get evenly sieved flour.
Have your Idli steamer ready - with a moist cloth on the plate. 
Gently, transfer the sieved mixture evenly onto the plate. Try to avoid using a spoon or your hands.
Make impressions with your index finger on the flour in several places for the steam to escape and spread.
Cover and steam for about 10 minutes.
If you are able to roll the flour, it is done. 
Sprinkle water all around and remove the Idli plate from the steamer.
Allow to cool slightly before proceeding to the next step.
Take the Puttu (steamed) in a plate and crumble it sprinkling water as needed. 

For the Sweet Puttu:
Add 3 Tbsp grated coconut, sugar to taste, pinch of elaichi powder and little ghee to a cup of crumbled Puttu. Mix well until well blended. Top with fried cashew bits (optional).
For the Salted Puttu:
Add 2 Tbsp grated coconut, salt, pinch of sugar, little ghee, pinch of jeera, and a sprig of crushed curry leaves to the crumbled Puttu. Mix well until blended.

Thalicha Puttu

Ingredients:
Ragi Puttu, steamed as above - 2 cups
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Dry Red Chilli - 2
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Onion - 1, small
Salt to taste
Buttermilk - 2 Tbsp (preferably sour)

Instructions:
Take the steamed Ragi Puttu in a plate and crumble it, sprinkling water as needed. Transfer to a bowl
Heat oil in a seasoning pan.
Splutter mustard, urad dal, and jeera. Then add the curry leaves, dry red chilli and onions.
saute until onions turn transparent. Add salt to taste and switch off the burner.
Add 1 to 2 Tbsp Buttermilk (optional) and mix well.
Pour this into the Puttu (crumbled) and mix well.
Serve with Summa Kuzhambu.

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