Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry: Steamed Rice Flour and Coconut Cake Served with a Black Chickpea Curry

Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry (No Onion, No Garlic)

This month on the Shhhh Secretly Cooking group we celebrate the cuisine of Kerala. My contribution to this cooking spree is Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry, one of Kerala’s ultimate comfort foods.

Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry: Traditional Kerala Breakfast
Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry: Traditional Kerala Breakfast
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Kerala, God’s Own Country, has been in my thoughts because of the unparalleled devastation it has suffered. I have so many close friends from this beautiful state that I felt my own family was imperilled. 

Coming back to positive thoughts, Kerala is a state whose people I admire for the way they make use of natural resources; to live, to cook, to heal and more.

Consider this recipe for Chiratta Puttu; it is puttu cooked in a coconut shell. No separate vessels needed. It uses the natural vents formed by the “eyes” of the coconut shell to conduct steam and cook the Puttu mix.

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Everything about the Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry is healthy. Chickpeas (Kadala) are a great source of plant-based protein as well as dietary fibre. Chickpeas are also rich in micro-nutrients like potassium, iron, Vitamin C, and more.

I made Chiratta Puttu with red rice, which is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, dietary fibre and more. The carbohydrates in the Puttu help in digestion and absorption of the protein in Kadala Curry. This is further aided by the fats in the coconut and coconut oil used in the Kadala Curry. 

I must thank Prathima Shivraj, my partner for this challenge, for giving me rice and black chickpeas as my ingredients.

I am waiting to see what Prathima cooked with the ingredients I gave her. 🙂 

 I have detailed pictures for every stage and will update this post soon. Till then please consider this a living document. Last updated on September 30, 2018.

Chiratta Puttu Made in a Coconut Shell
Chiratta Puttu Made in a Coconut Shell

Recipe for Chiratta Puttu

Chiratta Puttu | Puttu Made in a Coconut Shell
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Resting Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins

Chiratta Puttu is regular Puttu cooked in a coconut shell. I absolutely love this 2 ingredient dish which is traditionally eaten with Kadala Curry and can keep you full for ages.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala
Keyword: Chiratta Puttu, Puttu
Servings: 4 People
Author: Aruna
  • 3/4 Cup Puttu Podi / Rice Flour for Puttu (See notes)
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Coconut
  • Salt to Taste
  • Water, as required
  • 1/2 Shell of Coconut (the tail end) OR Steel Chiratta Puttu Maker
Preparing the Coconut Shell (Skip if using a Chiratta Puttu Maker)
  1. Break a coconut neatly in half. 

  2. From the half of the shell that has the “tail”, scoop out the coconut flesh.

  3. From the outer part remove all the fibre. You will see 2 or 3 spots or holes. These are called the “eyes”.

  4. If the “eyes” are covered, soak the shell in warm water for 30 minutes and then gently tap the eye portion with a sharp object. I used a screw driver.

  5. Set the prepared Coconut Shell aside. 

Get the Steam Going
  1. If you are using a coconut shell: In the bottom half of a traditional puttu maker (or any vessel whose mouth is narrow-enough to hold the coconut shell), fill water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the water simmer.

  2. If you are using a ready made steel Chiratta Puttu Maker: Fill a pressure cooker with enough water and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the water simmer.

Getting the Puttu Podi Ready
  1. In a large plate or bowl, mix the puttu podi and salt together.

  2. Gradually add a little water at a time and mix well till the flour is damp and has the consistency of sand/bread crumbs. I test it by making a lump that holds shape but breaks instantly at the lightest pressure. 

Making the Puttu
  1. Place a 1/4″ layer of coconut at the bottom of the Coconut Shell or the Chiratta Puttu Maker.

  2. Fill the rest of the vessel/shell with the prepared Puttu mix.

  3. If you are using a coconut shell, cover with a damp cloth. For the steel puttu maker, cover with the provided lid. 

  4. If you are using a coconut shell, place the coconut shell on the mouth of the puttu maker. Turn up the heat and let the Puttu steam for about 6 minutes. 

  5. If you are using a steel puttu maker:, Remove the weight from the lid of the pressure cooker. Fix the lid on to the pressure cooker. Place the Puttu Maker in the place of the weight. Turn up the heat and let the Puttu steam for about 6 minutes.

  6. Turn off the heat and let the Puttu cool for 5 minutes.

  7. Gently uptun the puttu into a plate.

  8. Serve while hot with Kadala Curry.

Kadala Curry: Black Chickpea Curry in a gravy made with coconut and spices
Kadala Curry

Recipe for a No Onion, No Garlic Kadala Curry

Kerala’s Famous Kadala Curry (No Onion, No Garlic Version)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Soaking Time
6 hrs
Total Time
45 mins

This is the recipe for Kerala’s Famous Kadala Curry which is served with Puttu. This version of Kadala Curry uses no onion and no garlic.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala
Keyword: Kadala Curry, Kerala Black Chickpea Curry, No Onion No Garlic Kadala Curry
Servings: 4 People
Author: Aruna
  • 1/2 Cup Kadala, Black Chickpeas (~100 gms)
For Masala
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Coconut
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Corns
  • 2″ Piece Cinnamon
  • 4 to 6 Cloves
  • 1 Petal Star Anise
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
For Tempering
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Red Chillies
  • 2 Green Chillies, Vertically Sliced
  • 6 to 8 Curry Leaves
Other Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt to Taste
Cooking the Kadala
  1. Wash the black chickpeas well and soak them in 2 cups water for at least six hours. 

  2. Drain all the water and add 3/4 cup fresh water.

  3. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.

  4. Set aside.

Making the Masala
  1. Over medium flame, heat the coconut oil.

  2. Add coriander seeds, pepper corns, fennel, star anise, cinnamon and cloves. 

  3. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or till aromatic.

  4. Add coconut and stir-fry till coconut changes colour to golden brown.

  5. Let the mix cool and then grind with a little water to a fine paste. I use the water in which the chickpeas are cooked while grinding.

Making the Kadala Curry
  1. In a kadai, heat 2 tsp oil.

  2. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they crackle.

  3. Add red chillies, green chillies and curry leaves.

  4. Stir-fry for a few seconds.

  5. Add the cooked chick peas with the water, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt.

  6. Mix well and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Add the ground masala and mix well.

  8. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  9. Take off the heat, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  10. Serve the Kadala Curry with Puttu or Chapati.

Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry: Steamed Rice Flour and Coconut Cake Served with a Black Chickpea Curry
Chiratta Puttu and Kadala Curry

You can see what my fellow bloggers have made for the Kerala fest by clicking on the logo below.


  1. I remember those days when my mom will save up these cherattai with eyes to do the puttu and we will take them away to pretend play and fill them with mud… lovely memories you brought back with this beautiful recipe

  2. This dish is new to me Aruna. But it sounds so flavorful and with you easy to follow recipe, I would definitely love to give it a try .

  3. What an innovative way to make puttu Aruna. I’ve not tasted puttu but have not been able to make it till now because of the lack of the molds. Now I know I can use a coconut shell. An onion and garlic free kadala is a good way to enjoy this curry during Navratri.

  4. Wow , innovative method. I always wanted to make puttu but did not had the instrument. Can make it now. Thank you for the detailed instructions

  5. its massive impressive, Aruna ! the way u have used the shell.. I like eating puttu, not much into making it :p this is a great pick for the theme and ingredients !

  6. Puttu in coconut shell is new to me. Never tried. Waiting to reach home and try it. Kadala curry looks delicious and flavourful. Its my favourite curry with black chickpea. Lovely share.

  7. This post has my heart for 2 reasons – the puttu is made with red rice which is softer and flavourful than its white counterpart and secondly, the coconut shells used for cooking. I cannot imagine my Kerala visits without overstuffing myself with Puttu and Kadala curry. My husband unfortunately is not a big fan but I make this for myself and enjoy it with ghee and sugar on the side.

  8. I always make puttu in my kutti, but if I feel really lazy and want smaller portions, then the small mould comes out… 🙂 I remember puttu being made in chiratta, but when the population at home is big, the chiratta is always not an option… hehe… The combination of puttu and kadala curry is soul for a Keralite, hardly anybody who doesn’t like the combination. I love it with small bananas more… total yum!

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.