Broken rice cakes cooked with milk and coconut.35_paputtu

  • 2 cups thari
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated coconut (fresh please!)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar or to taste
  • Salt to taste


  • You will need small thalis with raised rims, or dhokla plates. Do try and find some plates with reasonable depth – paputtu is best in thick  slices.
  • A sekala, idli steamer or a pressure cooker wide enough to accommodate the plates you are using. If using the latter, steam without the weight on.
  • A bamboo steamer will work too, but you may need to increase the cooking time by 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Flat wooden sticks to separate the plates when stacking in the sekala. Improvise with anything that provides a stable base for the plates to rest on and that doesn’t restrict the flow of steam.

Wash the thari and soak for 1/2 an hour in the 2 cups of water.  Add the grated coconut, milk, cardamom, sugar and salt and mix well, squeezing the coconut to extract a little milk.  Divide equally between plates and steam for 25-30 minutes or until done. The puttu should look firm, with no soggy bits in the centre. Cover the plates with a clean tea cloth and allow the puttu to cool a little before cutting into pieces.

Best eaten with a simple mutton or chicken curry. Or, make a sweet breakfast of it with fresh butter and honey.

This recipe makes three plates of paputtu. The plates I use hold  500ml each. Do not fill the plates more than two-thirds full to allow room for the thari to expand.


  • Increase the sugar to taste for a sweeter cake that can be eaten on its own, or with a little ghee or melted butter.
  • Replace the milk with light coconut milk for more coconut flavour.This version is good with a spicier curry.
  • Powdered coconut milk works nicely if fresh is unavailable.

Coorg Lamb (Mutton) Chops

Chef Anjana Shanker’s take on Coorg Lamb (Mutton) Chops

Yerchi Bartha Kari, a dry fried mutton or lamb dish:anjana shankar

Serves: 6-8

  • 6 -8 Lamb (or Mutton) chops
  • ½ tsp fresh turmeric (or powder)
  • 1 tsp Kaachampuli
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Combine turmeric, kaachampuli, olive oil and chili powder in a bowl. Toss the lamb chops and mix to coat the chops and let it marinade for 30 minutes.

Spice for lamb chops:

  • 8 small red pearl onions
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (light)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves

Combine and grind to a fine paste.

To cook lamb chops:

  • Ground spice from above
  • 1 cup of water (or substitute coconut milk)
  • 1 Tbsp of Kaachampuli
  • Cilantro leaves or mint leaves for garnish
  • Crispy shallots (optional) for garnish

Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add the finely ground spices and cook on low heat for about 2 – 3 minutes, or until aromatic.

Add marinated lamb chops and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add 1 cup of water and cook on low heat until almost dry.  Season with salt and cook until the meat is tender. (There should be very little gravy left in the pan). Add kaachampuli and remove from heat. Granish with crispy shallots, cilantro and mint leaves.  Serve with roasted potatoes or roasted vegetables.

Simple chicken curry

A very simple chicken or mutton curry

Fresh, subtly spiced, and perfect with paputtu, nuuputtu, or steamed rice.38_simplechickencurry

  • 1 kg chicken, jointed (or 1/2 kg stewing goat or lamb meat)
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced or chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp very finely ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Kachampuli or tamarind extract

Grind to a paste

  • 2 cups freshly grated coconut
  • 5 – 6 cloves
  • 2″ cassia bark
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  • A small bunch of fresh coriander (optional)

Mix the meat with all the dry spices in the first group. Add salt and set aside for 1/2 hour. Heat the oil in a deep pan, kadhai or wok and fry the onions till soft and just beginning to brown. Put in the marinated meat and fry on high heat for a few minutes until the meat is evenly browned.

Add 3 to 4 cups of hot water and cook on medium low (or pressure cook) until nearly done. Add the ground coconut and spice paste and simmer gently until the meat is tender. Add 1/2 tsp kachampuli or 1 tsp thick tamarind paste a few minutes before removing from the heat.

Prawn curry

Spot prawn curry

  • 1/2 kg spot prawns,(or any prawns or shrimp) shells on, cleaned if necessary and heads on or off (but do use them in the dish!)37_prawncurry
  • •Sprinkle the prawns with a little salt, turmeric and chilli powder and mix to coat them evenly
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • •or
  • •1 1/2 cups of finely sliced shallots
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2-3 green chillis, slit
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of freshly grated coconut, ground to a paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin, roasted dark
  • 1 tsp mustard, roasted
  • •Grind the mustard and cumin together
  • Oil, preferably coconut
  • 2-3 pieces of kudampuli (dried Garcinia gummi-gutta)
  • •or
  • •1 tsp tamarind extract


Heat some oil in a pan and put the prawns in. Do not allow them to cook through, just mix them around gently till the shells just begin to change colour. Remove and place in a separate dish.

Add a little more oil to the pan and put in the crushed garlic. Fry until it begins to colour slightly, then add the onions and green chillis, followed by the curry leaves. Cook until the onions soften and just begin to brown.

Add the ground coconut and sauté until the mixture begins to look dry and the coconut begins to release its oil. Add the turmeric, coriander, and the ground roasted cumin and mustard. Cook for about a minute, then add salt and two cups of hot water. Add the tamarind paste or kudampuli. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the prawns to the broth and cook on low heat until done – not more than 2-3 minutes!

Serve with steamed rice and wedges of lime or lemon.

*For a Coorg fish curry, you would add a few drops of kachampuli before finishing, but in this instance, I prefer to use pieces of kudampuli. If you don’t have any, just serve the curry up with lemon or lime wedges.

Passion fruit dressing

Pan fried fish with savoury passion fruit dressing

Remove the pulp from two ripe purple passion fruit and push it through a strainer to remove the seeds. You should have about two tablespoons of thick extract.36_passionfruitdressing

For the passion fruit dressing:

  • 2 tbsp thick passion fruit extract
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 3 tbsp neutral tasting oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves only (save the stems)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated young ginger
  • 1/4 tsp finely sliced hot green chilli
  • Salt to taste

Chop the coriander leaves finely and whisk all the ingredients together to make an emulsion. Set aside.Whisk again just before serving.


For the fish:

(to serve two)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots.
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Finely chopped coriander stems

Pat the cleaned fish dry and then rub a mixture of salt, pepper and chopped coriander stems over and inside the fish.

Heat the oil and butter in a pan (you can bake or broil the fish too, but trout loves this butter bath!) and add the shallots.

Stir for a minute, then add the fish. Cook both sides on medium heat. Remove to a platter and serve it up with a side of roast potatoes and a dollop of the passion fruit dressing.

I think this would make a great marinade for pork ribs or chops and oily fish like salmon. It also makes a terrific salad dressing – perfumed, sharp and with just a little bite.

Pavakké cooked in milk

Pavakké (teasle gourd) cooked in milk

  • • 1/2 kilo tender pavakké, sliced into quarters33_paavakkeinmilk
  • • There is a mild hint of bitterness to the gourd (it is related to bitter gourd). If that doesn’t appeal, you may want to blanch it briefly before you proceed .This recipe works well with snake gourd, ridge gourd, zucchini, and of course, bottle gourd.
  • • 1 cassia leaf
  • • 1″ stick cinnamon/cassia
  • • 10 or more black peppercorns
  • • 2 – 3 cloves
  • • 2 – 3  dry red chillis (I like bedgi chillis for this)
  • • 1 tbsp ghee
  • • 1 – 2 cups whole milk
  • • Salt to taste

Heat the ghee in a pan and put in the cassia leaf, followed by the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and red chillis, in that order. Fry for a couple of minutes, allowing the chillis to colour the oil but not darken too much.

Add the pavakké, stir to mix , and cook for a couple of minutes. Add salt, cover and cook until half done. Thena add the milk and simmer very gently until done.

So delicious, make more than you think you’ll need! This also makes a wonderful winter soup.

* based on a recipe from Vegetarian Delights by Malini Bisen-Wilco Publishing House, ISBN 81-87288-14-0

Mrs Kitty Bellliapa’s dry pork recipes

Mrs. Kitty Belliappa’s onakk yerchi barthad and onakk yerchi curry

Dry fried smoked pork


  • Smoke dried pork 250 gm (chop into smaller pieces if required)
  • 1 onion – thin long slices
  • 2 green chillies – long slice
  • Curry leaves – few
  • 1 tomato – chopped
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric – ¼ tsp
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp
  • Kachampuli – ¼- ½ tsp
  • Oil – for frying – as required


Wash the dried pork in hot water. Cook it in a pressure cooker (let it cook for about 3 whistles) and keep it aside after draining the water. Take oil in a frying pan and let it heat up under a slow flame. Add chopped onion, green chillies, curry leaves, tomato, salt, chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric and kachampuli and fry it for a minute while stirring it. Add the pork and mix it well. Let it cook for about 5-10 min. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Dried Pork Curry

This needs a masala to be prepared first.



  • Coconut – ½, grated
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Onion 1 – chopped
  • Garlic – 2 pieces
  • Jeera – ¼ tsp

Preparing the masala:

Grind the above ingredients into a fine paste and keep it aside



  • Dried pork – 250 gm
  • 1 onion – thin long slices
  • 2 green chillies – long slice
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Oil – for frying – as required


Wash the dried pork in hot water. Cook it in a pressure cooker (let it cook for about 3 whistles) and keep it aside (don’t drain the water). Heat the oil in a pan/vessel (you will be preparing the curry in it – so choose the size accordingly). Add all the ingredients (except pork) and fry for a few minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add cooked pork and additional water (if required). Cook until it boils. Garnish with coriander leaves.


Latha’s Therme palya

This recipe from my friend Latha, combines thermé shoots (edible bracken ferns) with eggs in a tasty scramble.

Latha’s Thermé palya41_thermepalya

  • 1/2 kg thermé shoots
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6-7 dry red chillis, broken into large bits
  • 3-4 eggs
  • •or
  • •1/2 cup grated coconut, ground to a paste
  • Rock salt


Pick over the thermé shoots and discard any that are not tender enough to snap easily. Wash thoroughly in plenty of cold water. Break (don’t chop) the fronds into pieces about 4″ long. You may blanch them if you wish.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the red chillis. Cook for a minute, then add the thermé. Stir to mix and fry uncovered till the greens start to wilt.The volume will reduce considerably, so do not add salt until the thermé seems tender and down to about 1/4 its original volume – in approximately 12-15 minutes.

Break in the eggs and stir gently to coat the greens. It’s ready when the eggs are set to your liking. If you’re using coconut instead, add it now and cook for another minute before removing.

Finish with a squeeze of citron or lemon juice.

Thambuttu cookies

I love thambuttu, and I love cookies, so what better way to enjoy them both than in:

Thambuttu cookies45_thambuttucookies

  • 175 gms thambuttu podi (see thambuttu recipe)
  • 120 gms ripe banana, mashed
  • 60 gms  sucanat or 50 gms turbinado sugar
  • 60gms freshly grated coconut
  • 30 gms ghee, melted
  • 1/8 tsp freshly powdered cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sesame (raw)

Preheat your oven to 350°C. Prepare a cookie sheet to hold about 20 small cookies.

Mix all the ingredients except the sesame together to make a soft dough. Make small balls of the dough and dip one half in the sesame. Flatten the balls slightly as you place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and remove to a wire rack.

Bite into one while it’s still warm and let that thambuttu deliciousness waft over you. Even better, pair this with a hot cup of coffee, sweetened with palm jaggery.

These cookies will soften over a couple of days. They’re still good – they then taste like kajjaya!

*If you’re unfamiliar with the texture of cookies made with rice flour, these may seem a little crumbly and grainy compared to those made with wheat flour.I wouldn’t change this here, because that slight graininess is something that I enjoy in the original thambuttu. I’m still working on refining this recipe and I’d appreciate any feedback from readers who try this recipe out.