Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sri Lankan Pittu (Rice Flour and Coconut Dish)

Sri Lankan Pittu

Traditional Sri Lankan food always makes me very happy, hungry and ready to eat.  Most of it involves very simple ingredients like rice and coconut.  

One dish that is made from coconut and rice flour is called Pittu.  My mother says that Pittu is her favorite dish to eat and will gladly eat it every day.... I am totally ready to do that as well. 

Pittu comes to Sri Lanka from the Kerala region of India and is known as Puttu or Putu there.  The recipes I have read about the Kerala version is made with slightly different ingredients, but this recipe is how Sri Lankans make and eat Pittu.

Pittu is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Sri Lanka. Now a days it is also eaten for lunch or dinner since people are off and rushing to work and school in the morning and cannot eat a leisurely long breakfast. 

The process of making pittu is simply mixing coconut with the rice flour to form a "crumbled texture" mixture.  Then that mixture is placed in the cylinder tube of the Pittu steamer and steamed for about 5-6 minutes and it comes out as a solid Pittu tube.  You can use either red or white rice flour to make pittu so it is a wonderful gluten-free dish.   

The pittu is then eaten with warmed coconut milk, lunu miris and any spicy meat, fish or vegetable curry.    I love that such simple ingredients can create beautiful and delicious food.  Now that's something to really celebrate!


5 cups desiccated coconut
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
1 can hot water (use the coconut milk can to measure)
2 tsp salt
8 cups rice flour

Step 1: Place the desiccated coconut in bowl and pour coconut milk and can of hot water over it.  Mix well and allow coconut to soak for 20-30 minutes. 
Step 2:  Sift together rice flour and salt.  Set aside. 

Step 3:  Set up steamer with hot water and bring pittu steamer to a boil until you see the steam coming out of the top of the steamer.   
Step 4:  In a new bowl, take up cup of sifted rice flour/salt mixture and mix with 2/3cup soaked coconut mixture.  Use fingers to create a "crumble texture".   

Note:  This texture is really important. It should be a dry crumble so sprinkle a little flour mixture to make sure you get the right texture.
Step 5: Take the steamer tube and place the piece that separates the tube part from the steamer part.   It's the little metal circle in the photo shown here that has holes.  These holes allow the steam to go up through the pittu mixture and steam it all together into a tube.   

Note: We recommend that you wash this round metal piece between each steaming because it will get pittu residue on it and that will prevent the steam from going through the holes.  I simply placed a small bowl of cold water to dip it into and clean off quickly before resetting it in the pittu steamer.   

 Step 6: Then fill the tube with the dry crumble mixture of the rice flour and coconut until you get to the top.  Place the  lid on the steamer tube and back on the base that is full of boiling water. 
Step 7: Steam pittu for 5 minutes until you see steam coming out of the top of the pittu steamer.  Then allow it to steam for about 1-2 more minutes.  That means the steam has worked it's way through all the pittu ingredients and steamed everything together.  Take the pittu tube off  the base and use a wooden dowel/pole to push the pittu out of the steamer. 

Step 8:  Repeat until all the mixture is used and you have cooked your pittu.  
Note:  My mother says that once you are steaming the pittu, work on making the crumble for the next tube of pittu.  It's best to work in batches otherwise if you mix all the flour/salt with the soaked coconut at one time the crumbles mixture becomes too tough or soggy.

This amount of pittu will serve 6-8 people or more.  Eat it with, coconut milk gravy,  lunu miris and any spicy meat, fish or vegetable curry.

Note:  To make the coconut gravy just mix 1 can (15oz) with 1 tsp of salt. Stir well and this is poured over the pittu and eaten with the other condiments and curries. 

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


  1. I would be ready to eat this everyday too! Looks very comforting and VERY delicious.


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  2. What a delicious rice preparation! It would pair deliciously with so many entrees :)

  3. How very, very interesting. Just rice flour and coconut. Sounds good to me especially served with spicy meat.

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