Putu bambu is an Indonesian and Malay cake originating from the Tamil puttu. It consists of rice flour cooked with palm sugar, pandan leaf and desiccated coconut, steamed in bamboo pipes. It is quite similar to Putu Mayam or Putu Piring or Kueh Tutu in Malaysia and Singapore. They are made using a special mould.
In Indonesia, it is being prepared by steaming it in the bamboo pipes. Needless to say, I couldn’t find the bamboo pipes here in the United States. The only reason I have these because I had my mom brought them over. She actually bought them from the Putu Bambu seller who were at first a bit hesitant to sell them to her, but he did finally.
The bamboo pipes set comes with of course the pipes and the little coins.
The pipe has three spikes inside to hold the coins. I’m still wondering why they designed it like that. Why not just create the pipe that has a bottom. My only guess is because they need the steam to go through from the bottom of the steamer and it’s easier to create it the way it is now.
This is my childhood late night snack. They only sell it in the evening time and we absolutely loved it and still am. I know it’s probably impossible to make this without the mould and bamboo pipes, but I just thought it’s fun to share how this Putu Bambu is made as it is also a learning experience for me.
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1 pandan leaf (screwpine leaves)- knotted
- 14 oz rice flour
- 2 oz grated gula Jawa / Indonesian palm sugar
- 5 oz finely grated coconut (thawed if frozen)
- ½ tsp salt
- Generous amount of granulated sugar
- Prepare the topping by mixing the grated coconut and salt and steam for 5 minutes
- Boil water, salt and pandan leaves in a small sauce pan. Discard the pandan leaves
- Start with ½ cup of water to rice flour and add more if you need until you can form a dough, but not too wet. The dough should be a bit "dryish" feeling, but that's the way it is and leave it like that
- Use a strainer and place the dough on the strainer and strain it as if you are grating a cheese and you will get little granules
- Put ½ Tbsp of the granules in a bamboo pipe (with the coin already inserted inside the pipe). DO NOT PACK/PRESS the granules. It is supposed to be loose, then add 1 tsp of Gula Jawa/Palm sugar, cover with another ½ Tbsp of the granules and again DO NOT PACK/PRESS
- Prepare your steamer. Steam over high heat for 10-15 minutes or longer uncovered
- When ready, push the Putu Bambu out. You can use chopstick and slowly push the coin out and the Putu Bambu will slide out. Don't panic if it doesn't really hold its shape. Line your serving dish with banana leaves if you want. That's how it was served in Indonesia
- Sprinkle with the grated coconut and salt mixture along with generous amount of sugar on top of it
- Ready to Chow 😉