Happy Puthari everyone! Today, I am taking you on a journey back to my roots, my native, my happy place – Coorg. Coorg was our home, mainly for all our summer vacations back in our school years. I have beautiful memories and food stories attached to my land. And I intend to bring to you all those wonderful delicacies. We celebrated one of our most important festivals yesterday – Puthari. It is the annual rice harvest festival, usually falls towards the end of Novemeber or early December and is celebrated with grand fevour and gaiety amongst Coorgis / Kodavas.
The festival is similar to thanksgiving and brings the entire community together dancing and singing to the chants of ‘Poli, Poli, Poli Deva!’ Food is always an integral part of any celebration and Puthari is no different. Various rice preparations in the form of puttus and puddings ( payasam) are served.
When you move overseas, it is important that you explore and adopt to local traditions. Personally for me, it is also very important that my family and I remain grounded to my roots and culture. And so in my quest to keep these important traditions alive at my place, I wanted to cook some Coorgi specialties.
One such speciality is Thambutt or Thambittu. It is essentially made with bananas, thambutt powder, coconut and sesame seeds. The most essential part of this dish is the Thambutt powder or podi as we call it. I disliked Thambutt as a kid and my parents had many failed attempts getting my sister and me to like it. Over the years, I have really come to like it so much. The wonderful aroma of cardamom and banana and the crunch, is unique. To think of it – it was really the ghee in Thambutt that I disliked. (Silly me) Not that I like ghee now but I have definitely developed a taste for it.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I was able to replicate this dish for the first time ever and reproduce a part of my tradition and heritage. I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious treat from Coorg.
THAMBUTT PODI OR POWDER
100gms par-boiled rice
1/4 tsp fenugreek /methi seeds
¼ tsp cardamom seeds
- In a pan, roast the par-boiled rice, fenugreek seeds and cardamom seeds on a medium flame, until the colour changes to dark brown.
- Set aside in a plate and allow it to cool completely before you grind it to a fine dry powder.
- The powder can be stored in a dry airtight container for later use.
*Note: I have used approximations here. You can add more cardamom depending on your preference. Be conversative with using fenugreek – too much can give a bitter flavor to your dish.
4 medium ripe bananas
4 tsp Thambutt powder
2 tsp sesame seeds, roasted
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
2 tsp ghee for serving
Sugar/honey as required
Pinch of salt
- Peel and mash the bananas.
- Add sugar or honey to adjust the sweetness according to your taste. I added only 1 tsp of honey.
- Add roasted sesame seeds and grated coconut to the mixture. Keep some aside for garnishing.
- Add the thambutt powder, salt and combine well.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top it with remaining sesame seeds and coconut.
- Before serving top it with melted ghee (clarified butter).
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Love & Hugs,