Putu Piring is a traditional Malay kuih or local dessert that is best enjoyed hot during rainy days. It is made using rice flour and palm sugar as filling.
It is favoured by the locals due to its milky and sweet taste, and often enjoyed during tea time or just as a snack to munch around.
What is Putu Piring
Putu Piring is a steamed rice cake commonly available in Malaysia, especially at night market or Ramadhan bazaar. The dessert is also prevalent in Indonesia and Singapore, each with different names and recipes.
The main ingredient of the dessert is rice flour with palm sugar as filling and shredded coconut as a garnish. Putu Piring is steamed, giving it a soft and moist texture.
History of Putu Piring
The name of Putu Piring derived from the ingredient and the shape of the dessert itself. ‘Putu’ comes from the Tamil language that refers to food made from flour or rice. The word ‘piring’ is a Malay word for the saucer and the shape of this dessert mimics the shape of it. Putu Piring requires meticulous and straightforward steps to prepare. Traditionally, Putu Piring was formed without using a mould. Instead, it was manually shaped by pressing the mixture in between both hands before steaming. Today, the rice flour is poured inside an aluminium mould followed by a spoonful of palm sugar. The flour is then poured on top of the palm sugar until it covers the sugar. Next, a muslin cloth is placed over the flour mix, which then inverted onto the steamer.
Once cooked, the dessert is placed on a banana leaf and sprinkled with grated coconut.
Variety of Putu Piring
There are many variations of Malay dessert that are similar to Putu Piring. The most comparable is a dessert called Putu Bambu. They are quite similar but differ in shape and the making process. Putu Bambu is cylindrical due to the container used.
The container is usually made from either bamboo or wood, hence the name. Putu Bambu is also served on a banana leaf and topped with shredded coconut.
Putu Piring is not to be confused with ‘Kue Putu Mangkok’, though they are similar in shape. The difference is in thickness, where the latter is thicker than the former. Kue Putu Mangkuk is mostly famous in Singapore and Indonesia, and the fillings may vary, such as grounded peanuts instead of palm sugar.
While Putu Piring is widespread in central Malaysia, Kelantan has their take of the dessert, which is Putu Halba (fenugreek). It uses cassava or ubi kayu as the main ingredient and often mixed with fenugreek and palm sugar as the filling. Putu Halba is best enjoyed on a rainy day.
Where to buy Putu Piring in Malaysia
You can easily find Putu Piring at roadside stalls and night markets (Pasar Malam) and the dessert is usually freshly made on the spot by the hawkers. If you are in Klang Valley or Selangor, you can get Putu Piring from Putu Piring Hijrah (Batu Caves) or Putu Piring Abah (Nilai).
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