Tuesday, 13 May 2014


What is Putu Piring ?

Putu piring is a type of round, steamed rice cake with a centre of melted palm sugar. A Malay adaptation of an Indian dish, it is a popular local snack. 


Made of ground rice flour, these cakes are shaped by conical moulds into circular mounds. A spoonful of gula Melaka (palm sugar) is placed in the centre and then the cake covered with a second layer of rice flour. A small cut of pandanus or banana leaf is pressed in before the ball of dough is turned upside down and left on a small cheesecloth covering a small plate for steaming. Each mould is covered with an individual conical lid and steamed for a few minutes. When cooked, the cakes are removed from their metal plate with the help of a small cut of banana leaf. They are topped with slightly salted grated coconut to add a savoury touch to the sweet cake. If the flour was sieved, the putu piring almost melts in the mouth. The lump of gula Melaka melts during the steaming process and oozes out at the first bite.

Putu piring can be eaten hot or cold. It is usually eaten as breakfast but is also served on festive occasions such as during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.


Putu piring has the same ingredients as putu mayam (Southern Indian string hoppers) and is served with the same toppings. Thus the dish is believed to be a Malay adaptation of the Indian snack. Piring in Malay for “plate”, probably a reference to the miniature plates on which the dish is cooked. Putu is the name of the basic steamed rice flour cakes which is found in Sri Lanka and Southern India. In fact, they are cooked in bamboo hollows, similar to putu bamboo, a variation of putu piring sans gula Melaka.

Putu piring moulds were made of aluminium as to ensure the freshness and the hawkers would grate the gula Melaka and coconut only upon serving the cooked item rather than prepare the toppings beforehand.

In Kuching, Putu Piring can be bought at somewhere near The Summermall at Kota Samarahan. This stall is operated by Encik Hussein which is a retired Army and making this Putu Piring is a business for him to earn for living. According to Encik Hussein, He will open his stall only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday or Public Holiday from 3.00pm till 6.00pm only. He sell the Putu Piring at RM0.50 per piece.