Some say puligi, others say purini, I say puteni!
Ok that sounded funnier in my head, now not so much.
Moving on, today was one of those days where a little rain outside, a slight drop in the temperature sends you to the kitchen looking for some comfort. In my case, comfort food island style. Like Puteni (Tongan for pudding) served with warm custard. Now I have to admit that I’ve never made puteni before but I certainly know how I like it. Moist and not too sweet with an amazing caramel colour, Tongan puteni is traditionally steamed in a pudding cloth producing a firm and slightly chewy texture. I have an aunty who makes the best puteni and it is my mission to track her down and learn how to make this before year end.
In the meantime I was intrigued with the different varieties of what seems to be the same thing among the islands. In Samoa they have puligi ,purini in Fiji, and in Tonga we have puteni. Recently a dear friend posted up a link for purini by Spicy Side Up, so I decided to give this a whirl.
The recipe was fairly easy to follow and I steamed mine in a traditional pudding pan over the stove in a large pot partly filled with water. The original recipe called for cocoa powder and vanilla but I decided against adding these in trying to get a more nutmeg styled pudding. I borrowed nutmeg from my lovely neighbour and found the rest of the ingredients in my pantry. I also had custard powder and in my humble opinion, you’ve got to have custard with this pudding otherwise its just not puteni or should I say purini. And before you knew it, I had turned a puteni craving into a purini reality!
Well it turned out good but I wasn’t entirely sure about it. It smelled and tasted just like puteni but for me the texture was a little different and I am guessing it’s because I used a traditional pudding pan and not a pudding cloth like how my aunty makes its. And because this was my first go at this I wasn’t entirely sure I got it right. So for your benefit and for the advancement of better island cooking, I test drove this pudding first with custard, then with butter and then again with custard. After 2 bowls with custard and couple of (small) slices with butter, I came to the educated view that I needed more practice and maybe more recipes to try. Research done. Very happy tummy.
Watch this space as the search for the perfect puteni continues. At least now I can say Purini there, done that!
Ok, again not so funny once written down.
Here’s the recipe for Purini adapted from Spicy Side Up
- 3 cups plain flour (sifted)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 tin coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- Melt sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat, taking care not to burn the sugar.
- Slowly add coconut cream to the melted sugar, one tablespoon at a time, stirring it in well after each addition.
- Stirring constantly, bring the syrup to the boil then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk ingredients together.
- Fold the sugar syrup into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the batter into a buttered 2 litre pudding tin and steam for 1½ hours in a large pot over the stovetop.
- Test if fully cooked with a skewer inserted into the middle of pudding and return to stovetop if necessary.
If you don't have a pudding pan, simply use a container smaller than a large pot like a rice cooker insert and simply cover with tin foil.