Monday, June 01, 2009

Putu Mayam/String Hoppers



Putu Mayam is one of my favorites when i was a child which is a long long time ago. During that time, hawkers come to your doorstep, they will promptly be at your street, the same time everyday, some on bicycles, push carts and some on foot. Recalling some of these friendly hawkers who had become friends from our frequent beckonings, bring fond memories especially the Kacang Putih man, who will call me LULU. The Kacang Putih man and the Putu Mayam man were Indian, so, i have always assoicated Putu Mayam as an Indian Cuisine and indeed it is - a Sri Lankan Delight. I only realised that this light and satisfying snack was called 'String Hoppers" when i was able to read.

Making Putu Mayam was fun while it lasted, my arm muscles had improved from all the pressing - the texture of the dough had to be just right to fasilitate easy flow of noodles.
Putu Mayam has to be fluffy and dry, the strands of noodles, be the fineness ever and to achieved this, one has to have the proper size template to be used in a 'muruku mould'. I made a template out of a plastic jar cover and pricked very tiny holes in it. My first batch of Putu Mayam turned out to be thick beehoon and loh see fun, luckily the template worked and i succeeded making a batch of Putu Mayam to satisfy me.


2 cups rice flour

2 tbsp tapioca starch
550 ml boiling water
1-2 tsp salt
1 cup grated coconut - white only - steam with 1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Parchment papers - perforated to make steam holes
A Muruku Press with a very fine template/Putu Mayam Press


Line basket for steaming with a clean napkin, put in the dry rice flour, steam for about 1 hour.

Put the rice flour and tapioca starch in a bowl. Pour boiling water, add salt all at once onto the flour, stirring with the handle of a wooden spoon until the flour is moistened. When cool enough, gather it together with the hand and ensure there are no pockets of dry flour by kneading lightly.
Fill Muruku/Putu Mayam Press with enough dough, squeeze dough through the fine holes in the Press at the same time moving the Press over each parchment paper, so that the fine strings fall in two circles.
Repeat making noodles and when done, put the noodles to steam over fast boiling water for 5 - 8 minutes or until noodles are cooked and translucent.
Remove from steamer, allow to cool slightly, then gently peel the putu mayam off the parchment paper away.
Serve with steamed coconut and brown sugar.



Beachlover's Kitchen said...

I wonder what type of mould I can sub if I don't have muruk mould? I miss putu mayam especially the coconut palm sugar .I saw Indian store sold Putut mayam in frozen form like roti canai but in different name..and now after looking at your post I know I can make it ourself here..thanks!

valkuan said...

Aunty Lily,

You are amazing loh! You can even make this in the US!! Peifu peifu. I love Putu Mayam ... can't have enough of it. Where did you get the PM press?

Unknown said...

beachlover's kitchen

i think a cookie press will do but you would have to make your own template.

pigpigscorner said...

I've never heard of this actually. Reminds me of mi shua.

Cindy Khor said...

PM really reminded me of my childhood life... and now that i had know how to make it with your recipe...thanks...

Anonymous said...


You are amazing lah!! Your recipes always triggered my fond childhood memories....

Thanks for sharing.

Lee from Calgary, Canada

Mary Bergfeld said...

I love the history you told of this dish.

Edith said...

ohhhhh i love this.... I used to have it during childhood time. It was like S$0.30 per serving. Now it is S$1+ to S$2. Can't believe it.

Perhaps it is time to make my own. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

I miss this too from my childhood days in Pg! I will definitely try the recipe. My aunt brought over from KL the actual wooden PM mould and also a pkt of the powder mix. Also, supposed to steam the PM over an inverted basket but your method sounds so much better! Thanks again!

Jaslene said...

I love checking out your blog 'cos you always have the most amazing food recipes which I've not seen in other food blogs (many popular ones are having common Asian food recipes).

I like Putu Mayam (though I never know what it's called). I'm surprised how simple the ingredients are and I know I can get them here in Texas. Unfortunately, I don't have the Muruku Press!!! Maybe I'll ask my family in Singapore to send me (if they can get it). They'll be surprised if they know that I'll make it myself. Hahaha...

For now, I'll just drool over your Putu Mayam. Your family is very lucky to have you.

Charmaine said...

Lily, I love, love putu mayam. My mom has recently learnt to make it here in Sydney. Absolutely delicious with brown sugar and coconut.

Anonymous said...

String hoppers are not putu mayam.

Anonymous said...

Lily, thanks for sharing this. It really does bring back memories. Being a busy, working mum, would it be possible to use the rice vermicelli sold in Asian stores instead of making them? I'm sure it would not taste the same, but then again I don't have the muruku mould...:-(

Florence said...

Wow! Amazing, you even made this yourself.
I got to try this too.
Missed eating them.
Got to get the template done then.

Unknown said...


can you please englighten me as to what is string hoppers?

shaz said...

Wow Lily, that's so impressive! I love putu mayam, great with brown sugar but also with chicken curry...yum! Btw, I always thought putu mayam was called string hoppers too, my grandma (Indian tamil), told me they were string hoppers..maybe it's a regional thing?

Unknown said...


try using jiangxi rice vermicelli, the fineness one that you can get. Cook it accordingly and then rince in cold water. Take a batch of vermicelli and make into a circle. Place on to perforated parchment paper and steam.

try it, it might work.

la canadienne said...

Auntylily, Thanks so much for posting this! It's one of my favourite foods!! Everytime I'm home for hols in S'pore, I HAVE to eat this!! Can't find Muruku mould where I live, do u think the strainers with holes in them will work jus as well? (I'm gonna b dreaming of Putu Mayam 2nite!)Thks for the recipe :D
Alberta, Canada

Unknown said...

la canadienne

like i told beachlover, a cookie press will work and also a potato riser but you would have to make a template of fine holes made out of plastic. the potato riser is wider, so it will need a very sturdy piece of plastic that will not buckle in pressure.

Dave Jones said...

Sounds delicious....picture looks so inviting.

Mei said...

Great job there, Lily!

These days, finding putu mayam in KL/Selangor is like finding a needle in a haystack. Not many people sell them anymore. T.T

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

Thanks for the recipe. I just bought the string hoppers' mould today and going to try it tomorrow. Why we need to steam the dry rice flour for an hour? What is the purpose?

When I bought the mould the Indian sales guy told me that Putu Mayam which we called in Malaysia is actually Iddyappam in India. The Putu that they called is actually the rice cake.

Evelyn from Doha

Unknown said...

evelyn from doha

i am not sure why but most putu recipes, like putu piring, putu bambu, call for the rice flour to be steamed first before using. Whatever the reason, the dough is very easy to handle.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lily

My name is Lynn and I am a Business Development executive with Rajah & Tann LLP, a law firm in Singapore.

Our firm intends to publish a food guide titled “Asia Food Guide” featuring dishes from 15 countries with the purpose of providing a copy to our clients when they visit any of our law firms in Asia.

We are writing to seek your permission to use the photo of the dish String Hoppers found on your blog. You may wish to note that we do not necessarily require a photo of the exact dish found in the recommended location and one that looks similar to it would suffice.

Please be informed that the Asia Food Guide will not be used for commercial purposes (e.g. sold in bookstores) and will only circulated within our firm and given to our clients in pdf form.

We hope you will be amenable to our request. We will of course attribute the photo used to your blog. Please also let us know if you would like us to send you a copy of this food guide when it is completed.

We look forward to hearing from you by Friday, 6 January 2012 if you have any objection to us using the photo. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Lynn Hong
Business Development Executive
Business Development

D +65 6232 0640
F +65 6225 6528

Unknown said...


yes, you have my blessing to use this picture.

best wishes to your food guide

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