Thursday, October 20, 2016

Unniyappam (Sweet rice pancake puffs)



Unniyappam! I am yet to find someone who does not love this delicious snack.  My dad loved these. Mom always made these for Onam and Vishu (two very important festivals of Kerala) and whenever dad asked for it. 

Many temples also offer unniyappam as offerings to the god. The temple most famous for unniyapppam is the kottarakkara Ganapathy kshethram. They are smaller in size comparatively but are so delicious that you will lose count of how many you ate. Easily you can pop two at time into your mouth. My brother-in-law visits this temple at least once in a month and never forgets to bring this delicacy. If you are not fast enough, they will be gone within minutes.

This is a very simple snack made of rice/rice flour, banana, jaggery/palm sugar with bits of crunchy coconut and flavored with cardamom. Sometimes toasted sesame seeds are also added. It is made in special pans with indentations.

Rice-1 cup
Banana-2 small or 1 big
Jaggery-3/4 cup
Baking soda-1/2 tsp (optional)
Coconut pieces-1/4 cup
Crushed cardamom-1 tsp
Oil as required for frying

Soak the rice for at least 4 hrs and grind it with banana using very little water. Melt jaggery and add it to the batter along with soda and mix well. Keep it aside for 2-3 hrs.

Fry the coconut pieces in a little oil until golden brown drain and add it to the batter once cooled. Mix in the cardamom.


Now heat a Unniyappam chatti with enough oil. Once hot, spoon the batter into the indentations and cook until the batter on top has set.


Turn them over and cook for another few minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Enjoy!


Tips:

1. After mixing the jaggery, if the batter is thin (it should be like
    the batter for idli or pancakes), you can add some all purpose
    flour or Rava/ or some rice flour and adjust the consistency.
2. Instead of grinding the rice, you can drain the rice after 1 hr of
    soaking and dry it on a muslin cloth and powder it.  You could
    directly use rice flour too.
3. If you are not using baking soda, then rest the batter longer. Say
    for at least 6 hrs.
4. Unniyappam chatti or pan is usually made of cast iron. The 
    indentations are completely filled with oil. the batter is poured
    into that oil when hot. That is why you see the unniyappams
    made in these to be uniformly browned. But now a days you also
    get non stick version of these pans. I believe Non resident
    Indians prefer buying these pans as they are light weight and           easy to pack in your check-in bags. Color of Unniyappams made
    in these pans depends on the amount of oil you use.

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