Dark golden brown cute fried cakes are Kerala’s own ubiquitous snacks since ages – sort of a specialty of God’s own land. It’s musical to the ear when you hear Keralites ask for unniyappam and chaaya, a combination every Keralite adores to indulge.
Interestingly these appams are considered to be the favorite of Lord Ganesha, one of the deities of Hindus. Devotees adore Him and worship Him wholeheartedly.
In Hindu religion Lord Ganesha is the Lord of all circumstances and the provider of proper guidance and wisdom that leads to success, joy and good fortune in life. There are many temples in India where Lord Ganesha is the prime deity where the offerings are laddus and modak. But in Kerala, unniyappams are offered to Him as an act of piety.
However, given such ubiquity, in Kerala, the shape of ping pong ball shaped appams or unniyappams are still in the main stream. The size and the texture of it are darn appealing to anyone. The whiff of delicious fragrance is not something you forget that easily. And makes it nostalgic to folks like me who spent a copious amount of their childhood in Kerala.
Legend says that the original recipe of unniyappam is still a secret. Although, with the help of just few hints of ingredients – like rice flour, jaggery, coconut, etc.- folks delightfully delivered a close fit replica of it.
So far I’ve eaten quite a few variation from hard to soft unniyappams. Sometimes the hardness and the rubbery texture feel darn annoying. And the soft versions are irresistible. The alluring texture with caramelized crispy edges on the outside and gently yet evenly risen well cooked unniyappams are such a great treat.
To simplify the hardness of the whole unniyappam saga, adding a hint of wheat flour and adding fresh and mashed banana just before frying would do the ruse. It enhances the texture and the flavor splendidly. Since I didn’t have jaggery with me, I generously used thick molasses. I didn’t see much difference. Rather it tasted better 🙂
1 ½ cups of rice
¾ cup of wheat flour
1 ½ cups of molasses (or more according to the taste)
1 + 1 banana
¼ cup of grated coconut, gently toasted
½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp baking soda
Rinse and soak rice for about three hours.
In a mixer, grind the rice first. Once the rice is sort of smooth as paste, add the rest of the ingredients – wheat flour, molasses and one banana. Grind everything well with very less water. Consistency of the batter should be sort of thicker – yet not very thick. Transfer it in another wide open mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the banana – toasted coconut, salt and baking soda.
Allow the mixture to rest nicely. It needs time to bring out the real texture and flavor 🙂 That’s around 4-5 hours! The batter would be safe in the refrigerator for about a day.
Well, just before the frying process, mash the banana – the banana which we kept to be used in the end- and mix it in the batter. Mix everything nice and well one more time. Fry it in a pan specially made for unniyappams and enjoy.