Unnakkai (A traditional sweet snack from Malabar)

Unnakkai (also called Unnakaya, Kai Ada, Unnakka, and Kai Porichathu) is a spindle shaped traditional dessert originated from Malabar region of India. In Malabar, it is a delicacy among Muslims and serves as an important dessert on Iftar/Eid-al-Fitr /Ramzan /Ramadan /Nombu Perunaal as a breaking fast (Nombu Thurakkal). It is also very popular at their weddings and other festivals.
Unnakai is a rich, heavy dessert made by steamed mashed ripe plantain (Kerala banana/ Nethrappazham/ Ethappazham), ghee, coconut, sugar or jaggery, some dry fruits & nuts, and cardamom. The other day I heard much about this royal dessert from my Calicut friends but I lacked confidence to prepare it. During this Ramadan season I thought of giving it a try and it turned out very well, my family and I enjoyed it heavenly.
Normally I bought ripe Kerala banana in order to prepare pazhampori or pazham nirachathu as an evening snack with tea. Now days they especially my hubby asked me to prepare unnakkai instead of pazhampori 🙂 Considering the health part, I promised to prepare this rich dish on special occasions like Ramadan season 😉 Yeah! it tastes awesome and the recipe is interesting; the only challenging part is its filling and shaping process, check it out the video how I managed all 😀

Recipe Type Dessert/ Sweet Snack/ Kerala
Cooking and Preparing Time 30 to 45 Minutes
I made 8 Unnakkai for following recipe

Ingredients For Unnakkai(A sweet snack From Malabar)

Ingredient Quantity Notes
Kerala Banana/ Ethappazham 3 (Medium Size) Medium Ripe
Ghee 3 Tablespoon Adjust
Grated coconut ½ Cup
Sugar 1 Tablespoon Adjust as per your taste
Cashew Nuts 2 Tablespoons Break into small Pieces
Raisins 2 Tablespoon
Cardamom powder 2 Pinches
Oil For Deep Fry

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Method For Unnakkai(A sweet snack From Malabar)

• Heat 1 Tablespoon ghee in a pan.
• Roast cashew nuts and raisins until light brown. Remove from pan.
• Add ½ cup coconut, roast unit light brown.
• Add sugar, sauté until melt.
• Turn off the heat, add cardamom. Mix well.
• Add roasted cashew nuts and raisins, combine well.
• Our coconut mixture is ready; leave it to cool for filling purpose.
• Steam Ethappazham /Kerala banana until soft.
• When cooled, remove its skin and seeds.
• Blend/mash without water and make soft dough form.
• Grease some ghee/oil in your palms (it helps to prevent sticking). Take some banana dough, make a flat circle.
• Place 1 tablespoon coconut mixture, cover and seal well. Make a spindle/ cylinder shape.
• Repeat this process until both mixtures are done.
• Heat oil in a frying pan.
• Fry Unnakkai shapes until golden brown without breaking.
• Serve hot or warm, Enjoy 🙂
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Notes and Tips

Choose medium ripe kerala banana for get correct texture of dough.

Do not add water in its grinding time, cut the steamed banana in small pieces and blend/rotate in the mixer 2 or 3 times.

You can use any veg oil instead of ghee but adding ghee gives you the original traditional taste.

You can add jaggery instead of sugar and also adjust the sweet taste as per your own taste bud.


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