Unni appam Recipe/ Sweet Rice Fritters
Unni appam is a cute, fun treat that you cannot stop munching. They are deep-fried, delightful sweet bites and are a popular delicacy in Kerala. There is a centuries-old tradition of making unni appam or neyyappam during festivals like Onam and Vishu or as an offering in temples. However, they are also perfect for the rest of the year, and they are popular tea-time snacks. Unni appam contains rice flour, jaggery, banana, and coconut bits, adds flavor and a delightful crunch. They are a blast to make, and fitters are delicious, and I am sure you will love them too!
Unni appam is an old-fashioned tea-time snack. It is a snack I grew up eating and it always has a homey feel to it. If you are new to unni appam, the shape is because it is cooked in a special pan. Unni appam chatti or Appa karal is the characteristic pan used made of cast-iron or bell metal. It comes with multiple half-spherical moulds. The batter has a thick pouring consistency and puffs as it cooks in the pan. Dutch Aebleskiver pan is also good to make unni appam. If you don’t have the appam chatti, no worries, you can pour one small ladle full of batter directly into the hot oil. You will have flat fritters similar to Neyyappam.
Unni appam is made with rice flour or with ground rice paste. It needs to be fermented for a few hours, but a quicker version uses baking soda. Jaggery adds a rich molasses taste and a dark color, and banana makes it moist and soft. Cardamom and ghee add a pleasant aroma and taste.
Wheat flour and semolina unni appam are also delicious. Rice flour will make them crisp on the outside, while wheat flour makes unni appam is softer. Also, a 2:1 ratio of rice and wheat flour gives a nice texture to unniappam. Most of the time, I stick with our traditional recipe, but sometimes we add different kinds of fruits for a different flavor. Small banana (cherupazham), overripe plantain, stewed mango, pineapple, jack fruit are all delicious options. This is an easy recipe, and once you have mastered the basic unni appam recipe, there is a lot of variations and flavors you can try. So get your ingredients together and give this recipe a try. Trust me, they will be gone before you realize. It is so addictive!
Unniappam Recipe/ Sweet Rice Fritters
Rice flour- 2 cups
Jaggery – 250 grams
Sugar- 1/4 cup
Small banana- 4 ( cherupazham )
Ghee- 2 tbs
chopped coconut bites/ pieces- 1/4 cup
Black sesame seeds-1 tsp
Baking soda- 1/8 tsp (optional)
Cardamom powder- 1/8 tsp
Coconut oil for frying
To make unniappam with rice flour.
Wash and soak rice ( raw rice/Pacha ari) for 4-5 hours. Drain the rice and spread it on a kitchen towel, and allow it to air dry. Make a fine powder of the rice and sieve. The rice flour need not be silky soft. The ratio of fine rice flour and coarsely grounded rice flour is 3:1. Set this flour aside.
You can also make unni appam with ground rice batter. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in five to six cups of water. After 4-5 hours, drain the excess water. Add rice and jaggery syrup into a blender, and grind into a paste.
To make the batter
In a pan, boil 1 cup water and add the powdered jaggery. Let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till it melts and switch off and keep it aside to cool down completely.
Heat ghee in a pan and add the chopped coconut bits, and roast till it turns golden. Add black sesame seeds and roast for a few seconds. Set this aside.
Mash the bananas into a smooth puree and add it to the rice flour along with the filtered jaggery syrup. Whisk everything well and make a smooth batter with a consistency similar to idli batter. Cover and let it ferment for 4-5 hours. Once the batter is fermented, add baking soda and the fried coconut and sesame seeds. Mix well. Let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Frying the unni appam
Heat unniappam chatti/karal on medium heat. When hot, fill each round/mold up to half with oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat and pour one to one and a half tablespoon of batter into each mould. When the bottom side becomes brown ( about 2 minutes on each side) and slowly leaves the edges, gently turn over with the help of a skewer or a fork. Fry till all sides are evenly brown. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to remove the excess oil. To make more batches, always check the amount of oil is half filled in each mould, and the oil is medium hot before pouring the batter. You can store unni appam at room temperature for up to three days.
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Hope you will all enjoy!