Thursday, September 20, 2012

#232 Unniappams for Ganesh Chaturthi

In India, every object is interpreted in a spiritual manner. Every river is a deity, every mountain is a God, everything is holy and dedicated to the Divine. By definition "A deity is a natural or supernatural being with superpowers, divine or holy". My grandmother always said--God is present everywhere around you. The idea behind this was for children to feel the presence of God around them. Time, space, air, fire and food are all embodiments of God. Now, I'm beginning to understand why children are molded into a religious concept and why certain facts can help a child discover and learn to respect the  world around them. A Hindu belief that is profoundly meaningful in life and one that I have held close to my heart. Today Ganesh Chaturti is being celebrated not only by Keralites but Hindus worldwide.

Lord Ganesha is known for his inclination towards sweets and so Ganesh Chaturthi is never complete without his favorite sweets like laddoos and modaks. In Kerala the delight is twofold on Chaturthi with crispy fried Unniappams that take first place among all the delicacies set up as offerings or Prasad. An Unniappam pan (shown below) is used for making unniappams only it is filled with oil and the batter is gently dropped into hot oil.

According to myth, Ganesha is known to be an ardent lover of all rich foods so in honor of his Birthday here's my contribution--to Ganesh- Unniappam. A literal translation of "Unniappam" means "Little Cake". The Unniappam is a sweet indulgence in every home in Kerala and a popular traditional snack for religious festivals in the form of 'naivedyam'. The authentic way is to deep fry these "little cakes" in pure ghee but today I am refraining from the high fat content by using corn oil.
My greetings go out to those of you who are celebrating Ganesh Chaturti.
Crispy outside and soft sweet insides made unniappams a delicacy for Ganesh!

1 cup Uncle Bens(boiled) rice
2 Bananas
1 cup thick Molasses or Jaggery syrup(add just enough to grind the rice)
1 tspn Cardamom Powder
1 cup coconut chips roasted in ghee
1/2 tspn white sesame seeds
2 cups oil for frying
Paniyaram pan or Unniyappam pan
1. Soak the rice in water for 2-3 hrs
2. If using jaggery, melt 1 cup grated jaggery in about 1/2 cup water. boil until
a syrup is formed. Drain to remove any sediments. cool.
3. Grind in a blender until smooth using the thick MOlasses or syrup and mashed bananas.
4. This batter should be thick. If necessary add a little water to make it into the
consistency of fritter batter. Keep the batter aside for about 20 minutes for softness.
5. Mix in the cardamom powder, sesame seeds and roasted coconut. Add a pinch of baking soda.
6.Place the paniyaram pan over medium heat filled with oil/ghee. Leave a little space(1 inch)
-do not overfill with oil or the hot oil will bubble over while frying.
7. When the oil is hot enough add a teaspoonful of the batter to fill three quarters of each indentation.
8. When the first side is golden brown, turn over the appams to cook the other side
and fry them until they are golden brown in color. Drain on absorbent paper


  1. Dear Malli, these sound delicious. I would love to try them! Blessings my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

  2. This is actually quite different from other delicacies I saw on Ganesh chaturthi.


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