Instant Mini Banana Cakes - Kerala Style (Unniyappam)
How best to start the month of festivities? With honey-glazed mini banana cakes!! To ease myself into the holiday month, I figured I'd start with a semi-healthy cake (I mean adding bananas to cakes make it semi-healthy, right?). I'm sure dousing it in honey and palm sugar/ jaggery helps my argument further...
When it's just been made, still piping hot and drizzled in sweetness, one stops having health concerns - one relishes the crispy outer layer, pillow-soft centre, closes their eyes and imagines angels singing.
Unniappam (literal translation: small rice cake) has almost cult-like status in Kerala. It's such a sought after baked good, you'd be hard-pressed to find a bakery without this scrumptious treat. In fact, many temples in Kerala make unniappams which devotees often get as prasadam (a religious offering). Just as each temple is uniquely different, there are very many variations on how unniappams are made. Some have a super crispy coating, others are a little denser, sometimes the taste of banana is overpowering, other times you can hardly tell there's banana in it. As it happened, my first few instances of eating it didn't leave a great impression on me so I've let others enjoy these little nibbles on my behalf.,,
However, it's a favourite among almost everyone in my family, and, recently, one of my aunts made a gorgeous looking batch of unniappams and shared it on our family whatsapp group (a group which is seemingly full of master chefs, so I'm never low on food inspiration. :D) along with its ridiculously simple recipe. So, I figured, I'd give it a go. We had an abundance of bananas (although one can never have too many bananas) and an unniappam chatti (a vessel specifically for making unniappams - I told you we love our unniappams!) that had yet to see the light of day, so, it was the perfect opportunity to give it a go! Check out the recipe below and if you try it out, let me know how it goes!!
We got our iron chatti from India years ago, so if you want the authentic chatti you'll have to give us a visit in Kerala ;) If you're looking for the next best thing, here's an iron chatti that we liked:
Alternatively, you can make a mini pancake of it instead of mini cakes. Haven't tried this yet, but if you do, let me know how it goes!!
Side note: If you want to check out our other South Indian kitchen essentials head over to our resources page... did I hear Christmas presents?!
1. Melt jaggery in 1 cup water till syrupy. Mash the bananas and add the jaggery syrup, rice flour and cardamom pods. Aim for a semi-thick, dropping consistency.
2. Add baking soda, coconut bits, sesame seeds, Mix and let rest for 30-45 minutes. Can add 3-4 tbsp of water to loosen the batter.
3. Add coconut oil to the unniappam chatti, each pit filled half way, Heat oil at medium-high heat, once hot, reduce flame to medium. Drop tablespoons of the batter till pits are 3/4 full.
4. Deep fry each side till golden brown. Once cooked, drain on kitchen towel and drizzle with honey and jaggery pieces. Serve :)
Note: To make it easier, roast the coconut bits and sesame seeds together in ghee while the banana is being baked