Unniyappam: Cultural Significance, History Of Kerala-Based Sweet

The cuisine of Kerala is rich in flavour, ingredients, and texture. It is one of the most sought-after regional cuisines of India. Not just savouries, but sweets in Kerala are known for craftsmanship, use of indigenous ingredients, and rich flavour palate. This article acquaints you with unniyappam or annapalliyappam, a delicacy often prepared during auspicious ceremonies and celebrations in Kerala. 

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This dish is an integral part of the regional cuisine as people consume it as a delicious snack as well. Made with banana, coconut, and other enriching ingredients, it is often prepared in an appam pan. Learn about its history and cultural significance. 

Origins Of Unniyappam

Kerala’s unniyappam is a delicious dish that is reported to have originated in temples. Even today, it is offered as prasadam (sacred offering) to God during auspicious festivities. Unni in Malayalam refers to small or young, while appam is a kind of pancake prepared using jaggery and rice flour.

It is also referred to as neiyappam or karolappam. Apart from Onam, Vishu, and weddings, this sweet delight is also consumed as a snack today. In Hindu temples, this dish is offered as a sacrifice, and over time, it has existed as a constant while the regional culinary landscape transformed. 

Its recipe is considered among a few that have been passed over from one generation to the next. Families and communities share its traditional preparation method and take pride in knowing how to make one of the oldest recipes belonging to the cuisine of Kerala.

Significance Of Unniyappam

Made with sweet ingredients, ghee, and a few fruits, this dish is highly nutritious, not to mention finger-licking good. It provides energy to the body. According to mythological tales, it is among the favourites of Lord Krishna, therefore, it is offered as prasadam to him on special occasions.

The dish also symbolises community bonding, prosperity, and unity. During festivals, families come together to make this dish and other delights that are first offered to Gods and later consumed by people. It is part of the culinary heritage of Kerala’s cuisine.

Recipe Of Unniyappam

Ingredients For Unniyappam

  • ¼ cup of grated coconut
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • ½ cup mashed banana
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup maida
  • ½ cup chopped jaggery
  • Oil for frying
  • A pinch of salt

How To Make Unniyappam

  • Prepare the jaggery syrup in a saucepan while you prepare the batter using rice flour, maida, mashed banana, grated coconut, and cardamom powder.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the mixture and gradually pour jaggery syrup. Keep stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. 
  • Once the batter has the consistency of the pancake batter, let it rest. 
  • Preheat the appam pan, add ghee to every mould, and start pouring a spoonful of batter in each of them.
  • Cook on a low or medium flame and turn each unniyappam to cook the other side. 
  • Once the delights are crispy and brown, serve them with a drizzle of sweet syrup.