Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unnakaya-A Malabar Speciality

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I think I'll break the suspense/no be honest I can't wait long to publish my recipe once I have it sitting in the draft...bad obsession?!!This is one of my all time favourite Malabar Snack-Unnakaya which my mom used to make so gorgeously....Yes the name owes to its shape, the shape of 'unnakaya' or the cotton pod....creative, isnt it, whoever has invented the name!We had an unnakaya tree in our garden back home, with the unnakayas hanging like hermits in deep meditation....and their souls at times escaped the pods of their transient existence as light free flowing cotton..... and how I wished they were all the Malabar Unnakayas!!What a scrumptious snack, made of banana....In Malabar area you get this in many of the hotels as a snack...Whenever we passed by the 'Paris hotel' in our place we used to sniff the beautiful aroma of the Unnakaya and would give a longing look at my father...and he would go and get a big parcel of hot unnakayas...My brother and I would be just waiting to reach home to attack the unnakayas,only to be joined by my father! He loved anything sweet!Well many people hesitate to make this Unnakaya at home, for the mess it can create if a little bit careless during the preparation.Just a few tips to avoid the mess: the Kerala banana(Nenthrappazham) that you use should be semi ripe(Karimpazhukka).Too ripe bananas can create a mess.While grinding the modern mixer is very likely to make it more soft,it is better to use a grinding stone, if you have one or even the mortar and pestle will do.Or else while grinding in the mixer,dont add any water and dont overgrind it.If the consistency is not right you can have a real mess with the filling coming out or not being able to mould at all or bananas getting charred. I have had my share of casualties when I tried it for the first time, but has been able to perfect it with time.So much said, here is the recipe:



Indian Banana/Kerala Banana/Nenthrappazham-4(Half ripe)
Grated coconut-150g
Sugar-2Table spoon
Cashewnuts-25 g(broken)
Ghee-1 tbsp
Salt-a very small pinch
Cardamom powder-1 tsp
Oil-For deep frying
Cut Bananas into 3 pieces.Blanch the pieces in boiling water,till the peel starts separating from the fruit.(Pazham Puzhungiyathu)For a detailed post refer LG's
  • PazhamPuzhungiyathu
  • Peel off the skin,run a knife thro' the middle and remove the black seeds in the middle and mash it or grind it to a chappathi dough like consistency without adding any water for you should be able to mould it into the unnkaya shape.Keep it aside.(In case you feel, the consistency is a bit loose, put it in the refrigerator for a while).

    Now prepare the filling.Beat egg lightly, with sugar and a very small pinch of salt,just enough for scrambling.Heat ghee in a wok.Once the ghee is hot, add cashews, raisins,poppy seeds and saute for a couple of minutes till everything turns golden.Add the grated coconut.Saute it for a couple of minutes and finally add the beaten eggs. Scramble it and mix well with the remaining ingredients.Remove from the fire. Let it cool.

    Grease your hands with a little ghee.Make a lemon size ball out of the banana 'dough',flatten it to small discs.Spoon in the egg(2tsp) filling.Close the edges,press lightly and roll it in your hands into the elongated shape of cotton pods(the edges tapering).Now heat oil in a wok.When the oil starts smoking, carefully slip the unnakaya into the oil.Wait for a minute before turning sides.Lower the flame or else the banana will get charred easily.Keep turning the sides till all the sides become uniformly golden.Enjoy the Royal Malabar treat!


    KrishnaArjuna said...

    Whatever this is made of it looks absolutely scrumtious.. can you post the recipe too??

    Maya Cassis said...

    wow what is this?looks great

    Annita said...

    hey..whats this?Looks too good..Waiting for the recipe

    Sumitha said...

    At first look i thought it was fish fry,is it some kind of bajji,vazhakka bajji!

    archana said...

    Kadukka nirachathu !!!!
    I know i am wrong,i have never tasted or saw the above mentioned dish so far. But the mention of "Malabar" somehow brought this name to mind. Here are some other stupid guesses.
    banana fry

    I couled go on,Mh...but i guess that's enough.
    Post the recipe please

    Keralagirl said...

    Isnt this unnakkai?? I love this malabar muslim speciality :-)

    Anonymous said...

    its unnakkai..

    RP said...

    Unnakkaya?? If it is unnakkaya, blogger telepathy or not, let me tell you, I was planning to make unnakkaya and blog about it. But this time, the plantains I have is too ripe. For unnakkaya, I use semi ripe plantains. I have a malabar recipe book that has so many wonderful recipes. I am enjoying your recipes very much. We love Malabar cuisine.

    Anonymous said...

    Unnakkaya??? Now someone please tell me what that is!

    indianadoc said...

    >Thanx k.A,maya,annita,sumi,archana,lg-Pl do try the recipe,you would love it
    >Kerala girl,RP,anonymous-You guys guessed it right...thanx dear...

    Sumitha said...

    Unnakaya,I have never ever heard about it or even eaten it doc!Thanks so much for letting all of us discover what looks like a yummy snack!I wish I could taste one right now...I am so curious!

    sherin said...

    yippee!! unnakkaya!!

    archana said...

    Hi Shynee,
    Just to let you know that i tried this recipe yesterday, and oh my, it was too good !!!! Both of us were very eager to taste this,so everything disappeared even before i got a chance to take a photo. Will take a pic when we make it next time, i don't think that's going to be far away !!!!Thank you thank you thank you......

    indianadoc said...

    Thanx for trying it archana...and I'm not surprised that it vanished into 'thick'air so fast!!...It is so tempting a snack from Malabar....

    Anonymous said...

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