Unniyappam or Neyyappam is traditionally made with powdered raw rice as the base. My athamma (dad’s sister) makes the most amazing unniyappam with plain flour as the base and it’s delicious, not to mention fail-proof. I first tasted it a couple years back and since then the taste had been haunting me. This time, she made it for me in our ancestral home in Alappuzha as I watched and clicked.
Unniyappam is a regular at our home for Deepavali as one of the Deepavali sweets. Since they taste great when cold as well as warm, they make a perfect make-ahead sweet. The batter needs to rest for a while so make the batter ahead of time and make the unniyappams fresh if you want to enjoy them hot. They cook up in no time so that’s a win!
Unniyappam-Neyyappam-Easy Diwali Sweets Recipe
Preparation time: 3-6 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes 40 unniyappam (neyyappam)
Recipe Source: Athamma
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour /maida
1/2 cup of rava / semolina
2 tbsp of rice powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup of ripe banana, pureed
1.5 cups of melted jaggery (adjust to taste)
4-5 green cardamom seeds, powdered
A pinch of baking soda / soda-bi-carb (optional)
1/3 cup of grated coconut
2 tbsp of ghee (how to make ghee at home)
2 cups of oil, for frying
Salt to taste
How to Make Unniyappam (Neyyappam)
1. Melt grated jaggery in some water until you get a thick-ish liquid of pouring consistency. It’s hard to give exact measurements here. You can adjust sweetness levels according to your preference later on so no worries. After melting, measure out the required amount of jaggery.
2. To the cooled jaggery, add the flour, rice powder, rava, soda powder (if using) and salt.
Add the pureed bananas to this. Mix well and set aside for at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.
3. When you are ready to cook the unniyappam, heat the ghee in a pan and add the grated coconut. Fry lightly until the edges turn golden brown.
4. Add the roasted coconut and the powdered cardamom to the batter.
Mix well and adjust the consistency by adding some water (only if needed). The batter should be as thick as idli batter.
5. Heat oil in your unniyappam chatti (paniyaram pan) and pour ladle-fuls of the batter into each hole.
After 2-3 mins on one side, gently turn the unniyappams to the other side. Cook both sides until golden and set aside to drain on a kitchen towel.
Tastes best warm. These unniyappams stay soft even when cold and on the next day too.
– Make sure to use ripe bananas when making the unniyappam. You can use pretty much any kind of banana. Athamma said she used to only use palayamkodan (a variety of banana most easily available in Kerala) but the unniyappams drink too much oil so she switched to using poovan banana. The kind we get in Singapore is the long green/yellow kind and that will work just fine too.
– If the bananas are not too ripe, don’t omit the soda powder. The bananas help to ferment the batter a bit which make the appams soft.
– You can use small coconut pieces instead of grated coconut.
– We cooked the neyyappams in coconut oil but you can use any regular cooking oil or even ghee (the word neyyappam means ghee appams!). Since we are adding some ghee to the batter, that should give it a nice flavour without you needing to cook it in ghee.
– The appam chatti should be kept on medium-low heat always otherwise the insides won’t cook. Try to cook one appam first and check for sweetness levels before proceeding.