Another one of the traditional snacks from Malabar region of Kerala, Unnakaya is an easy to prepare delicious sweet. Unnakaya is prepared by stuffing cashew nuts, coconut, raisins within a layer of smashed ripe plantain, giving it a soft core with a slight crispy outer shell. This tea time snack is liked equally by adults and children. While selecting the plantain for this preparation, need to ensure it is just enough ripe, too ripe will make it too saggy.
Ingredients (Serves - 8 nos)
- Plantain - 2 nos
For the stuffing
- Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
- Sugar - 2 tbsp
- Ghee - 2 tbsp
- Cashew nuts - 10 nos
- Raisins - 10-15 nos
- Cardamom - 1/2 tsp
- Egg - 1 no (optional)
- Oil - for deep frying
Preparing the plantain dough
First step is to cook the plantain in steam to make it soft. Cut the plantain into smaller 4-5 pieces and put them into a steamer with water. Cover it with a lid and turn on the heat on high flame. After about 10 - 15 minutes, the plantain would be well cooked. Turn off the heat. Take out the plantain from the steamer and allow it to cool.
After it cools, peel the plantain cover, cut it open lengthwise from the middle. This is to remove the black seeds from its center portion. After the seeds are removed, mash the plantain using a blender, food processor or masher. Mash it enough so we get a smooth dough out of it, ensure there isn't any lumps. If the dough is too saggy, add couple of tbsp of rice flour to it.
Preparing the stuffing
Heat a pan on medium flame and add 2 tbsp of ghee to it. When the ghee is hot enough, add raisins to it. Roast them till they start to pop. Now add cashew nuts broken into small pieces and roast them till they turn light golden brown. Add the grated coconut and roast for about 1 minute. Next add the sugar and cardamom powder to this mixture and continue to roast the contents for about 3 minutes. Optionally an egg can be added at this stage. If added, mix the contents well so the scrambled egg is uniformly mixed with the rest of the contents. Stir the contents well till all the water evaporates and we get a dry mixture without much lumps.
Make small lemon sized balls out of the plantain dough we prepared earlier. You can apply some ghee on your palm to avoid the dough from sticking to your palm. Now take every ball, spread it on one of your palm evenly to get a round figure. Add 2 tsp of the stuffing to plantain dough spread, cover the stuffing with the dough spread to get a spindle like shape. Only task pending now is to fry them.
Heat a frying pan on medium flame with oil in it. When the oil is hot enough, drop the Unnakaya into the oil. Deep fry it till it turns golden brown. Turn it over so the other side also gets fried to a golden brown color. Overall it might take about 5 minutes to get them cooked. You could drop multiple Unnakaya into the oil at a time, just ensure the pan is not too crowded. Once cooked, take them out of the oil and drop them over a few kitchen tissues so the excess oil is absorbed by the tissue.
Delicious Unnakaya is now ready for serving. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea 🙂