This is one of the snack/sweet that has a lot of sweet memories associated with it. Appa used to buy and bring it for us while coming back from his work. I love the spongy inside and crispy outer covering of Neyyappam.
Neyyappam literally means sweet rice fritters fried in Ghee (clarified butter). Even though Kerala is small state, every dish made in south, central and northern part of the state differs from each other widely. Malayalam language dialect also varies drastically. Neyyappam is usually made with jaggery in other parts (baring Thiruvananthapuram) of Kerala and fried in ghee/clarified butter. In rest of Kerala other than Thiruvananthapuram Neyyappam and Unniappam have similar batter only difference in their shapes. Unniappam requires a pan similar to Aebleskiver pan, and Neyyappam made with scoop of batter directly fried into the Ghee/ oil. However, in Trivandrum, southernmost tip of Kerala, it is made with Palm Jaggery (Karipetti) instead of Jaggery.
Even though it is named as Neyyappam, ghee is scantly used and only for frying few coconut pieces in them and fried with any refined oil or coconut oil. Cuisine of Thrivanthapuram is highly influenced by neighboring Tamil Nadu as it is very close to the bordering towns. In Chettinad cusine, I read that there is similar dish, and is called Karupatti paniyaram. I haven’t tasted yet, but I would love to.
I was looking for the recipe of Thiruvananthapuram special Neyyappam for a long time; I had seen one vaguely in an episode of cookery show however, host didn’t give much information on how it is made. Then last week I saw an episode of Flavors of India: Thiruvananthapuram by Lakshmi Nair in You tube.
In that one she visit a local place where Neyyappam is made and she clearly explains how it is made by asking the person who was making it. I have tried her recipes and it is always easy to follow. So I decide to give a try. I want to make it very authentic. So I used homemade pounded rice flour. I remember Amma used to make it like that. She doesn’t use any store bought rice flour for the snack or sweet dishes. I soaked raw rice for 5 hours and then pounded into fine powder. Dissolve in melted palm jaggery/karipetti along with mashed small banana and extra spice kick from dry ginger powder and cardamom powder. They are beautiful puffed rice fritters you fell in love with as soon you have a bite. I was happy to recreate a long lost classic dish; with its full flavors and taste which was familiar to me from my childhood.
I am going to explore more Thiruvananthapuram special recipes such as Vada kootu curry (Urad dal dumplings in spicy gravy), Kara Vada etc. Stay tuned. Here goes the recipe for Neyyappam. If are looking for a change try this one, the sublime taste will take you another level.
What you need
Palm Jaggery/Karipetti: ½ cup
Dry ginger: ¼ teaspoon
Cardamom: 3 no( crushed)
Coconut: 2 tablespoon ( Chopped into small cubes)
Banana: 1 ( I used small banana)
Water: 3 cup for soaking+ ½ cup of making the batter
Ghee/Clarified butter: 1 teaspoon
Oil for frying: 4 cup ( I used canola oil)
How I made
Soak 1 cup of raw rice in 3 cup of water and keep aside for 5 hours. Then drain it in a colander and spread in kitchen tissue to remove excess water. Once it dried for 5 minutes in kitchen tissue pound them into fine powder and set aside.
In sauce pot heat 1/2 cup of water and palm jaggery until palm jaggery gets dissolved well into the water. Strain them to remove any impurities and set aside.
Mash the banana in a small bowl and set aside.
In a small pan heat 1 teaspoon of Ghee and add 2 tablespoon of chopped coconut fry them until they become golden brown color. It will takes about 2 minutes
In a bowl mix rice flour, palm jaggery water , mashed banana, dry ginger , crushed cardamom and fried coconut to form a batter similar to that of pancake batter . Set aside for 30 minutes
After 30 minutes heat oil in thick bottom pan, when oil reaches 350 F add ¼ cup of batter into oil. Fry them 1 ½ minutes each side until they become dark brown color. Better results when you fry 1-2 in a batch. Remove them using a slotted spoon and drain excess oil using a kitchen tissue.
Enjoy with coffee or tea.
Preparation time: Soaking rice: 5 hours
Making batter: 30 minutes
Resting time for batter: 30 minutes
Frying: 20 minutes
Yield: 10 no
Will you make it again: Yes I will