I tried this recipe for the first time during my college days, inspired by the dooradarsan cookery show. Yes , I was only a beginner at that time and just started my cooking experiments with minimal ingredient dishes. When I saw this dish on TV, excited.. wow..plantain filled with eggs, a new dish, ever heard that name before. I tried, but Alah... it was a big flop. I got an oily dish and also I struggled to get the proper shape. Yes of course, I stopped my experiments with Unnakkaya.
A few years later, after marriage, during my visit to Kerala, I met this dish again in one of the famous bakeries at North Paravur. I bought one, tasted, wow... it was super delicious. One thing I want to say, filling was not sweetened egg, but was rice flakes and coconut. I decided to try it again, I searched my cookbooks and found the recipes and tried again. Sadly, this time also, I got oily fritters. It absorbed so much oil, I can't even explain.
Later I understood the real faults and corrected them and then made good unnakkayas. I feels, this is the correct time to present it before you, yeah.. it is here......
I have already said, unnakkaya is banana rolls with a sweet filling, either with eggs or with coconut. Ethapazham or nendrapazham (a common type of banana) is used to make this. This nendrapazham should be moderate ripe. (should not be too soft). Take bananas, when they just ripened, you can see one in the above picture. otherwise, it will be difficult to shape and also the unnakkayas will absorb more oil and might break while frying.
Let us see how to make unnakkaya in detail....
- Steam three to four bananas till became soft. As I already said, don't take well ripened bananas, the bananas should be soft enough to mash, but also should be hard enough to shape.
- Remove the skin.
- Cut longitudinally into two halves and remove entire seeds with a spoon or a knife.
- Mash either with your hand or in a food processor, don't make a fine paste, should be hard enough to shape. the consistency should be like that of chapathi dough.
- The next step is preparation of the filling. Heat 2 tablespoon ghee in a pan.
- When hot, reduce the flame to medium and add cashews. Saute till they turn golden in color. Add raisins, immediately transfer into another bowl when the raisins puffs up.
- In the same ghee, add 3/4 cup grated coconut and mix well.
- Add sugar. 2 teaspoon will be enough. Add more if required.
- Saute till the sugar melts completely and the coconut has slightly changed its colour.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder and ghee fried cashews and raisins.
- Mix well.
- Immediately transfer into another plate.
- Apply some oil or ghee on your hand and take a big small lemon sized ball of mashed banana.
- Hold in left hand and gently flatten with your right hand into small disc shapes.
- Spoon in 2 teaspoon coconut mixture.
- Close the edges, press lightly and shape it with your hands into elongated oval shapes as in the picture.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry on medium heat.
- Flip when golden brown and fry the other sides also.
My Notes on Unnakkaya
- Choose bananas that are not fully ripe. The bananas should not be too soft or too hard.
- Do not add water while grinding the bananas.
- The filling can be made with eggs also.