I know what you are thinking now, unniyappams are at its best when they are deep fried in pure homemade ghee. I agree, but it is always good to have another quick version or even better, a quick'n'healthy version.
Unniappams are a delicacy in Kerala and is a key sweet dish for any special occasion. This is even more true if the occasion is related to Lord Krishna. Today being Ashtamirohini (or Janmashtami - Lord Krishna's Birthday), we have to make the Unniappam.
I always make the regular version, and the recipe was well sought after by most of my non-malayali friends. This time though I wanted to try something different, and in-line with the quick'n'healthy philosophy. The inspiration was from an unexpected source, a classmate of ours had mentioned that he had tried this for Onam. I knew that we'd like it because with the ingredients involved there is not much that can go wrong :), so decided to give it a try.
I am calling them quick because you don't need to stand near the fire and fry those tiny little cuties one by one, you can spoon them into mini muffin tins and get it over in one go. I am calling them healthy because of the ingredients, all wholesome and organic ingredients, red rice, banana, coconut, pure homemade ghee, and sweetened with just enough coconut palm sugar and a few dates. A gluten-free and vegetarian version to replace your banana bread muffins. To go vegan, just replace the ghee with organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil.
You cannot replace Unniappam with the Unniaffins, but it is quite close and you'd love this if you are an Unniappam fan like us, else it is still worth a try and it is a close (and tastier) relative of the banana bread.
- Raw rice - 1/2 cup (soaked overnight or for a few hours) (I used Sri Lankan red rice)
- Pink himalayan salt - a pinch
- Coconut palm sugar - 3-4 Tbs
- Dates - 6 -8
- Cardamom - 3-4 (skin removed)
- Very ripe banana - 1
- Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
- Sesame seeds - 1 Tbs (lightly toasted)
- Golden flax meal - 1 Tbs (just powdered flax)
- Pure homemade organic ghee - 2 Tbs
- Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
- Grind the soaked rice along with salt, sugar, dates and cardamom along with 1/4 cup of water to a thick fine batter.
- Mash the banana with fork and fold into the batter.
- Add the coconut, sesame, flax meal and ghee and mix well.
- Keep this batter aside for a couple of hours - This step is optional, but it is worth the wait for a more flavorful end product :)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line 24 mini muffin cups with paper liners.
- Add baking soda to the batter and mix well.
- Add about a tablespoon each into each mini muffin cups. Drizzle drops of ghee on top and bake for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.
- Enjoy !!