Recipe - Tender Coconut Unniappam

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Unniappams are an extremely yummy sweet snack that every Keralite swears by. The traditional Unniappam aka Unniyyappam aka Neyyappam is a deep fried, sweet rice dish that usually incorporates banana, jaggery and ghee in it. Like Lays and Pringle chips or prawns, no one can eat just one (at least, that has been my policy so far in life!)

Tender Coconut Unniappam Neyyappam

As always, we decided to do a twist on the traditional so out went the banana and jaggery. Instead, we decided to make a sweet Tender Coconut Unniappam that is actually easier to prepare and tastes really good too.

Unniappam, Æbleskiver, Poffertje & Takoyaki

Now, before we go hunting for the ingredients, we need to get you *drum roll* the Appa Karal.
The Appa Karal is the characteristic cast-iron pans with multiple half-spherical moulds into which the Unniappam batter is poured for frying. And it is this unique mould that links the humble Kerala Unniappam to Denmark, Holland and even Japanese octopuses!

Cast iron mould pans used for making Unniappam, Æbleskiver, Poffertje & Takoyaki

If you are in Europe, it is called the Æbleskiver pan after the classic Danish pancake puff pastry Æbleskiver (translation - apple slices). Like the Unniappam, the Æbleskiver too is a fried sweet but usually includes buttermilk, cream and egg and may have fillings of apple bits (similar to our bananas?) or jams. Just as Unniappams can be found at most roadside stalls but are traditionally associated with festivals like Onam and Vishu, Æbleskivers too are common during popular holidays like Christmas.
The similarly prepared Dutch version is called Poffertjes while if you head on to Japan, you can get a savory version called Takoyaki which involves octopus!

Now that we got your mould, let's start cooking, eh?

Tender Coconut Unniappam Neyyappam


  • Raw rice soaked             -  1 and a 1/2 cups
  • Tender coconut               -  1, scoop the flesh inside
  • Tender coconut water     -  1/2 cup
  • Sugar                              -  10 tablespoons
  • Soda bicarbonate            -  1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil for frying
Yummy platter of Kerala Tender Coconut Unniappams Neyyappam


  • Grind the soaked rice, flesh of tender coconut, its water and sugar well.
  • To the batter, add the soda bicarbonate and mix well.
  • Allow this batter to ferment for at least half an hour.
  • Heat the appa karal / mould and grease it with oil.
  • When heated, pour in each mould a tablespoon of the batter and fry on both sides till golden brown.
  • Remove, drain the excess oil and serve.
Tender Coconut Unniappam recipe
Click the image to convert it to its full size and download the recipe

 Additional Notes

  • Use a fork or toothpick to rotate the cooked snacks within the mould so that both sides get browned evenly.
  • The Unniappam has a moderate shelf-life so it is best to have them within the first 48 hours after preparation. Refrigerating will increase the shelf-life and you can steam them before serving again.
I personally associate Unniappams with the old Malayalam hit film Yodha where Mohanlal - robbed & clueless in Nepal - befriends a young boy, offering him the only belongings he has with him, homemade Unniappams from Kerala. Since both don't speak the other's language, Mohanlal nicknames him Unni kuttan, because the boy's clean shaven head resembles that of an Unniappam for him.

Anyway, expect to see the odd food recipe like this at Godyears too - all prepared by my mother - from recipes she has collected as far back as the 1980's - with some unique to Kerala cuisine and some variations of international dishes. 

Since the goal is to share, I will be looking to make all the recipes into easy downloadable single images as well so that you can save them on to your mobile/device and use them offline. Of course, if you do try them out, it would be awesome if you gave me (and her) feedback here on what you thought of the dish.

Tender Coconut Unniappam Neyyappam
For the list of all the recipes so far (from Mangalorean Sannas and Kerala style Crab Roast to Spicy Watermelon Salads and Masala stuffed Brinjals), click here:
For more food posts,  you can just check out the Category on Godyears labeled "Foodgasm" here.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. My mom uses a similar mould to prepare a savory dish from idle batter. The dish is called "Punugulu" in Telugu. I'm going to ask her to make this sweet version now. Coconut in sweets are simply irresistible for me!

    1. Ok, I honestly don't know that dish at all. Will check it out.

  2. OKay I just had breakfast but now I am craving some uniappams. Going to try this soon. As far as my love for food goes, you know about it. So, looking forward to seeing more of aunty's recipes and awesome cooking here.

    1. Aiming to put atleast one recipe a month on a minimum basis.. Depends on the quality of pics taken too :)

  3. Aunty is a rockstar and I love trying out her recipes. Her Pepper chicken roast was awesome and I made it again a couple of days ago. I will try this one too. Unniyappams are P's favorite. Getting tender coconut here in this 'pattikadu' is another task altogether though. I will try. Thanks for sharing the recipe. The pics are yummilicious! <3

    1. hahaha... all the best finding those coconuts then. Here, I literally just have to open the windows to see them!

  4. These look I-want-to-lick-my-laptop-screen delicious! They have all my favorite ingredients too. I think I am going to attempt and make them. Thanks for the post, and recipe.

    1. Do try it out and let me know if you liked it :)

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