A Delicious Delicacy from Kerala: Unnakaya

Unnakaya, a cherished delicacy from the southern state of Kerala in India, embodies the rich culinary heritage of the region. This exquisite dish is renowned for its unique blend of flavors, textures, and cultural significance.

The Origins Of The Snack

The dish traces its roots to the Malabar region of Kerala, where it has been a culinary tradition for centuries. The word “Unnakaya” is derived from the Malayalam words “Unna” meaning “filled with” and “Kaya” meaning “plantain” or “banana.” Traditionally, the dish was prepared during festive occasions such as weddings, Eid celebrations, and other special events, symbolizing prosperity and joy.

Ingredients Used in Unnakaya

Unnakaya is made primarily with ripe plantains, which are abundant in Kerala and add a natural sweetness to the dish. Other essential ingredients include grated coconut, cashew nuts, raisins, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and cardamom powder. These ingredients come together to create a filling that is both flavorful and aromatic, delighting the senses with every bite.

Preparation Method

The preparation involves several intricate steps, each contributing to its unique taste and texture. Ripe plantains are peeled, boiled, and mashed to form a smooth dough-like consistency. This dough is then stuffed with a mixture of grated coconut, cashew nuts, raisins, sugar, and cardamom powder. The filled plantain mixture is carefully shaped into elongated rolls resembling the shape of a banana, giving rise to the name “Unnakaya.” These rolls are then shallow-fried until they achieve a golden brown color, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior.

Cultural Significance of Unnakaya

In Kerala, the dish holds a special place in culinary traditions and is often prepared as a symbol of hospitality and goodwill. It is served during festive gatherings, family celebrations, and religious ceremonies, bringing people together and fostering a sense of community.

Health Benefits

While Unnakaya is undoubtedly a delicious indulgence, it also offers some health benefits. Plantains are a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber. Additionally, the use of coconut, nuts, and ghee provides healthy fats and proteins, making the dish a wholesome treat when enjoyed in moderation.


Unnakaya stands as a testament to Kerala’s vibrant culinary legacy, captivating food enthusiasts with its exquisite flavors and cultural significance. Whether enjoyed during festivities or as a sweet indulgence, Unnakaya continues to evoke nostalgia and admiration for its time-honored tradition.



Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Kerala
Servings 5 people



  • Saute a piece of onion in ghee.
  • Add some water and sugar into it.
  • When it gets dissolved, add grated coconut, cardamom powder, raisins and cashewnuts.
  • :- You can add 2 eggs too, if you like.
  • Stir it frequently.
  • When the water is all dried up, remove from flame.
  • Cook bananas and blend it well.
  • :- Do not overcook it.
  • Make lemon sized balls off the cooked bananas.
  • Apply some coconut oil on your palm, so that it will not stick.
  • Place a ball in your hand and flatten the centre of the ball with your fingers.
  • Place some mixture in the centre of the slightly flattened ball which we made earlier, cover and shape it.
  • Do the same with the rest of the balls.
  • Fry in oil, till it becomes golden brown.
  • Ramadan special Unnakaya is ready.


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Keyword Unnakaya
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Response (3)
  1. p
    prasanna August 7, 2007

    thank you for the recipe.will try it

  2. A
    Abida Niyaz September 28, 2008

    I put onion to get a flavor.

  3. n
    neha December 3, 2005


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