Kaniyappam/ Vishu Kaniyappam/Deep Fried Rice pancake

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Vishu is around the corner and knocking at the door. Yes, this year’s Vishu is on April 15th. Every year I will keep Vishukani and have a small Vishu sadya.  Since it falling on a working day, hubby has to go to office. And my princess has field trip to Houston zoo on that day, she is very excited as she will get to travel in a school bus, on any other day I am dropping her and picking her up. For this Vishu I wanted to try a traditional Vishu recipe which I haven’t tried yet. After searching the internet I found this Vishu kaniyappam /kaniyappam on Malayalam language newspaper and magazine.

I had read about kaniyappam/ a type of pancake in an article. Vishu in south Kerala , Thriuvanthapuram  means seeing Vishukkani ( traditional Vishukkani is a beautiful arrangement of kanikonna and other flowers, fruits, vegetables, rice, pulses, coconut, betel leaves, areca nuts, gold jewellery, gold and silver coins, kasavu, mirror, bell metal lamps and vaalkannadi, all arranged in a bell metal vessel called uruli), symbolizing hope and promise and followed by a sumptuous lunch with various dishes and delicacies, mostly made of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Then there is a tradition that the oldest member of the family would give kaineettam to all those younger to him. Then other elders in the family would follow suit and kaineettam had to be given to everyone coming to the house that day – friends, neighbors, servants, people working in the fields and even the newspaper boy.” Gold nanayams (coins) were symbolically given as kaineettam after seeing the kani. These were taken back and coins would be given as kaineettam.  In northern part of Kerala, Vishu is celebrated with lot of fun and enthusiasm along with lighting fireworks. The day also marks the beginning of the ‘Vishu Vilakku’ festival in several temples in the northern Kerala.

Kaniyappm is small fried pancake usually given to kids who visit neighbor’s house asking for kaineetam. There is also another dish called Vishukanji, a  rice porridge made with coconut milk and  butter beans . It differs in central Kerala as well as northern part of Kerala. Non-vegetarian food is avoided on Vishu, but on Moda Vishu (the day after Vishu) non-vegetarian food is mandatory. A traditional dish cooked on this day is Vishukatta, which is made by boiling raw rice in coconut milk and jeerakam. Vishukatta is eaten with jaggery or chicken curry. . However in South Kerala, from where I am vishu days are vegetarian.

I made this kaniyappam based of recipes given in a Malayala manorama news paper as well as Girhalakshmi magazine. I first soaked the raw rice in water for 3 hours and then ground it into powder. To this thickened jaggery syrup, ghee roasted coconut, ghee, fennel and sesame seeds were added and made into a pancake batter and was set aside for 1 hour.  After an hour heat oil in thick bottom pan and then pour ¼ cup batter in the center of pan. Cook the pancake both sides until the edges are crispy and center is cooked well.

Taste wise kaniyappam is a similar to neyyappam and athirasam. I made it twice, and got very tasty kaniyappam , and my kids enjoyed it. If you are looking for a traditional dish to try on this Vishu go ahead. It won’t disappoint.

Here comes the recipe

Kaniyappam/ Vishu Kaniyappam/Deep Fried Rice pancake


Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 11 no

Delicious traditional deep fried pancake served during Vishu in North Kerala
  • 23/4 cup/342g freshly ground rice flour ( not roasted) ( (I got this much rice flour pounded from 1½ cup of raw rice)
  • 180g /6 ounce/3/4cupjaggery
  • 2 tablespoon/19g chopped coconut
  • ½ teaspoon /2g Sesame seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3no of cardamom
  • 4 cup canola oil for frying
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
Make fresh homemade rice flour
  1. Soak 1½ cup of raw rice in 4 cup of water for 4-5 hours, then wash and drain it in a colander and dry it in a tissue paper for 15 minutes, then powder it in a food processor or blender into a fine powder . Then swift it in swifter to remove the big particles. If needed powder the big particle one more time.
  2. Melt jaggery in ½ cup water and strain for impurities and set aside.
  3. Fry coconut in ghee until it becomes golden brown and set aside.
  4. In a bowl add rice flour, jaggery water and sesame seeds, fennel seeds , ghee fried coconut along with that ghee and rest of water to form smooth pancake like batter and set aside for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour heat oil in a thick bottom pan and add ¼cup batter it will spread it into a pancake. Once the side turns to crisp flip and cooks the other side too. It will take about 3 minutes to cook one. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and place it in kitchen towel to remove the excess oil.
  6. Continue to make kaniyappam just like this to finish the entire batter.
  7. Enjoy with tea or coffee.
Copyright ©2014 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi( Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved

Other vishu post are

Vishu 2010

Vishu 2011

Vishu 2012

Vishu 2013

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  1. says

    years before we had a neighbor aunt who used to make these lovely crispy treats for special occasions….and she never failed to share loads of these goodies with us….now that you are sharing this wonderful recipe….we can recreate the magic of these sweet treats at home,thanks so much for sharing :-)

  2. radha says

    what an amazing recipe!! your blog is such a pleasure to visit, so honest, sincere and I see such beautiful expressions from you, generally I SKIP THROUGH THE PROSE!! BUT YOUR BLOG TELLS A LOT! GREAT JOB!Ooops sorry for the caps..