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
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This is Swathi ( Ambujom Saraswathy) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.