Delicious Therali appam /Kumbilappam , cinnamon flavored steamed rice dessert sweetened with jaggery as well as coconut with touch of cardamon is made with banana leaves
This is one of the traditional sweet snacks from my home state of Kerala, India. This sweet is usually served as tea time snacks. This is also specially made during Attukal Pongala. You can read more about from here. Uniqueness of this recipe is it is made in cone shaped leaf warp made of Malabar leaf: Cinnamomum tamala, Vayana ila, Indian bay leaf. After cooking, the dish gets unique smell and flavor of the bay leaf.
Here in USA, I am not able to find the fresh bay leaf or vayana, ila. I used banana leaves for steaming the dish and used cinnamon barks in the cooking water to imparts the flavor. If you can find the fresh ones Vayana ila/ Malabar leaf, then it does wonders.
How to make Theraliappam/ Kumbilappam
You need following ingredients
Rice flour: Usually it is made with fresh ground rice flour you can use store bought one too, in that case look for puttu podi which is coarse than normal one.
Jaggery: When you are using, always try to strain for impurities before mixing it in with other ingredients.
Coconut: You need a fresh coconut. If you are using desiccated coconut, then you need more water in the recipe.
Cardamom: I used fresh ground cardamom
Banana: is optional you can use if you want creamier Therali appam. If you are not making it for attukal pongala you can use jackfruit instead of banana.
Points to remember
1) Use slightly coarse rice flour if you need to slightly roast them. If you are making your own rice flour check here for how to make it.
2) Rice flour to Jaggery ratio is 1:1. If you do not want too much sweetness go with 1: 0.75.
3) Adding banana or jackfruit or plantains are optional you can add it if you want, it adds more flavor.
4) In the case of spices, cardamom is a must. If you want, you can add dry ginger powder also.
5) Indian bay leaf is the one that gives characteristic smell and flavor or Therali appam. If you do not have it in hand, use banana leaves like I did here. Make sure to add cinnamon bark in steaming water as well as while steaming in between. The smell of cinnamon in the dish which is its uniqueness comes from the use of cinnamon bark, and there is no addition of any cinnamon itself in the dough.
6) Always make sure to make a thick dough as you need to shape them into small rolls, if you add more water then adjust with rice flour.
This is a traditional fat free snack recipe, if you want you can add little ghee, I like without it.
Roasted rice flour
Add fresh coconut roasted rice flour
Add strained jaggery
Then add mashed banana
shape the dough into banana leaf/ vayana lia/ Indian bay leaves
Other Attukal Pongala Recipes
1) Pongala payasam a delicious,traditional sweet rice pudding made with jaggery, coconut, rice and cardamom offered during Attukal temple festival .
2) Mandaputtu: Delicious Manda puttu a traditional steamed balls made as offering for Attukal pongala made with rice flour, mung beans, jaggery and cardamom.
3) Vella pongala: Delicious Vella pongala payasam a white sweet rice pudding made with raw rice, milk, rock candy, ghee and cardamom.
Therali appam/ Kumbilappam
- 2 cup Rice flour
- 1 ½ cup Jaggery
- 2 ¼ cup Water
- 1 cup Grated coconut half a coconut grated
- 2 tsp Cardamom powder
- 1 small banana
- Banana leaves ( if you have Therali leaves or fresh cinnamon /bay leaves – 20-25)
- 4-5 Cinnamon sticks for steaming
- Wash rice and soak in water for 1 hour. Drain and dry for about 15- 30 minutes and ground it into coarse flour
- Roast the pounded rice over medium heat. Allow to cool
- Melt the jaggery with 1 cup water and heat in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a boil.
- To rice flour, add grated coconut and mix well then add cardamom,
- To this add strained jaggery water and mix well.
- Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
- Wash the banana leaves/cinnamon leaves and pat dry.
- Once the mixture cools down, mold rightly between your palm the dough.
- Place on one end of the leaf and roll into a cylinder
- Insert the stem into side of leaf or use half a toothpick.
- Do the same with the remaining dough.
- Use a steamer add cinnamon sticks in the steamer as well as in water for steaming then steam them for about 20 minutes until fully cooked.
- Serve hot and make sure not to remove the leaf while serving.
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.