Modakam, kadubu, kudumulu, sweet momos, pithe and kozhukattais are all sweet delicacies prepared using rice flour, jaggery and coconut. Elai Adai or leaf pancake which comes from God’s Own Country (Kerala) is a variation of the ambrosial kozhukattai offered to Lord Ganesha. This delicious sweet is prepared using the same heavenly combination of ingredients and cooked in a banana leaf (elai) parcel. “Kozhukattai by any other name would taste as delicious” indeed!
Here is how I prepared the sweet as well as the savoury versions of Elai Adai.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET FILLING
Coconut gratings ( fresh ) – 1 cup
Jaggery ( crushed) – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1 pinch
TO PREPARE THE SWEET FILLING
1. Add a spoon of water to the crushed jaggery and coconut, and cook on low flame.
2. Keep stirring until the filling (pooranam/Hoorana) comes together.
3. Mix in cardamom powder and keep aside.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAVOURY FILLING
Split Black gram dal – 1 cup
Coconut gratings – 2 tbsps
Red chilly – 1
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Salt – 1 pinch
Cumin seeds – 1/ 4 tsp
TO PREPARE THE SAVOURY FILLING
1. Soak black gram dal and red chilly together for half an hour and drain.
2. Add salt, coconut gratings and asafoetida to the dal and grind them together into a coarse mixture without adding water.
3. Mix in the cumin seeds and keep aside.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BATTER
Rice – 2 cups
Salt – 1 pinch
TO PREPARE THE BATTER
1. Soak the rice for three hours.
2. Drain the soaked rice and grind it with salt into a smooth and thick paste. Add only the required quantity of water little at a time. The batter should be thick enough, so that it does not run out of the banana leaf while spreading.
TO PREPARE THE BANANA LEAF
1. Slit a broad banana leaf in the middle along the central vein.
2. Cut both the parts into pieces large enough to be folded into parcels.
3. Wipe the pieces of leaves and flip them one by one over the flame (like you roast a papad) so that they become pliable.
TO PREPARE THE ELAI ADAI
1. Grease the banana leaf and pour a ladle of batter in the center.
2. Spread the batter into a round adai using the bottom of the ladle.
3. Take a tablespoon of the filling and place on one side of the batter circle.
4. Gently fold the leaf in the middle over the adai, and fold the edges together like when you would fold a cloth to hem.
5. Fold back the other two open sides over the parcel.
6. Gently lift up the parcel using both hands and place it on the perforated steamer, with the folded sides facing down.
7. Make more adai parcels using the sweet and savoury filling and arrange them on the steamer.
8. Place the steamer inside the cooker and steam for 15 minutes without the weight.
9. Allow to cool and remove the now firm parcels.
10. Open the parcels and peel out the elai adais from the leaf.
Enjoy the sweet version of the elai adais while they are still warm.
Relish the savoury version with any chutney of your choice.