Unnakaya ~ Malava Plantain “Cotton Pods”

When Shazzy emailed me with a request for a guest post, I did take it with open hands. I seem to love the idea of guest posts. I love the interaction that comes along with it. That really explains why I have done so many guest posts till date, this being my 11th one in the span of around 9 months of blogging! You may remember that she was featured in my “Be My Guest” series sometime ago as well. I really admire that despite having  a small baby to take care, she blogs fairly and top of that, manages a little baking business from her home, which is not a simple thing! Baking at large scale can be stressful, and hats off to her for managing it quite successfully, MaShaAllah! Here’s wishing Shazzy a lot of growth and prosperity…

While thinking about what to give Shazzy for featuring on her blog, my mind went to a very traditional snack which is so synonymous to the Malabar region – the Unnakkaaya. “Unna” means cotton pods and “kaaya” means plantains. The snack is made of ripe plantains and is melt in the mouth, which kind of explains the name of the snack!!! To read more and the recipe, do hope onto Shazzy’s space here. Hope you enjoy the post! 🙂


Unnakaya/ Plantain Cotton Pods - My 11th guest post for "Seasoned with Shazzy"

Course Tea Time Snacks
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Rafeeda


  • 3 plantains neither ripe nor raw
  • 1/2 tbsp ghee
  • 5 cashews crushed
  • 10 raisins
  • 5 tbsp coconut grated
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • A pinch cardamom powder
  • 1 small egg
  • Oil for frying


  • Boil the unpeeled plantains in sufficient water till it becomes soft.
  • Peel off the skin while still hot and mash it well without any lumps with your hand or with a potato masher. Keep aside. The mashed plantains will be like a pliable dough.
  • Heat the ghee in a fry pan. Fry the cashews and raisins for a few seconds.
  • Then add in the coconut, sugar and the cardamom and mix well till it becomes crisp. Do not brown it.
  • Make a hole in the center, break the egg in and scramble it well.
  • Combine it along with the coconut mixture and keep stirring till the mixture becomes dry. Switch off and set to cool.
  • Divide the plantains and the coconut mixture into 12 to 14 equal portions.
  • Grease your hand well with oil. Take a ball of plantain mash and spread into a round shape.
  • Place some mixture in the center and slowly close with the mixture inside.
  • Shape it into a cylinder. Keep on a plate. Repeat the same till everything is finish.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan. When the oil becomes really hot, drop in a couple of unnakkayas and fry till it becomes golden brown.
  • Drain on a kitchen towel. Serve warm with a hot cup of chai!!!


1. The plantain mash should be pliable. If it is slightly watery, then it becomes difficult to manage. To adjust, you may add a tbsp of all-purpose flour or rice flour and mix well to make it thick.
2. The plantains used should not be raw or not overripe. It should be of medium ripeness, otherwise the taste would not be good.
3. The inner filling can be only coconut or only egg. Normally sweet scrambled egg is used.
4. While working on the unnakayas, really grease your hand, I mean, really!!!
5. You can freeze the unnakayas for around a month. When ready to fry, you can just thaw it for an hour and fry in hot oil till done.

Join the Conversation

  1. Wow unnakaya is my favorite Rafee hopping over for the recipe.

    1. thank u so much meena…

  2. nice quick snack for after school kids

    1. thank u so much veena…

  3. Unnakaya is my favourite too. A nice snack

    1. thank u so much nandoo…

  4. Thanks Rafeeda ♥♥

    1. it was a pleasure shazzy… 🙂

    1. thank u so much shaami….

  5. very new snack for me, delicious.

    1. thank u so much sanoli…

  6. looks delish..yummy snack………..

    1. thank u so much gloria…

  7. I always want to make this unnakaya…looks fabulous.

    1. thank u so much akka… u should try sometime…

    1. thank u so much sangeetha….

    1. thank u so much priya…

  8. I have heard a lot about this snack, but never tried it. I will make these when I get hold of some good plantain. Gonna check Shazzy's website for ther recipe

    1. thank u so much shibi…

  9. i think unnakaaya is the star of malabar sweet snacks…looks yummy

    1. yes i guess it is… thank u so much ruxana…

  10. Salam Rafeeda..
    it's after seeing ur post that I remembered, it would hav been more than a year s ince I made it last..
    now i crave for some unnakkaya again.. but dunno if my kids would hav the kindness to spare me a little time.. great recipe rafeeda..

  11. great to see u guest posting too.. wonder hw u manage to broom up the time.. 🙂

    1. wsalaam dear… so glad to see u after so long… hope all's well, Alhamdulillah, somehow managing… 🙂

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