We had a small sadya on Vishu and the best part was that the sadya was served on the banana leaf. We were glad that we could get banana leaves from the Mexican store here. There were some left over leaves and hence I thought of making Ela Ada with them. Ela Ada is a traditional popular snack of Kerala. They are usually made with rice flour/raw rice as outer covering and coconut-jaggery combo is used as the filling. They are steamed in banana leaf which imparts a special flavour to this sweet. This was one of my childhood favourites :)
I wanted to make rice ada, but realized that I ran out of rice flour and there was no time to soak and make a batter with raw rice. So I tried it with wheat flour by making a thick batter than making a dough. Using wheat was a total experiment, but they came out very delicious and flavourful. They slightly got stuck to the leaf and got torn at some places. I think its because I put less batter on the leaf, so the thickness of outer covering was less. I wanted to take step by step pictures, but I couldn't. Hope you all will try this out :)
Makes 5-6 Ela Ada
For the batter:
3/4 cup Wheat flour
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
For the filling:
11/4 cup grated Coconut
3/4 cup Jaggery
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tbsp Cashews and Raisins (optional)
Add some water to the wheat flour and make a very thick batter. It shouldn't have a flowing consistency, must be thick. Add salt and cardamom powder, mix well and keep aside.
Heat a pan. Add jaggery and melt it in a very little water to form a thick syrup. Please take care that you don't add too much water. Now strain away all the impurities from the jaggery syrup and put it back to the pan. Bring to a boil and add the coconut. Saute until mixture becomes very thick and starts leaving the pan. Add the cardamom powder , cashews and raisins to this. Mix well and allow it to cool.
Meanwhile wash and cut the banana leaves to rectangular pieces. Slightly wilt them by showing them over the flame or stove for few seconds.
Take each leaf and pour a ladle of batter into it. Spread it with the ladle just like how you do for dosa, but make sure that it doesn't become a very thin layer. Place some filling all over the batter and carefully fold the leaf. Steam them in an idly cooker or steamer for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
* You can make different fillings using various dals, flattened rice, banana etc. A simple one is just mixing coconut and sugar.
* You can make rice ada similarly using rice flour or raw rice.
* If you can't get banana leaves, you can try with parchment paper or aluminium foil.