Unnakaya is a relishing snack which is sought after in our state. Though its origin is from the Malabar region and is a dish which is made by muslims, it has found its way to the tummies of people all over Kerala. Plantains are consumed in a various forms but this dish is the top amongst the sweet dishes. You can find the original traditional unnakaya recipe (http://simiskitchendiaries.com/unnakaya/) here in my website.
This cheesy unnakaya balls has been in my mind for quite sometime now. Giving a touch of fusion for dishes like these makes me excited. Making a few changes here and there can give a dish a clever make over. You have to be very wise in doing the combination and the permutations so that all the ingredients blend with each other. If this doesn’t happen, the dish will be a disaster. I know many of you will be trying out things like this. So pls note in mind that when you combine different the different aspects should sink in with each other.
I have taken medium rare ripe plantains for this snack. Usually a lil bit unripe ones are used. One thing which you have take care is that when you steam the plantains steam it perfectly until its just cooked through. If you over steam it, when you grind the plantains, it tends to get watery. Allow it to cool down completely after taking away the peel and then grind it into a smooth fine dough.
The filling is made with eggs, coconut, sugar and vanilla essence , nuts and raisins. Usually its a combination of eggs, coconut, cardamom, sugar, nuts and raisins. Now this may vary according to the region, preference etc. Malabar side peeps avoid coconut completely wheres people in the Travancore side avoid eggs completely. We, the people in the mid region makes it with a combination of these two. For this balls, I avoided the cardamom and used vanilla instead as my kids don’t fancy cardamoms. A mix of cardamom and vanilla gives a certain aroma and flavor which is intoxicating. So those who prefer to do that can opt for this option also.
Adding of the Mozzarella Cheese is the game changer of this snack. I’ve added a generous amount of mozzarella so that you get that gooey texture for every bite. Mixing of sugar after the filling cools down will give you the texture of sugar. This will slightly melt when you fry the balls. Sugar and mozzarella when fried together gives slight moistury texture to the whole snack. You get that melt in the mouth feeling when you bite into these balls. Freeze the plantain balls for 1-2 hours or overnight so that the cheese is completely frozen. By freezing the balls, you get the perfect texture for cheese when you fry it.
I gave an extra twist by dipping in egg wash and rolling it in breadcrumbs by giving it an extra texture and flavor. This also added to the beauty of plantain balls. A final extra touch, flavor and aroma were enhanced by rolling it in the cinnamon sugar. This was one turn which made this snack a real show winner. Hope you all enjoy this snack. Please do write to me with all your feedback and how it turned out for you.
2 medium rare ripe plantains steam in a steamer till well cooked and soft. Peel off the skin and cool down. Grind to a smooth fine dough and set aside.
Combine the eggs and coconut, by whisking well. Heat a pan. Add a dollop of Butter. Melt half the butter and the nuts. Saute till light golden followed by the raisins. Fry till raisins puff up and remove from the pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, add the egg mixture on medium flame. Scramble to fine texture breaking down the eggs continuously when you cook it. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool down.
Once the egg filling cools down completely, add the cheese, vanilla and sugar and incorporate well with the egg filling. Take a lime sized plantain dough.Roll it out into a circle. Place a teaspoon of filling. Fold from edges and roll into a ball. Repeat the process until all the dough gets over. Place it in freezer and deep freeze it.
Dip the plantain balls in egg wash. Roll it in bread crumbs. Deep fry till brown on low medium flame. Flip once one side done. Drain on a kitchen towel.
Mix up the cinnamon and castor sugar together. Roll the fried balls in cinnamon sugar when its hot itself.
Serve hot and Enjoy!!!!!