10 April 2011

Ela Ada/ Vazhayila Ada / Steamed Jaggery Rice Cake

Ela Ada is one of Keralites favorite breakfast/evening snacks made out of rice flour, coconut and jaggery. But the speciality here is that it is encased in a banana leaf and steamed! Ela Ada is a traditional Kerala dish. Ela means leaf. The leaf used here is banana leaf. It has to be slightly wilted on low flame to remove the stiffness.

Whenever I make Idiyappam(steamed rice noodles), I make Ela Ada as it is my son’s favourite. Now my little one likes it too. It' easy to make and very yummy. The aroma of steamed banana leaves and jaggery along with rice flour is mouth watering!!

There are basically 4 steps to making Ela Ada:

  • Preparing the dough
  • Preparing the filling
  • Wrapping the Ada
  • Steaming

Recipe Source: My Mom

Rice Dough

1      ½  cup rice flour/Pathiri powder
1 - 1 ½ cup boiling water
Salt – As required


Jaggery – 150 gm
Coconut – 1  cup
Cardomom – 2-3


Banana leaves


Preparing Rice Dough:
Boil water in a pan. Add salt.
Add this water slowly to the rice powder and make a soft dough. First you will need a ladle to mix the dough. Once it cools a bit make it into a dough like chapathi dough with hand.
Add water carefully. Do not add the water all at once. Keep adding slowly and mix with hand.

Preparing the filling
Take  3- 4 tbsp water in a pan. Keep to boil. Add the jaggery and let it melt.
Once melted filter it to remove sand and other dust particles.
Keep it again on low flame. Add the coconut and powdered cardamom and let it become thick.
Remove from flame and let cool.

Wrapping the Ada
Wash the banana leaves. Place it on low flame for few seconds. You can see the leaf soften.
Cut it into rectangular shapes.
Make small balls of the dough.
Now take one cut banana leaf and keep one rice ball on it.
Keep dipping your hand in little water so that you can spread the dough to make a circle.
Place the filling and close it. Wrap the leaf around it.
As you do these, keep an Idli maker on the stove with water to boil on high flame(Keep it closed).
When the water boils, open the lid, place the banana wraps and steam for 15 minutes.
Remove the cooked Ada’s from the Idli maker and serve hot.

You can use fine rice powder like the pathiri powder.
You can also soak rice overnight and grind it to a thick paste by adding very little water and make Ada's.
The amount of water used to make the dough using rice flour cannot be exact as it depends on the rice/rice flour you use.
To make circles of the rice dough place another banana leaf on top of the dough and press it with a steel lid. It’s easier and comes even on all sides :)
You can use sugar instead of Jaggery.
Add bananas( Nendra variety) to give a different taste to the Ada's.
Banana leaves give a nice aroma and taste to the Ada’s but if you can’t get them, you can use parchment paper.


  1. Very nice Rinku, this reminds me of a traditional Mangalorean dish called Haldikolyache Patholi which is the same thing steamed in Turmeric Leaves, my granma used to make, u just brought back a lot of recipes! I must try your version as it's hard to get Turmeric leaves here. Thanks for the step by step process!

  2. Thanks Shir!! Yeah I remember the Turmeric Leaf Patholi. Queenie aunt used to make them.. Ohh I miss Mangalore food..especially aunty's.

  3. Thanks Tina! I should say you have a nice blog...lot of variety. Thanks for joining in.. :)

  4. hi Rinku,

    Tasty and yummy ada...:)Lovely pics too!!:)



  5. Hi Dr. Sameena
    Thanks for the comments.Glad you liked it!!

  6. Thanks Bhabhi for the post..finally i made it and yes it was nice even with parchment paper..though ela is always better...now i feel motivated to try more :)

  7. Thanks for all your lovely entries!

  8. Wonderful traditional recipe and well explained


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