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12 Best Traditional Kerala Snacks - Tea Time Snacks

 12 Best Traditional Kerala Snacks - Tea Time Snacks

 Are you looking for some light bites to indulge during tea time? Well, you have come to the right place. Kerala cuisine has an exhaustive list of traditional tea-time snacks.  The list of ingredients is available in your pantry, making it possible to make these delicious snacks. Many of these snacks, can be quickly whipped up with rice flour, coconut, and jaggery.

I am sharing a list of snack recommendations from Kerala that are easy to cook at home. These sweet and savory snacks are heartwarming and will make you nostalgic. It is by no means is a complete list. I am sharing some of the top picks of this blog in one space for easy reference. If you like to try, more recipes check my earlier post on 10 Quick and Easy Kerala Snacks/ Tea time snacks that you can make in under 20 minutes. Do you have any favorite snack that is simple and easy to make? I would love to hear about your favorite traditional snacks. Please share your ideas in the comment section below. Happy Cooking!


Orappam is a traditional old fashioned snack in Kerala, made with rice flour and coconut milk. The sweetener can be regular sugar or jaggery.   It is crispy on the exterior and soft and fudge-like on the inside.

Rice flour-1 1/2cups
Sugar- 1 1/2  cup
Coconut Milk thick- 2 cup
Coconut milk thin- 2 cup
Cashew nuts crushed or peanuts- 1/3 cup
Cardamon powder- 1/3 tsp (optional)
Fennel seeds- a pinch
Ghee-2 tsp
Coconut oil  1/4 cup

Idiyappam flour is perfect for this recipe. Whisk rice flour, sugar, coconut milk into a  thin lump-free batter. Add crushed fennel seeds. You can also substitute sugar with jaggery.
Heat coconut oil or ghee, and fry cashew nuts till golden brown. Set this aside for garnish.
Into the same pan, slowly pour in the rice mixture. Stir continuously till it is fully blended and starts thickening. Cook in medium heat for about ten minutes or till it attains a thick consistency like halwa. Add ghee, cardamom powder when it starts leaving the edges of the pan. Grease the baking pan and spread this mixture evenly in the pan with the help of a spatula. Use aluminum foil to cover the baking pan. Bake in 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or till the top has slightly browned up. Let it cool completely and cut into desired shapes.
For the traditional method, spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Add ghee or coconut oil around the edges. Cover the top with a lid, preferably an aluminum plate. Place the pan on burning red charcoal and place a few on the top of the aluminum plate. The heat from both sides will crisp the edges of the orappam.

Sukhiyan/ Sugiyan- Sweet Mung bean Fritters 

Sukiyan is a traditional evening snack from Kerala. It is deep-fried cooked mung beans balls sweetened with jaggery and coconut.  It is made somewhat like the South Indian bonda, but it is a sweet version.

 For the batter
Maida/ All purpose flour- 1 1/2 cup
Rice flour- 2 tbs
Baking powder- a pinch
salt- a pinch
Sugar- 1 tbs
Turmeric powder- 1/8 tsp
Cardamom powder- a pinch
Water- 1 1/2 cup
Oil for frying- 2 cup

Mung beans cooked- 1 1/2 cup
Grated coconut- 3/4 cup
Jaggery powdered- 3/4 cup
Cardamon powder- 1/2 tsp
ghee - 1 tbs
Finely chopped cashew nuts- 1 tbs

To prepare the mung bean filling.
Cook Mung beans till it is soft and slightly mushy. Powder the jaggery, and mix with one cup of water and bring jaggery to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till all the jaggery melts. Strain out the impurities.  In a pan, add the melted jaggery and simmer it till it starts thickening. Add the cooked mung beans and grated coconut and mix well.  Allow the mixture to simmer till all liquid evaporates. Add ghee, cardamom powder,  and chopped cashew nuts and mix well. Once it cools down shape into small lemon-sized balls.

Frying the Sukhiyan
To make the batter for frying, mix all-purpose flour, rice flour, a pinch of turmeric, salt, and a tsp of sugar. Baking soda is optional. Add water and mix all this into a smooth batter (dosa batter consistency). Let it rest for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, heat two cups of oil in a pan. Take the sweet balls, one at a time and dip them in batter, and drop them carefully into the hot oil. Deep fry till all sides are golden and slightly crispy. Fry in batches in medium flame. Strain into a paper towel and serve warm with tea.

Vattayappam/ Steamed Rice and Coconut Cake

Vattayappam or rice steamed cake is a traditional snack. It has a spongy texture and a wonderful mixed aroma of cardamon, coconut, and ghee.

Raw rice - 2 cups
Cooked rice- 1 cup
Coconut- 1 cup
Instant Yeast - 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 cup
salt-  1/3  tsp
Cardomom powder- a pinch
Raisins- 10-15
Cashew nuts- 5-6
Ghee- 1 tsp

Soak raw rice for about six hours. Into a blender, add cooked rice, sugar and pulse it a few times. Add the soaked and drained rice, along with coconut and one cup of water.  Blend into a smooth paste. Transfer the batter into a large bowl. Add yeast, salt, and cardamom powder. Let the batter ferment at room temperature for 3-4 hours.  Grease a plate or a cake tin with ghee and pour the batter. Garnish with ghee-fried raisins and cashew nuts. Place in a steamer and cook for 10-12 minutes or till a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.  Allow it to cool. Slice and serve with tea.

Mullu Murukku/ Chakali

Murukku is a deep-fried crunchy snack made with rice flour and urad dal.  The word murukku means twisted, and the dough is twisted in spirals or coils using a mold or sometimes by hand.

Rice flour- 2 cups
Urad Dal powder- 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Butter- 1 tbs
Hing/ Asafoetida- a pinch
Chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Caraway seeds- 1/8 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/8 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Oil for frying - 2 cups

Roast half cup of urad dal on medium flame till golden brown. Let it cool down a little, and then use a blender to make a fine powder. Sieve it and set it aside.
 Into a mixing bowl, combine rice flour, urad dal powder, salt, and melted butter.  Add water little by little and knead it into a smooth, soft dough by adding water little by little. Grease your hand with oil and knead it into a smooth dough. Set aside for 10 minutes.

You will need an idiyappam maker/press to squeeze the dough. Change the disc of idiyappam mold / Seva to plain or star holed plate /mullu achu. Fill the idiyappam press with the dough.  Press with the dough in a circular motion onto a butter paper or back of a greased ladle. When the spiral shape is ready, gently press the outer edge with your finger so that it stays intact. Slowly slide into hot oil and fry in medium flame till both sides are golden brown. Drain into paper towels.

Ottada- Rice Parcel in Banana Leaf 

Ottada is sweet rice flour parcels wrapped in banana leaves. There is the smell of charred fresh banana leaves. You bite into crispy sweet rice and coconut filling flavored with chakkavaratti/ jack fruit jam. Kerala delicacies like elaada, kozhukatta, and ottada are very similar to each other.

Rice Flour- 2 1/2 cups
Hot water- 1 3/4 cups
Salt- 1/3 tsp
Sugar- 1 tbs
Coconut Oil - 2 tsp

For the filling
Grated coconut- 1 1/2 cup
Jaggery-  3/4 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Ghee- 1 tsp
Jack fruit preserve- 1/4 cup
Cardamon powder  - 1/2 tsp
banana leafs-for wrapping

To make the filling
Into a pan add melted jaggery and simmer it till it starts thickening. Add coconut and mix well. Allow the mixture to simmer till it becomes completely dry, and add jack fruit preserve/ chakkavaratti, ghee, cardamom powder

To make the dough
Boil water along with salt and sugar. In a bowl, add rice flour and make a well in the center. When the water comes to a rolling boil, carefully add the water little by little into the flour and mix with a wooden spatula till all the dough comes together. Mix the coconut oil too, cover, and let it rest for a few minutes. When it cools down a bit, knead the dough and make it smooth. Portion dough into a large lemon-sized ball.  Place one ball on a banana leaf, cut it into a small square. Press and spread the dough into a thin layer.
Place spoon fulls of the coconut jaggery mixture, and fold the leaf and press the edges. Place it on a hot griddle or manchatti. Cook in low, medium flame for about 3-4 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook till the other side is crispy and golden. The leaves will brown up, and when cooked, it will lift off easily, and the ada will be slightly golden brown on the outer. Let it cool down and enjoy with tea.

Avalose Podi

Avalose Podi is a delicious tea-time snack. It is roasted raw rice flour with coconut. This snack is usually eaten along with chopped banana and sugar or made into rice ladoos/ avalose unda( check the recipe below)

Rice flour- 3 cups
Grated coconut-2 cups
Coconut milk- 3 tbs
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 2 tbs

To make rice flour, wash and soak 3 cups of raw rice for two to three hours and strain into a colander. After five minutes, spread the rice on a piece of cloth and leave it to dry for 10 minutes. Using a mixer, make a fine powder. Sieve the flour to get a fine powder.
Take rice flour in a bowl, sprinkle coconut milk little by little and mix the flour with your hands. Add grated coconut, salt, and cumin seeds. Mix everything well. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Heat a heavy bottom pan and roast the rice flour on a low flame. Too much heat will burn the flour. This roasting will take 15- 20 minutes. Stir continuously for even roasting. The rice flour will become crispy and change color to light brown. Immediately transfer into a flat tray and allow to cool.

Avalose unda

Ari unda/Avalose unda is delicious rice balls/ ladoos. It is made with few ingredients but has a wonderful aroma of roasted rice, coconut, and cardamon. You can use Avalose podi to make this snack

Avalose Podi-3 cup (check recipe above)
Jaggery- 1/2 kg
Dry coconut- 1/2 cup (optional)
Cardamon powder- 1 tsp
Roasted black sesame seeds- 2 tbs
Ghee-3 tsp
Dry ginger powder- 1/2 tsp
Cashews crushed- 3 tsp
Cumin- a pinch
Roasted Rice flour ( extra) 3 tbs

Boil jaggery along with 1/2 cup of water, strain, and remove the impurities. Continue to simmer the jaggery until it attains a two-thread consistency. To check consistency, pour a few drops of the syrup into a bowl of cold water. If you can form a softball, then the syrup is ready. Add avalose podi, dry coconut, chopped cashew nuts, roasted sesame seeds, cumin powder, dry ginger powder, and cardamom powder. Add ghee and mix everything. Let it cool off a bit. Make small balls when still warm and roll in extra avalose podi or roasted rice flour. You can preserve this in a closed container for up to a month.

Kaya varuthathu/ Plantain chips

Kaya varuthathu / plantain chips is a popular snack in Kerala. Plantain chips are available all year round in bakeries and it served as a snack along with tea. For an authentic Kerala chips flavor and taste use coconut oil.


 Raw plantain - 3-4

 Turmeric powder- a pinch

 Salt- 1 tsp

 Water - 2 cups

 Coconut Oil for frying- 3 cups

Cut the top and the bottom of the plantain and peel off the skin.

Use a slicer to make these chips for even crispy fries or cut them into thin round slices.

Heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan and fry in batches. Using a slotted spoon, keep tossing and moving for even frying. Fry till crispy golden brown. There will be plenty of bubbles, but they will subside later. It is also an indicator that the chips are ready.

 Drain to paper towels and sprinkle salt on top, and toss. When it cools down, transfer to air-tight containers and enjoy!

Unniappam Recipe/ Sweet Rice and Banana Fritters 

Unni appam is a cute, fun treat that you cannot stop munching. They are deep-fried, delightful sweet bites made with rice, jaggery and bananas.

Rice flour- 2 cups
Jaggery – 250 grams
Sugar- 1/4 cup
Small banana- 4 ( cherupazham )
Ghee- 2 tbs
chopped coconut bites/ pieces- 1/4 cup
Black sesame seeds-1 tsp
Baking soda- 1/8 tsp (optional)
Cardamom powder- 1/8 tsp
Coconut oil for frying

To make unniappam with rice flour.
Wash and soak rice ( raw rice/Pacha ari) for 4-5 hours. Drain the rice, and spread it on a kitchen towel, and allow it to air dry. Make a fine powder of the rice and sieve. The ratio of fine rice flour and coarsely grounded rice flour is 3:1.
In a pan, boil 1 cup water and add the powdered jaggery. Let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till it melts.
Heat ghee in a pan, and add the chopped coconut bits, and roast till it turns golden. Add black sesame seeds and roast for a few seconds. Set this aside.
Mash the bananas into a smooth puree and add it to the rice flour along with the filtered jaggery syrup. Whisk everything well and make a smooth batter, with a consistency similar to idli batter. Cover and let it ferment for 4-5 hours. Once the batter is fermented, add baking soda and the fried coconut and sesame seeds. Mix well. Let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Frying the unni appam
Heat unniappam chatti/karal on medium heat. When hot, fill each round/mold up to half with oil. When the oil is hot, pour one to one and a half tablespoons of batter into each mold. When the bottom side becomes brown ( about 2 minutes on each side) and slowly leaves the edges, gently turn over with the help of a skewer or a fork. Fry till all sides are evenly brown. You can store unni appam at room temperature for up to three days.

Vettu Cake- Sweet Crispy Fried Dough

Vettu cake is a tea-time snack popular in Kerala. It is deep-fried sweet dough made of eggs, flour, and sugar and flavored with cardamon. Vettu cake has a slightly crispy outside with a fluffy texture inside.

All-purpose flour- 2 1/2 cup
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Duck eggs- 3
Powdered sugar-  1 1/2 cup
( adjust according to sweet preference)
Cardamom powder- 1/2 tsp
Yellow food color- 2 -3 drops (optional)
Oil for frying.

In a food processor, powder sugar along with cardamom powder.
Mix salt, flour, and baking soda and keep aside.
Beat eggs lightly, and then add the powdered sugar. Mix and beat nicely till the mixture turns light and fluffy. Mix in the flour and knead into a smooth, stiff dough. Allow this to rest for half an hour. Divide into dough three equal balls. Take each ball and roll it on a floured work surface to make a cylinder. Flatten the top and cut it into half-inch thick pieces. With the knife, make small slits halfway through the square. Do the same with the rest of the dough portions.
Heat oil in a pan, and fry in low medium flame till both sides turn golden brown. This will take 5-6 minutes so that the inside of the dough also cooks well. Do not overcrowd and fry in batches. Serve with tea.

Easy Ulli Vada/ Kerala Onion Fritters 

Ulli vada/ onion fritters is an old-fashioned tea-time snack from Kerala, the ones you find at local tea stalls and canteens.  Ulli vada can be made with simple everyday ingredients but taste amazing.

Onion thinly sliced- 2 medium
(I have used a combination of yellow and red onion)
Ginger chopped - 1 tbs
Green chilly finely chopped- 4
All-purpose flour- 3/4 cup
Rice flour- 1 tbs
Fennel seeds- 1/8 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Curry leaves - a few
hing- a pinch
salt to taste
Oil - 2 cup

Into a bowl, add thinly sliced onion(red or yellow onion), chopped ginger, green chilly, chopped curry leaves, and coriander leaves. Mix in salt, crushed fennel seeds, and a pinch of hing.  Mix everything well and set this aside for 15-20 minutes. The onions will shed water and become softer.
Into the onions, add all-purpose flour and rice flour. If needed, sprinkle water little by little and mix well till the flour attains an almost crumble-like texture.
Heat oil in a large, deep pan to medium-high. Wet your hands, and take a small portion (spoonfuls) of batter and shape it into dumplings or flatten it into a round disc. Drop the balls into hot oil and fry in batches.  Remove from the oil when all sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve with tea.

Pakkavada- Ribbon Pakoda 

Pakkavada/ Ribbon pakoda, is a crispy and salty tea-time snack. It is made, with chickpeas flour and rice flour seasoned with a variety of savory spices.  The mild spiciness and flaky, crisp texture make it addictive.

Gram flour/Chickpeas flour- 2 cup
Rice flour- 1 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/8 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder- 2 tsp
Asafetida/Hing- 1/8 tsp
Butter or ghee- 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- a few
Oil for frying- 2 cups

To make a paste
Garlic-3 pods
Shallots- 3-4
Curry leaves- 3-4
Water- 1/2 cup

Make a fine paste of garlic, shallots, and curry leaves. Add half a cup of water and strain the liquid and set aside.
Sift together the roasted rice flour, gram flour/besan into a bowl.  Into this add salt, hing, turmeric, and chilly powder and mix well. Add the ghee / melted butter and the strained onion garlic liquid and mix well. Knead it into a smooth, soft dough by adding water little by little.  Change the disc of idiyappam mold / Seva to the narrow slit disc-like one for pakkavada / ribbon pakoda. Fill the idiyappam press with the dough. Heat oil in a deep frying pan, and when it becomes hot, hold the mold a little above the hot oil squeeze the mold. The strands coming out should fall directly into the hot oil. Do it in a circular motion so that it falls like thin, long ribbons.  Fry in medium flame till one side is golden and flip over to the other side and fry till both sides are golden brown, not more than two minutes on either side. Drain into paper towels.  Serve with tea.

You might also like,

Kerala Black Halwa/ Karutha Halwa/ Rice Flour Halwa
Masala Peanuts - Spiced Peanut Snack
Beef Vegetable Cutlet
Chakka Pazham Pori- Chakka Appam/ Ripe Jack Fruit Fritters
Kaya pola / Malabar Plantain Cake

Try it, 

Hope you will all enjoy!


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