Ela Ada | Elai Adai – Onam Sadya Recipe from Kerala

Elai Adai or Ela Ada - Onam and Vishu Sadya Recipe from Kerala
Elai Adai or Ela Ada

I have been meaning to make Ela Ada or Elai Adai for a while now. Now that Onam is nearing I thought of postinng this recipe. Ela Ada is essentially a steamed dumpling that has a coconut-jaggery filling inside a rice flour covering. This dumpling is wrapped in banana leaves (ela or elai) and then steamed.

I have essentially followed the Ela Ada recipe that is given on Kerala.com with minor tweaks. I have reduced the quantities proportionally to make 4 largish Ela Adas. The Adas turned out perfectly.

Makes: 4 to 6 Adas (depending on the size)

Time: 60 to 75 Minutes

Ingredients for the Covering

  1. Rice Flour – 2/3 Cup
  2. Water – 1 cup
  3. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
  4. Salt – 3 Large Pinches

Ingredients for the Filling

  1. Fresh Grated Coconut – 1 Cup
  2. Jaggery – 1 Cup
  3. Green Cardamom – 2 (Powdered)
  4. Finely Cut Ripe Banana – 2/3 Cup
  5. Poha, Aval or Beaten Rice – 1/2 Cup

Step 6 - Ingredients for the Filling - Ela Ada or Elai Adai

Other Requirements

  1. Large Banana Leaf – 1
  2. Coconut Oil – 1/2 tsp

Method to Make the Dough for the Covering

  1. In a hot kadhai or wok, dry roast the rice flour for 3 to 5 minutes. The rice flour should not change color; only lose the raw smell.
    Step 1 - Roast Rice Flour - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  2.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a heavy bottomed vessel, boil water with salt and oil.
    Step 2 - Boil Water, Salt and Oil - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  4. Turn off the heat.
  5. Immediately, add the rice flour and mix well to form a dough.
    Step 3 - Add Rice Flour to Water - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  6. Cover and set aside to cool.

Method to Make the Filling or the Elai Adai Poornam

  1. Wash the poha/aval under running water.
  2. Set aside in a colander to drain completely.
  3. In a wok, heat the jaggery with about 1/4 cup water.
    Step 7 - Add a Little Water to Jaggery - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  4. Let the jaggery melt and start boiling.
    Step 8 - Melt the Jaggery - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  5. Turn the heat to low.
  6. Add all the ingredients for the filling and mix well.
  7. Turn up the heat to medium and cook till the mixture thickens and is of dropping consistency.
    Step 9 - Add all the ingredients and cook - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  8. Turn off the heat and set aside the filling.

Method to Make the Ela Ada or Elai Adai

  1. Divide the filling into 4 portions.
  2. Remove the rice flour dough into a plate.
  3. Knead lightly into a smooth ball.
    Step 4 - Knead the Dough into a Smooth Ball - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  4. Divide into 4 equal portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a ball.
    Step 5 - Divide the Dough into 4 Equal Portions - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  6. Cut the banana leaf into four equal parts. Discard the central spine. The best way is to run a sharp knife exactly parallel to the spine.
  7. Take 1 piece of the banana leaf.
  8. Lightly grease the surface with 1 or 2 drops of coconut oil.
    Step 10 - Lightly Grease a Banana Leaf - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  9. Place one portion of rice flour dough in the centre.
  10. Using a greased or slightly wet hand, press the ball into a 5″ round.
    Step 11 - Spread the Rice Flour Batter - Ela Ada or Elai Adai.JPG
  11. Place one portion of the filling in the centre and gently spread into a 3.5″ round. Ensure that there is no filling at the edges. The filling will spread further when we fold the Ada.
    Step 12 - Place Filling in the Centre - Ela Ada or Elai Adai.JPG
  12. Fold the banana leaf in half such that the Ela Ada folds into a half-moon shape.
  13. Press the edges of the Ada to seal it.
    Step 13 - Fold the Ada in Half - Ela Ada or Elai Adai.JPG
  14. Make a neat parcel by folding the banana leaf over.
    Step 14 - Fold the Banana Leaf to Form a Parcel - Ela Ada or Elai Adai.JPG
  15. Make the remaining Ela Ada parcels.
  16. Steam the parcels for 10 to 12 minutes.
    1. I placed them in a colander.
      Step 15 - Place in a Colander - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
    2. Place the colander in a pressure cooker.
    3. Steamed them like idlis.
  17. Let the steamed Ela Ada parcels cool till they are just warm to touch.
    Step 16 - The Steamed Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  18. Just before you eat, unwrap each parcel with care.
    Step 17 - Open the Steamed Parcel - Ela Ada or Elai Adai
  19. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!
    Ela Ada or Elai Adai


  • Take your time to make the Ela Ada the first time you do it. It takes time and patience.
  • Ensure that the covering is not too thick. Otherwise, all you will taste is the rice flour covering.
  • Use a greased hand or a wet hand to spread the covering on the banana leaf. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to spread the covering.
  • Use the rice flour dough within 20 to 30 minutes of making it. Otherwise, it tends to dry out and crack.
  • Do not steam much beyond 10 minutes. Over-steaming will cause the covering to start cracking.
  • I love to have my Elai Adai a bit warm but they are perfect at room temperature as well.
  • I keep the Ela Ada wrapped in the banana leaf till we are ready to eat them.


  1. We have exactly the same dish in odisha. It’s called MANDA Pitha. Till now I thought this item is our speciality, guess I am wrong.
    Unity in diversity 😉

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