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
- Rice Flour – 2/3 Cup
- Water – 1 cup
- Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
- Salt – 3 Large Pinches
Ingredients for the Filling
- Fresh Grated Coconut – 1 Cup
- Jaggery – 1 Cup
- Green Cardamom – 2 (Powdered)
- Finely Cut Ripe Banana – 2/3 Cup
- Poha, Aval or Beaten Rice – 1/2 Cup
- Large Banana Leaf – 1
- Coconut Oil – 1/2 tsp
Method to Make the Dough for the Covering
- 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.
- Set aside to cool.
- In a heavy bottomed vessel, boil water with salt and oil.
- Turn off the heat.
- Immediately, add the rice flour and mix well to form a dough.
- Cover and set aside to cool.
Method to Make the Filling or the Elai Adai Poornam
- Wash the poha/aval under running water.
- Set aside in a colander to drain completely.
- In a wok, heat the jaggery with about 1/4 cup water.
- Let the jaggery melt and start boiling.
- Turn the heat to low.
- Add all the ingredients for the filling and mix well.
- Turn up the heat to medium and cook till the mixture thickens and is of dropping consistency.
- Turn off the heat and set aside the filling.
Method to Make the Ela Ada or Elai Adai
- Divide the filling into 4 portions.
- Remove the rice flour dough into a plate.
- Knead lightly into a smooth ball.
- Divide into 4 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a ball.
- 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.
- Take 1 piece of the banana leaf.
- Lightly grease the surface with 1 or 2 drops of coconut oil.
- Place one portion of rice flour dough in the centre.
- Using a greased or slightly wet hand, press the ball into a 5″ round.
- 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.
- Fold the banana leaf in half such that the Ela Ada folds into a half-moon shape.
- Press the edges of the Ada to seal it.
- Make a neat parcel by folding the banana leaf over.
- Make the remaining Ela Ada parcels.
- Steam the parcels for 10 to 12 minutes.
- I placed them in a colander.
- Place the colander in a pressure cooker.
- Steamed them like idlis.
- I placed them in a colander.
- Let the steamed Ela Ada parcels cool till they are just warm to touch.
- Just before you eat, unwrap each parcel with care.
- Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!
- 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.