Unnakaya Sabudana Payasam

Unnakaya Sabudana Payasam

It's that time of the year again! The festival of Onam is celebrated all across Kerala without religious conflicts. It is said that Onam is celebrated as part of agricultural practices, as during this time of the year, the farmers yield a bountiful harvest. As a part of the celebration, food plays an important role. Sadhya; Rice is served on a banana leaf with variants of vegetable curries and stir fries along with pappadam, banana and ends on a beautiful delicious note with Payasam (term for kheer in malayalam)

Everyone has a favorite payasam. For me, it has always been Semiya payasam, until I came across this one. I happened to be breaking my head to bring something innovative for you guys, that's when my mom explained to me about a payasam that she used to have at her aunt's house and she attempted that for a party and everyone was blown away with how delicious it tasted. So ever since, I have always wanted to try this recipe and oh boy! I just can't get enough of it. Unnakaya is steamed/ boiled planatins, mashed into a paste, which is then rolled and fried in ghee. The smell of the process is just *unexplainable*. The rolled unnakaya are sometimes stuffed with Coconut filling to give it even more texture. The soaked sago pearls/ sabudana is cooked in thin coconut milk, which is sweetened with Condensed milk, to which thick coconut milk is added and the fried unnakaya and finished off with tempered cashews and raisins.
The sago is used so that the payasam gets a thick texture. And it gets thicker as it stays. Also, make sure to use just ripen plantains, so that they maintain shape even after the shaped unnakaya are fried. Usually it is palada payasam (made from rice) or parippu pradhanam (lentil payasam made with jaggery) for Onam Sadhya. Give this delicious payasam a try and you are going to be bonkers! Super divine! Words aren't enough to explain !!

Ingredients : (6-8 persons)

  • 1 Large just ripe Plantain
  • 1/4 cup Sago seeds/ Sabudana
  • 3-4 + 3-4 tbsp Ghee/ Clarified butter (for frying and tempering)
  • 2 cups Coconut, shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed milk
  • Sugar, if required 
  • Salt, a pinch 
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder 
  • 2 tbsp Cashew
  • 1 tbsp Raisins


  1. Soak the sago seeds and set aside.
  2. Cut the plantain into medium chunks and steam or boil them and mash them well using a potato masher or a food processor into a paste.
  3. Now roll them into mini unnakaya (spindle shape) and fry them in ghee just about brown and set aside.
  4. Now extract coconut milk from shredded coconut by pouring warm water to the shredded coconut in a mixer (pour water little at a time or else the contents might leak when the machine starts) and extract the milk by placing a strainer in a bowl and muslin cloth over the strainer.
  5. Set the thick coconut milk aside and repeat th eprocess to the same coconut and extract its thin milk.
  6. In a wide shallow pan, pou rthe thin coconut milk and boil/cook the soaked sago pearls (drain excess water) for around 10 minutes on medium low flame.
  7. Once the sabudana is cooked, add sweetened Condensed milk, sugar if required and salt to balance the sweetness and a dash of cardamom powder.
  8. Give it a quick stir, the payasam should slightly look thicker now.
  9. Now add in your fried mini unnakaya and finish off with ghee tempered cashews and raisins.
  10. Enjoy warm or cooled!

Do try this recipe and don't forget to share your experience/feedback with me here in the comments or feel free to send me a mail. Also, do tag me at #taystedit if you try out my recipes on Facebook, Instagram etc so that I can see when you make it. ♡♡♡♡

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