Sannas (Steamed Rice cakes) with Coconut Green Chutney

Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney

The Goan cuisine is predominantly seafood based because of its vast coastline. Coconut is also used extensively because coconut trees are abundant in the state. The Goan cuisine can be broadly divided into two categories, the Hindu Cuisine and the catholic Cuisine. The recipe I chose for today, sannas, is under the catholic cuisine. This is one of the very famous dishes made during Christmas and for Christmas parties and feasts. It is usually served with a pork side dish, but I made them today with a special Goan Coconut Chutney. I am from Tamil Nadu and I saw this dish as a lovely alternative to the traditional idlies. They were so quick to make and the texture was great. The only thing that I noticed texture wise was that the sannas were a little on the dry side when compared to the idlies. But when paired with a lovely chutney and sambhar, there was no issue in eating them.

Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney %%

The sannas are traditionally fermented using toddy which is fermented coconut water (that changes into liquor). The other way to make sannas in the absence of toddy is to use yeast to help ferment the dough. The sannas can be made savory by skipping sugar in the batter or made sweet by adding sugar in the batter.

The coconut chutney that I made today is very similar and uses onions and garlic. It was spicy and a perfect accompaniment to the sannas. The sannas are made traditionally in little katoris (bowls) and steamed in a steamer. I was thinking of making it in my regular idli pans as I did not have the right size bowls, but I borrowed the bowls from one of friend and made them the traditional way. For the amount of rice used the recipe yielded lots of sannas. The key is the batter has to ferment the right way.

It takes almost 36 hours for me to ferment the idli batter in winter. This will be my alternate to the idli as the batter took me only 2 hours to ferment and if I had not noticed it at the right time my whole closet would have been a mess. In about 2 hours the batter had more than doubled and was pouring out of the vessel.

Preparation time – For the Sannas – 10 minutes plus about 5 hours for soaking and fermenting
For the Chutney – 10 minutes
Cooking time – For the Sannas – 20 minutes per batch
For the Chutney – None
Difficulty level – For the Sannas – easy
For the Chutney – easy
Recipe Source – For the Sannas – Ruchik Randhap
For the Chutney – Madhur Jaffery

Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney

Ingredients –

For the Sannas – makes about 30 Sannas

  • Par boiled rice/ Idli rice – 1 ½ cups
  • Regular rice/ raw rice – ½ cup
  • Urad dal/ullutham paruppu – ¼ cup
  • Active dry yeast – 1 tsp (heaped)
  • Sugar – 1 tsp (for the yeast solution) plus 3 tsps (for the batter)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Luke warm water – 4 tbsp (to dissolve the yeast)

For the Goan Special Coconut Chutney – (serves 4-6)

  • Coconut – 1 cup
  • Cilantro – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 small
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece (grated)
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Green chilies – 2 or 3
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney

Procedure – To make the Sannas –

  • Soak both the rice together and the urad dal separately for at least 3 hours. I soaked them late (well past midnight) in the night and ground it at about 10 AM the next day.
  • Drain the water from the urad dal and grind it in the blender (or a grinder if you are using a large quantity) until it is smooth and fluffy. Add water just as needed and grind it.
  • Transfer the ground dal into a large container and then grind the rice. Grind it until the batter resembles idli batter but ground finer than idli batter. The batter should neither be too thick nor too thin. Transfer this to the same container that has the ground urad dal.
  • In a small bowl add the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. Now add about 4 tbsp of luke warm water to it and mix well. Leave it aside for about 10 minutes for the yeast to proof. After 10 minutes you will notice that the yeast mixture will be all frothy.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney
  • Mix the yeast mixture well and then add it to the batter container. Add the salt and sugar to the batter and mix once again well.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney
  • Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave it undisturbed in a warm place for about 1 ½ hrs to 2 hrs. At the end of 2 hrs or even before it if you live in a warm place, you will notice that mixture has fermented to more than twice its original volume.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney
  • Grease small bowls or the idli plates and fill them half way with the fermented batter. Make sure that you do not mix the batter; otherwise the sannas will not come out fluffy. Scoop the batter from the top and keep filling the bowls half way through. Steam them in a steamer for 18-20 minutes until sannas appear fluffy and porous.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney
  • Now carefully removes the bowls from the steamer and place it facing down on a large plate. Once the bowls have cooled down a bit, lift them up and you will notice that the sannas slide out of them. If in a hurry for the sannas to cool down, place a wet kitchen towel on top of the bowls to help it cool down faster.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney
  • Keep it warm until ready to serve or warm in microwave wrapped in between wet paper towels.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney %%

To make the Goan Special Coconut Chutney – 

Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney %%
  • Grind the coconut, cilantro, onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.  Add the required salt and sugar to it and mix well.
  • In a small coffee grinder, grind together the coriander seeds, cinnamon and cloves to a powder. Add this to ground chutney and mix well.
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney %%
  • Serve with Sannas!
Goa Sannas with Special coconut chutney %%

3 thoughts on “Sannas (Steamed Rice cakes) with Coconut Green Chutney

  1. Can u gv me the exact measurements of the items using toddy, i tried vth yeast came out nice, wAnt to try vth toddy. Reply soon, saira

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