Neyyappam or unniyappam is an all-time favourite sweet from south India made during Krishna Jayanthi and also during Karthigai Deepam. In some regions they are also called sweet paniyaram. This sweet is a daily ‘neivedyam’ (prasad) in many temples across Kerala.
Traditionally these sweets are made in a ‘appakara’ pan (see in the picture below) which has many moulds or cavities. Those who do not have this, can fry small spoonfuls of batter directly in a pan of oil too.
We make the neyyappams every Krishna Jayanthi or Janmashtami along with other traditional snacks.
The legendary story, as we all know, say that Lord Krishana was born at midnight and hence the puja and prayers begin only in the evening. The puja room is decorated with flowers and lamps are lit on this day.
All the neivedyam or prasad that is prepared is offered to the God. In Tamil Nadu, women draw small tiny feet with white ‘kolam mavu’ or rangoli powder from the entrance of the house to the puja room signifying Lord Krishna’s entry into the house.
I learnt this tradition from my mother-in-law who used to draw the tiny feet so nicely, but alas those days we were not into clicking pictures.
The coconut pieces fried in ghee is optional but adding this gives a nice nutty taste when you bite into the neyyappams.
After the batter is ground, leaving it to rest for few hours before frying them, gives softer and tastier neyyappams.