Sweet Dishes of Kerala: Unique Sweet Delights from God’s Own Country



Kerala is a treasure trove for anyone who loves nature, history, culture and food. As the sun rises on Onam, one of Kerala’s most iconic festivals which is celebrated with great fervour throughout the state, Malayalis enjoy a number of traditional sweet dishes, the knowledge of cooking which has been passed down from generations. This is a bid to explore some of the sweet dishes of Kerala, which are an integral part of every celebration and festival for the Malayalis.

1. Uniappam


Uniappam is a delicious sweet dish made of rice, bananas, coconut and spices. It is made during special occasions and is also popularly eaten as a snack in Kerala. It is made by mixing all the ingredients and fermenting the batter, after which it is either deep fried or fried in an appe pan.This delicious, soft and spongy sweet dish is certainly worth a try this Onam or otherwise!

2. Palada Payasam

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Palada Payasam is made using rice ada(thick, glutinous rice flakes), milk, ghee and jaggery. It is one of the most iconic dishes during Onam and is served widely in Onam Sadyas or feats and Sadyas for other festivals as well. It is a rich, delicious sweet rice pudding that is made by stewing all the ingredients together for a considerable time.

3. Ellunda

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Ellunda is a sesame seed and jaggery ball that is consumed throughout south India. Ellunda is one of the healthiest and simplest Indian sweet dishes and is widely consumed by people of all ages, and especially women for their hormone balancing and other nutritive properties. Jaggery is rich in iron and sesame seeds are excellent for balancing hormones, making the snack ideal for a healthy hormonal balance.

4. Elaneer payasam

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Elaneer payasam is a light and refreshing coconut pudding made mostly in the state of Kerala. It is light and made mostly of coconut and its derivatives- including tender coconut flesh, coconut water and coconut milk. Milk is boiled and the other ingredients are blended together and added, alongside jaggery and cardamom. The result is a smooth, light coconutty delight that is a delight to your taste buds.

5. Banana halwa


Banana Halwa is an easy and delicious dessert which can be made of just ghee, sugar and bananas. However, other flavouring like saffron, cardamom and even nuts and dry fruits can be added to Banana halwa. The halwa is made by cooking mashed banana and sugar in ghee till the mixture becomes glossy. Then, chopped roasted nuts and other flavouring is added in the mixture and set in a mould till it cools and solidifies. This is how simple and delicious banana halwa is made in Kerala during festivals and special occasions!

6. Ariyunda

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Ariyunda is one of the most popular sweet dishes in Kerala. It is basically made of rice, coconut and jaggery but additional flavouring can be added to it. Making Ariyunda starts with roasting rice and grinding it to a fine powder, after which it is roughly mixed with jaggery and coconut, alongside a few optional spices and flavouring, like cardamom and even cumin! Ariyunda is one of the most widely made and eaten sweet dishes in Kerala, and for a reason! The simple deliciousness of the sweet dish appeals to everyone alike, old and young.

7. Boli

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Boli is one of the most popular choices for an Onam Sadya, especially in the city of Trivandrum. Boli is very similar to Puran poli/bobbattu as it is called in other states. The sweet dish is made by making a dough of all purpose flour, turmeric powder and sesame oil, which is rested after it is made. After that, a filling is made by cooking soaked Chana Dal, jaggery, and cardamom and mashing it. A very thin outer covering is made using the dough for a ball of the stuffing and is rolled out, after which the ‘sweet paratha’ is cooked with loads of ghee. The dish is consumed with paala payasam or milk pudding during Sadyas and is a lip smacking delight for anyone with a sweet tooth!

8. Ela Ada

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Ela Ada is a sweet steamed rice dumpling widely made in Kerala and the South of India. It starts with making a dough of rice flour and water, cooked together till solidified on the stove. The dough is set aside and a filling is made using coconut, jaggery, cardamom and ghee. The slightly sticky dough is rolled out roughly and a ball of the filling is put inside. The dumpling is then sealed and slightly flattened, after which it is steamed for a short while, wrapped in banana leaves greased with ghee. This is a delicious, simple and even healthy recipe for anyone looking for dessert ideas.

9. Kinnathappam

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Kinathappam is a sweet steamed wheat and banana cake that is a popular snack in the state of Kerala. It is made by making a batter of whole wheat flour, jaggery, coconut and water, alongside spices and nuts and dry fruits. The batter is fermented and then placed in a cake pan, after which it is steamed. 

10. Mutta mala and Pinjanathappam

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The combination of Mutta mala and Pinjanathappam makes one of the most unique sweet dishes of Kerala. ‘Mutta’ refers to eggs, ‘mala’ refers to the delicate noodles made using the yolk, and ‘Pinjanathappam’ refers to the egg white cake. The yolk noodles are made using a serrated container through which whisked yolk is poured into a sugar syrup, and the egg white cake is made using the same method, other than the serrated container. The dish is made entirely of eggs and sugar, and is a truly unique dish from Kerala.

Final Thoughts

Kerala sweets are a delectable array of confections that reflect the rich culinary heritage of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Known for their unique flavors, intricate designs, and use of locally sourced ingredients, Kerala sweets hold a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors.

Ranging from syrup-soaked delicacies like “Palada Payasam” to savory-sweet combinations like “Unniyappam,” Kerala sweets encompass a wide spectrum of tastes and textures. Many of these sweets are prepared using traditional recipes that have been passed down through generations, ensuring an authentic and unforgettable experience for those who indulge in them. These unique sweet dishes that are an integral part of the state’s cuisine and deserve to be celebrated this Onam. Happy Onam!

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