This is a popular tea-time snack in Kerala. To make this cake, you must first ferment the batter and then steam it. The result: a perfectly soft, slightly spongy rice cake. I tested this recipe dozens of times before finally coming up with this method that results in a perfectly cooked cake. While this cake does require some preparation, if you follow the steps as they’re written then you’ll see it’s actually not that difficult to make.
- 1 cup basmati rice, soak for 4–5 hours
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ cup cold water
- ½ cup grated coconut*
- Coconut oil for greasing cake pan
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon raisins, fried in ghee
- 1 tablespoon cashews, fried in ghee
- Soak the rice in cold water for 4-5 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- To prepare the cake batter, you will first need to bloom the yeast. To do this, place the 3 tablespoons of warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl (the water must be warm – it cannot be cold or too hot). Allow it to rest for a few minutes or until it blooms and becomes frothy. This step is important. If the yeast doesn’t froth at the top, then it’s likely dead and you will need to buy new yeast.
- While you wait for the yeast to bloom, prepare the pressure cooker by adding 2 cups of water to the steel pot. Place the wire rack that came with your pressure cooker into the pot.
- Add the drained rice and ¾ cup cold water to a blender and blend until mostly smooth (coarsely ground rice is also fine). Add the grated coconut and the bowl of frothy yeast into the blender and blend again until well combined.
- Pour this batter into an oven-safe bowl and set the bowl on top of the trivet inside the steel inner pot.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, press the yogurt button and set the time for 2 hours. When the time is up, remove the lid and you should see that the batter has fermented and has doubled in size.
- Remove the bowl of batter, add an additional 1 cup of water into the inner pot then place an empty well-greased 7.5 inch cake pan on top of the trivet. Press the sauté button to heat up the water and the empty pan.
- Add ¼ cup sugar and cardamom to the batter and mix until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the now hot cake pan that is sitting in the steel inner pot. Sprinkle cashews and raisins on top of the batter. Lightly cover the cake pan with a piece of foil.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, press the steam button and set the time for 30 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure. Remove the hot cake pan out of the pot and place it on a wire rack to cool.
- *Freshly grated coconut isn’t always practical. I suggest buying frozen unsweetened grated coconut at your local Indian grocery store. I thaw the coconut before measuring it.
- To make this vegan, you can sauté the cashews and raisins in coconut oil or leave them out.
- I recommend making and eating this on the same day as that’s when it tastes the best.
- You can also leave the ¼ cup of sugar out of this recipe and make a steamed savory cake that you can serve with any Keralite curry.