Make this classic Kerala recipe for steamed rice cake or vattayappam from scratch

Make this classic Kerala recipe for steamed rice cake or vattayappam from scratch

Often paired with a cup of black tea, this dish can be made under an hour

Guide to making Kerala vattayappam at home Image Credit: Supplied/Sobha Varghese

Popular in the southern state of Kerala, India, vattayappam or fermented steamed rice cake is made using rice and coconut. The batter for the cake is fermented prior to preparation by using yeast. This sweet, soft and spongy dish is quite healthy to consume and can be eaten as a snack or as part of a full meal if paired with a meat dish. The word 'vatta' comes from the round shape of the baking tray as the vattayayappam is normally baked in a round tray.

Preparation time: 24 hours

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 1 large cake


Here's what you will need: Raw rice, grated coconut, sugar, rice flakes, yeast, coconut water and salt Image Credit: Supplied/ Sobha Varghese
  1. 300 gms raw rice
  2. 150 gms grated coconut
  3. 120 gms sugar
  4. 2 tbsp rice flakes
  5. ½ cup coconut water
  6. ½ tsp salt
  7. ¼ tsp yeast


Preparing the batter

Time to prepare the batter Image Credit: Supplied/ Sobha Varghese

Step 1: Wash the rice thoroughly a few times till the water runs clear. Soak it in water for about four hours till it becomes soft enough to grind. Soak the rice flakes in a quarter cup of water as well.

Step 2: After four hours, drain the water and add the rice and rice flakes to a blender. Add coconut water at equal intervals, as you grind, till you get a thick and finely ground batter.

Note: Ensure that you do not add a lot of water as this would make the batter thin.

Once the batter is ready, add the grated coconut and grind it once again to an almost smooth consistency.

Make sure your batter is thick Image Credit: Supplied/Sobha Varghese

Step 3: Before adding the grated coconut to a food processor, add two tablespoons of rice batter and pour it into a pan. Add 200 to 250 ml of water to it, to create a thin consistency. Boil it on a medium flame till it starts to thicken. Make sure to continuously stir the mix using a spatula. Keep this aside for about 10 minutes for cooling. This process is called kappi kaachal.

Step 4: Combine yeast with one tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of warm water. Leave it to ferment for about 10 to 15 minutes in a small cup.

Step 5: Transfer the rice-coconut batter into a bowl. Add the mix or kappi, fermented yeast, 120 gm of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt and mix it nicely. Cover the bowl and keep it aside for about five hours.

Preparing the Vattayappam 

Step 1: In steamer, add water to the base.

Step 2: Grease a round pan with oil.

Step 3: Pour the prepared batter and fill the ¾ of the greased pan. Place it in the steamer and cook for two minutes initially. Then add a few cashews and raisins on the partially baked batter. 

Time to steam the rice cake. Transfer to a round baking tray Image Credit: Supplied/Sobha Varghese

Step 4: Steam for another 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Steam the vattayappam till a skewer comes out clean Image Credit: Supplied/Sobha Varghese

Step 5: On removing the tray from the steamer, allow it to cool. Once the vattayappam is cooled, pull it out from the pan by slowly releasing the edges using a knife or spoon.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy soft, sweet and spongy vattayappam!

Serve and enjoy! Image Credit: Supplied/Sobha Varghese
Cooking Notes
• It is better to use tender coconut, if available.
• Instead of coconut water, you can use coconut milk.
• Cashews and raisins are optional.
• Do not stir the batter while transferring to the baking tray. Scoop the batter from the top.
• Vattayappam can also be made without adding sugar, then this can be served with chicken curry or mutton curry or a cup of black tea.
This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your experience and provide more personalized service to you. Both on your website and other media. To find out more about the cookies and data we use, please check out our Privacy Policy.