Sannas are soft, fluffy, and spongy rice cakes, either savoury or sweet, and very popular in the Konkan region esp Goa, and Mangalore. No catholic feast or festival in this region is complete without the sanna.

The first time I came across sannas was on the display board of a restaurant here. Though they seemed like idlis, they had a unique cute shape and looked fluffy and tempting. But I could not taste them as the restaurant had stopped serving sannas.

Still, for a foodie like me, just a name is more than enough 😀  .  A simple lookup brought me to the understanding that these were indeed idlis, but made with appam batter, rather than the idli batter that we use in South India.

Appams are pancakes popular in Kerala and Tamilnadu which are lacy at the edges and soft and spongy at the center. These were also originally made by grinding rice and coconut and fermented with toddy.

Though these days due to the non-availability of toddy, yeast or baking soda is used. I already have an appam recipe on my site without using any of the above – toddy, soda, or yeast, yet soft and spongy.

That would very well work for sannas. Still, I wanted to get close to the authentic one, which was with toddy. I came across quite a few recipes using homemade toddy or sur but that too used yeast. Somehow I did not like the yeasty texture of the appam, which to me seemed bread-like.

So I came up with something similar, yet not toddy. You can call it fermented water, as I made it using fermented idli batter and coconut water, and it worked like a charm. I used the same aapam/appam recipe on my site modifying it a bit.

The sannas came out so soft and spongy and tasted yum with chicken curry. Traditionally, in Goa and Mangalore, these are served with meat curries. Thou’ any chutney or stew will go well with it.Sannas with chicken gravy

The fermented water did make a difference in the texture of the final product. Even without the addition of any other leavening agents, the sannas were unbelievably soft.

I even tried making appam with the batter, and it came out well too.

appam with sannas batter

So gyz, do give this a trial my way and you are sure to love it. Fermented water preparation does need prior planning, so get started accordingly.

O’er to the recipe…

Sannas are Goan Idlis, popular in the Konkan region along the Western coast of India. They are typically made in Catholic households during feasts and festivities
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Soaking and Fermentation time10 hours
Total Time10 hours 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian, Konkani
Keyword: Sannas recipe, Sannas with homemade toddy, Sannas without yeast
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hema Magesh

For soaking and grinding

  • 1 cup raw rice (pacharisi)
  • 1 cup ponni rice (or any par-boiled rice)
  • cup urad dal
  • a pinch of methi
  • a handful of poha

Rest of the ingredients

  • ½ cup grated coconut( loosely packed)(50g)
  • 1 cup homemade fermented water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt as needed
  • water as needed
  • oil for greasing
  • Soak all the ingredients mentioned under 'for soaking and grinding' for 2 hours.
  • Grind them in a wet grinder or a blender. First, grind the coconut, then grind the soaked contents to a smooth batter using the fermented water and plain water as needed. The batter should be of flowing consistency, but not watery.
    Sannas prep step 2
  • Add the sugar and salt as needed and Let it ferment in a warm place for 6-8 hours or overnight.
    Sannas prep step 3
  • Once it ferments, gently give it a mix and add more salt or sugar if needed.
    Sannas prep step 4
  • Heat up the steamer with water as needed and grease the containers with oil. Fill the containers up to ⅔ cup with the batter and steam for 12-15 minutes.
    Sannas prep step 5
  • When it is done remove the containers from the steamer, let it sit for a minute, and then de-mold.
    Sannas prep step 6
  • Serve with any chutney or meat curries of your choice. I served it with chicken varatharacha curry and it was so good

Hema’s P.S

  • For this recipe, you will need 1 cup of homemade fermented liquid, prepared with ½ cup of coconut water. Increase quantity proportionately as you increase the quantity of rice.
  • If you are not okay with it or you are short on time, you can always use my aapam recipe to make sannas. Just see that the batter is not too runny as in aapam.
  • The addition of sugar to the batter is up to personal preference. Some people like it sweet. I have kept it mildly sweet as this works best for a spicy curry. You can also skip it if you plan to serve it with a simple chutney.
  • As I did not have the sanna molds, I used the small containers that I had. If nothing at all, you can steam it in idli plates or dhokla plates too.
  • A few pictures did not turn out well coz of poor lighting. Please bear with me guys..Will update it at the next available opportunity.

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