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Ilai Appam

 Published 2019-Apr-14   Updated 2019-Apr-15

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Elai Ada, இலை அப்பம்)

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Ilai Appam, also known as Ela Ada is a traditional snack made in our native place. Grannies used to make this during evenings and give use with a cup of tea. After playing in the sun for hours together, this was quite a filling snack. It is steamed and has all healthy ingredients too.

It was traditionally made in Arasa Ilai (Cheelanthi Ela) because the tree was found in most backyards. Nowadays it is difficult to find that leaf. The next best alternative would be making with banana leaf as I have made. The leaf impart a aroma and taste to the kozhukattai which you cannot get otherwise.

For the filling my grandmother used to use boiled green gram, coconut and jaggery. I have found many people making with just coconut and jaggery filling. The green gram adds a nice texture to the appam and is better for our health too. Try this out today and don't let your kids forget our traditional dishes.

Recipe for Ilai Appam

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 8


  • Banana Leaves - 8 to 10 pieces
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp

For Outer Covering

  • Rice Flour - 1.5 cup
  • Water - 2.5 cups
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp

For Filling

  • Boiled Green Gram (Cheru Payaru) – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • Grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Cardamom - 4 (crushed)


For Outer Covering

  1. Mix the rice flour with normal water. Add salt and oil to this.
  2. Keep this on the stove and switch on the flame.
  3. Cook while continuously stirring. After few minutes, it forms a ball and leaves the edges of the kadai.
  4. Transfer this to a plate, cover it and let it cool for 10 minutes.

For Filling

  1. Powder the jaggery. If it has impurities, melt and strain it. If not, use as such.
  2. Mix the jaggery powder with boiled green gram, grated coconut and crushed cardamon.
  3. Cook this in a kadai for few minutes until everything come together. This is the filling. Keep this aside.

To make Appams

  1. Take the banana leaves and cut into small rectangles. If it is very fresh, show it in open flame to wilt it to soften it. 
  2. Grease the top of each leaf with some ghee.
  3. Apply some oil on your palm and knead the cooked rice dough once.
  4. Take a small portion (lemon size) of the dough and place it on the greased banana leaf. Press it with your fingers to flatten it. 
  5. Spoon in some of the filling in the middle.
  6. Fold the banana leaf into half. Close the banana leaves on all sides to seal it. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  7. Arrange the appams in a steamer. Cook on medium flame for 15 minutes and switch off. The colour of the leaves changes.

    Ilai Appam Preparation Steps

  8. After it cools down, remove the wrapper and enjoy with hot tea.

    Ilai Appam Preparation Steps


  • If you do not find arasa maram ilai or banana leaf, just make the appam using the kozhukattai mold or using aluminium foil. 

Serving Ilai Appam

  • These appams are traditionally had with a cup of ginger tea or black tea (kattan chaaya) for breakfast or evening snack. The filling makes it a heavy and nutritious meal.

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 Published by on and last updated on 2019-04-15.