A traditional Kerala dish - Ela Ada made with rice dough using banana leaves makes a great breakfast or an evening snack. Ela Ada dessert is traditional snack prepared in most parts in Kerala and enjoyed during festivals and occasions like Vishu and Onam.
ela ada kept one on top of other

A traditional Kerala dish – Ela Ada made with rice dough using banana leaves makes a great breakfast or an evening snack. If you are a food enthusiast, then you probably want to know more about it. This is one of the traditional dishes in Kerala. Also known as vazha Ela Ada, this Kerala delicacy contains sweet steamed rice dough filled with coconut and jaggery. ‘vazha’ is a term that means banana leaf ‘Ada’ refers to dumpling in Kerala native language. 

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Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

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What is ela ada?

The Ela Ada Kerala recipe is easy to prepare and has all the ingredients that you can quickly found within your local stores. Apart from being a traditional dish in Kerala, Ela Ada elayappam recipe is a prepared meal for special occasions. After reading this article, you will be set and ready to start preparing this right way, using the right ingredients. 

ela ada on a wooden board

How to make the perfect dough for ela ada?

When making this, ensure that you make the perfect dough. This recipe will help you have the best results. The outer cover of this Kerala dish is similar to the Kerala dish ‘pathiri’. Both the outer covering of these two dishes is made of nothing but dough made of rice, a little bit of salt, and boiling water. In most recipes, you will notice that rice flour used in making dough. However, some people prefer using special rice flour found in supermarkets, known as ‘pathiri podi’. 

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In addition to the above, you also have to consider the dough that you want to use. If you are looking for different ways of exploring other Kerala dishes and trying this, you should look more into making the perfect dough. The dough has to be of the right texture. After kneading the dough, keep it aside. You will divide the dough according to how big or small it is and the numbers you want to make. 

ela ada in a very bright background

Ela ada health benefits?

Furthermore, you may probably be asking yourself the importance of the banana leaf when making this. Well, there are various benefits of cooking in banana leaf, and they include the following; 

  • Banana leaf used in cooking different types of foods because of their ability to give dishes a pleasing aroma and flavour. 
  • Banana leaves have antioxidant properties.
  • It helps to prevent it from going bad. 
  • Banana leaf wrap protects the food from getting burnt while cooking.

From the above benefits, you can tell that banana leaves are of great importance when cooking. 

three ela ada on a wooden board

How to make Ela ada without ela?

 If you do not have a banana leaf when preparing this Kerala dish, you can use aluminium foil. Or you can use parchment paper. This snack also works in the same way as the banana leaf. Ela Ada snack can be taken at any time of the day as a snack. Making the Ela Ada without banana leaf and using aluminium foil is also okay and gives good results. However, many people prefer using the banana leaf because of how healthy it is. 

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Ela Ada with soaked rice also gives the final results. The only difference is that you have to soak the rice for hours and ground it into a thick paste. It is an excellent alternative to rice flour. The other alternative is gothambu ela ada (with Wheat flour) or ragi ela ada.

ela ada kept in a beautiful background

Types of fillings

The filling usually made is with coconut jaggery. Jackfruit Ela Ada can also be used. In addition to that, Ela Ada with chakka varatti can also be used. Another great alternative is semiya ela ada or pazham ela ada (banana)

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How to store?

You can refrigerate this for up to two to three days. Be sure to warm it up by re-steaming so that it softens up. 

ela ada with banana leaf

When I think back to my mother`s cooking when I was a child, I don’t know how much of it was a pleasure and how much of it a challenge for her.

But I know for sure that in the world that we live in, where people work hard and have little time for themselves, the act of cooking for themselves, the act of cooking for others, of entertaining, is an act of ultimate generosity and needs to be a pleasure for everyone involved.

  • Notes
    Add some crushed cardamom to the coconut jaggery mixture.
    The quantity of jaggery can be adjusted to suit your sweetness level.
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ela ada on a wooden board
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Ela Ada

A traditional Kerala dish - Ela Ada made with rice dough using banana leaves makes a great breakfast or an evening snack. Ela Ada dessert is traditional snack prepared in most parts in Kerala and enjoyed during festivals and occasions like Vishu and Onam.
Course Snack
Cuisine kerala cuisine, South Indian
Keyword Ela ada, recipe for ela ada, vazhayila ada recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 499kcal
Author Sumith Babu
Cost £3


  • steamer


For filling

  • 200 grams Jaggery
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup grated coconut (fresh or dry)
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin powder
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Ghee

For making rice dough

  • 1 cup Roasted rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Hot water
  • 1 number banana leaf (if not available, use silver foil or parchment paper)


For ela ada filling

  • Boil jaggery with water into a thick syrup
  • Strain the jaggery syrup with a sieve
  • Heat the jaggery syrup and add the grated coconut.
  • Cook till coconut is semi-dry.
  • Add cardamom powder, cumin powder, ghee and salt to taste.
  • Cook for ten minutes in a slow fire and keep aside

For the dough:

  • Boil 1 1/2 cup of water
  • Add salt to taste
  • Mix the roasted rice flour with water
  • Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes
  • Place a banana leaf
  • Wet your hands with water and make lemon sized balls with the rice flour
  • Flatten the dough on the banana leaf to form a thin layer
  • Place two tablespoons of filling on the flattened dough
  • Fold the banana leaf and keep it aside
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the filling
  • If you don't have a banana leaf, use silver foil or parchment paper instead
  • Cook ela ada for 10 to 15 minutes in a steamer
  • Ela ada is ready to serve



  1. You can add some crushed cardamom to the jaggery mix
  2. The quantity of jaggery can be added according to your sweetness level.


Calories: 499kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin E: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg


What are the other names of ela ada?

This is also called elayappam, vazhayila ada (cooked on a banana leaf), edanna ela ada (cooked on a bay leaf) or Kerala valsan. This is one of the favourite snacks in Kerala, the Southern State of India.

Can ela ada can be frozen?

Yes it can be frozen. You can reheat it and use for your occasions.

What is poo ada?

This is one of the famous snack from Kerala. The stuffing made with tender coconut is specified as Poo Ada.

Is ela ada and modak the same?

This is the same as modak in Northern India or kozhukattai in Tamil Nadu. In southern India usually, banana leaf is used where in Northern India Turmeric leaves are used instead.

What types of fillings can be used for ela ada?

Usually, coconut fillings are used, you can make it sweet or spicy according to your choice. The other fillings you can use are semiya ada, jackfruit ada, banana ada and chakka varatti ada.

How to make Ela Ada without banana leaf

For the people living in Kerala, finding banana leaves is not difficult. However, some people outside Kerala, especially those living abroad, do not have access to banana leaves. Well, not all is lost. You can still use aluminium foil or parchment paper in making this instead of banana leaves. 

What dough is used for ela ada?

You can use either roasted rice dough or wheat dough in making ela ada.