Goan Sanna | Mangalorean Idlis | Goan Steamed Rice Cake is steamed fluffy and spongy rice cake which is a very popular dish of Goan cuisine. The Sannas are quite popular amongst Goan and Mangalorean Catholics. They are customarily made on celebrations.
Today I have a very unique and one of the most exotic recipes of South Indian Cuisine. This recipe is Goan Sannas or Goan steamed rice cake. They are also known as Mangalore Sannas. I am not from Southern part of India, and I haven’t had these Sannas anywhere. Then how do I know this wonderful recipe exists?
There is a little interesting story. One of my friends asked me to make a video recipe for Sannas a couple of months ago, and frankly speaking I had no idea what they were. He said he had them during his Goa visit. I have been to Goa but did not eat Sannas, and I haven’t heard about them. When I got this request I had to take the help of uncle Google. My friend told me that he had Sannas in Goa, so my hunting was relatively easy on the internet.
And fortunately, I found so many awesome Sannas recipes and I also found out Sanna is a very popular dish of Goan cuisine. The Sannas are quite popular amongst Goan and Mangalorean Catholics. They are customarily made on celebrations. They look so similar to idli, so I definitely wanted to try these awesome Sannas.
I went through a number of video tutorials and written recipes, but they were all quite different from one another. And that created some confusion for me. It’s because some used Goan red rice, other used idly rice or parboiled rice. Some added coconut paste to the batter, some did not. Some added lentils to the batter and others did not. Some added toddy (palm alcohol aka fermented coconut water) and other added yeast mixture to the batter. So much bewilderment.
Doesn’t it happen to you that when you study a lot about something from various sources, you get even more confused? The same thing happened with me too. Considering I cannot go to Goa or Mangalore to taste the authentic ones, so I chose to take the best information I could get to create my very own version of Sannas which suited best to my taste buds. If I would have designed Sannas, I would have done it like this.
For this recipe, I wanted to use Goan red rice but couldn’t find them here and I didn’t have idli rice either. So I chose to go with three different types of rice for my first trial of this recipe. I made three batter batches and kept the rest of the recipe about the same.
The 1st batter = Jasmine rice + Urad dal.
The 2nd batter = Long grain rice + Urad dal.
The 3rd batter = Medium grain rice + Urad dal.
The outcome was almost the same for all three batters, but I personally liked the one which had the long grain rice. If you have idli rice or parboiled rice then go for them, but if you don’t have them like I did not have them, then you can make these fluffy Sannas with long grain rice. They are awesomely wonderful.
Sannas also come from the world famous South Indian Idli family. Thus, there are similarities between Idlis and Sannas. Let me show you how:
The method of soaking and grinding rice and lentils are similar.
The method of steaming idlis and Sannas are similar.
You can also eat Sannas with chutney or sambar for breakfast. Same with idli.
Sannas are very handy:
- You can enjoy Sannas for lunch & dinner by serving them with your favorite gravy dish. Usually, chicken, pork or vegetable curry is served with sannas. Sannas taste best when they are fresh and warm – right out of the steamer.
- These steamed rice cakes are toddler and kid friendly. There is also a sweeter version of Sannas which is made by stuffing coconut and jaggery. You’d have guessed it that kids adore this sweet version of Sannas. So, if you are bored with the regular Sanna, you can make stuffed sweet Sannas too.
Wisdom that you need to follow while making Sannas:
1. You need a really smooth and creamy batter. So try to grind rice and lentils in a powerful grinder.
2. I added coconut milk, but you can also make fresh coconut paste by grinding freshly grated coconut and water.
3. Sugar is also added to the batter to give it a slightly sweeter taste as compared to regular Idlis.
4. They taste best with liquid curries because they are porous and get soaked with the curry excellently.
5. The Sannas are cooked in small steel ramekins. However, you can use any ramekins, and steam them in a steamer or a large pot.
Watch Goan Sanna | Mangalorean Idlis | Goan Steamed Rice Cake Recipe video below (please wait for a couple of seconds for loading).
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If you cook this dish, be sure to tag your photo with this hashtag: #mggk
Happy Cooking and Keep Sharing! 🙂
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.