Adaku Pathiri Recipe - Authentic South Indian Delicacy

Adaku Pathiri

Adaku Pathiri Recipe - Authentic South Indian Delicacy
Region / culture: India, South India | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Adaku Pathiri
Adaku Pathiri

Adaku Pathiri, a traditional layered cake from the Malabar region of Kerala, India, is a unique and delicious dessert that showcases the rich culinary heritage of the area. This delicacy is made from simple ingredients like rice flour, eggs, coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom, which come together to create a dish that is both flavorful and aromatic. The process involves steaming layers of rice batter and egg batter, resulting in a beautiful, layered texture that is both visually appealing and delightful to the palate.


The origins of Adaku Pathiri can be traced back to the Malabar coast, where it has been a festive and celebratory dish for centuries. It is especially popular during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and for Eid celebrations. The recipe has been passed down through generations, with each family adding their own touch to the traditional dish. The name "Adaku" means "layers" in Malayalam, which perfectly describes the layered nature of this exquisite cake.


Egg batter

Rice batter

How to prepare

Egg batter

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together, then add the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Rice batter

  1. In a bowl, mix together rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, a pinch of salt, and cardamom. Set aside. Both batters are now ready for steaming.


  1. Take a pressure cooker and add some water. Place a greased small vessel inside the cooker.
  2. Pour 4 tbsp of rice batter into the greased vessel and steam until cooked.
  3. Evenly spread 1 tsp of ghee on the cooked rice batter layer.
  4. Now pour 2 tbsp of egg batter on top and steam until cooked.
  5. When the egg batter is cooked, pour another 4 tbsp of rice batter and steam it.
  6. No need to apply ghee on the egg batter; it should only be applied on the rice batter.
  7. Repeat the layers until all the batter is used.
  8. Once all the batter is used, steam for an additional 2-3 minutes and then turn off the heat.
  9. Allow it to cool, then remove from the cooker and cut into desired shapes. Serve as a snack. When cut, you will see layers of white and yellow.


  • 1. Sweeteners: Instead of sugar, jaggery or maple syrup can be used for a different flavor profile.
  • 2. Vegan version: Replace eggs with a mixture of flaxseed meal and water, and use vegan coconut milk to cater to vegan dietary preferences.
  • 3. Flavorings: Experiment with different spices like cinnamon or nutmeg instead of cardamom for varied flavors.
  • 1. Sweeteners: Instead of sugar, you can use jaggery or honey for a different flavor profile.
  • 2. Flavors: Add a twist by incorporating vanilla extract or rose water into the egg batter.
  • 3. Vegan Version: Use flaxseed meal mixed with water as an egg substitute and almond milk or another plant-based milk in place of coconut milk.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Ensure the consistency of both batters is correct; the rice batter should be smooth and pourable, while the egg batter should be well-beaten until frothy.

2. Use a non-stick or well-greased vessel for steaming to prevent sticking and ensure easy removal of the Pathiri.

3. Steam each layer just until set to avoid overcooking, which can make the layers tough instead of tender and moist.

4. Allow the Adaku Pathiri to cool completely before cutting into it, as this helps the layers set and makes it easier to cut clean slices.

Serving Suggestions

Adaku Pathiri can be served as a dessert or a snack. It pairs beautifully with a cup of hot tea or coffee. For a festive touch, it can be garnished with sliced almonds or pistachios and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Cooking Techniques

Steaming is the key technique used in making Adaku Pathiri, which helps in creating its unique texture. It's important to maintain a consistent steam level and to carefully monitor each layer to ensure even cooking.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Rice Flour: In the absence of rice flour, finely ground rice or semolina can be used as a substitute.

2. Coconut Milk: For those who do not prefer coconut milk, regular dairy milk or almond milk can be used, though it will alter the taste.

3. Ghee: Clarified butter (ghee) can be replaced with unsalted butter or coconut oil for greasing.

Make Ahead Tips

Adaku Pathiri can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. To serve, simply reheat gently using a steamer or microwave to bring back its soft texture.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Adaku Pathiri on a beautiful platter, garnished with edible flowers or thinly sliced fruits for an elegant presentation. Dusting with powdered sugar or cardamom powder can also enhance its visual appeal.

Pairing Recommendations

Adaku Pathiri pairs well with spicy or savory dishes, providing a sweet balance. It can also be served alongside fruit compotes or custards for a more decadent dessert experience.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Adaku Pathiri in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, steam or microwave until warm. Avoid over-reheating to maintain the moist texture.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Adaku Pathiri contains approximately 200-250 calories, making it a moderately calorie-dense food. The exact calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients used and the serving size.


A single serving of Adaku Pathiri is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from the rice flour and sugar used in the recipe. The carbohydrates provide energy, making it a satisfying snack or dessert option.


The fats in Adaku Pathiri come from the coconut milk and ghee. These are healthy fats that contribute to the dish's creamy texture and rich flavor.


Eggs in the recipe contribute to the protein content of Adaku Pathiri, making it a more balanced dish. Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.

Vitamins and minerals

Coconut milk is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium. Eggs also contribute vitamins such as vitamin D, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper.


The main allergens in Adaku Pathiri are eggs and coconut. Those with allergies to these ingredients should avoid this dish.


Adaku Pathiri is a nutritious and delicious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. However, it is calorie-dense and contains potential allergens like eggs and coconut.


Adaku Pathiri is a traditional, layered steamed cake from Kerala that offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures. With its rich history and nutritional value, it is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether served as a dessert or snack, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time is still fresh in my mind. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Adaku in her home in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria. Adaku was known for her incredible cooking skills, and I always looked forward to tasting her delicious dishes whenever I visited.

On this particular day, Adaku had prepared a special dish called Adaku Pathiri. As soon as I took my first bite, I knew I had to learn how to make it myself. The flavors were unlike anything I had ever tasted before - a perfect blend of spices, herbs, and a hint of sweetness that lingered on my taste buds long after the meal was over.

I asked Adaku for the recipe, and she smiled warmly at me before pulling out a worn, stained piece of paper from her recipe box. She explained that the recipe had been passed down through generations in her family, and she was honored to share it with me.

As she read through the ingredients and instructions, I could see the passion and love she had for cooking reflected in her eyes. I knew that I had to pay close attention and learn the recipe by heart so that I could recreate this magical dish in my own kitchen.

The first step in making Adaku Pathiri was to prepare the dough. Adaku showed me how to mix together flour, water, and a pinch of salt until it formed a smooth, elastic ball. She then demonstrated the art of rolling out the dough into thin, round circles, which would serve as the base for the dish.

Next, Adaku taught me how to make the filling. It was a combination of minced meat, onions, garlic, ginger, and a special blend of spices that she had learned from her grandmother. The aroma that wafted from the pan as the filling cooked was intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to taste the final result.

Once the dough and filling were ready, Adaku showed me how to assemble the dish. She placed a spoonful of the filling onto a round of dough, folded it in half, and crimped the edges to seal in the delicious flavors. She then fried the pathiris in hot oil until they were golden brown and crispy.

As we sat down to eat, I savored every bite of the Adaku Pathiri. The flavors danced on my tongue, and I could feel the love and care that had gone into making this dish. Adaku smiled at me as I complimented her cooking, and I knew that this recipe would become a cherished part of my own culinary repertoire.

After my visit to Lagos, I returned home with the recipe for Adaku Pathiri safely tucked away in my recipe box. Over the years, I have made this dish for my family and friends, sharing the story of how I learned to make it from my dear friend Adaku.

Each time I prepare Adaku Pathiri, I am transported back to that warm summer day in Lagos, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of Nigeria. The memories of learning this recipe from Adaku will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pass on this delicious dish to future generations.

As I sit here reminiscing about that fateful day, I am filled with gratitude for the friendships and experiences that have enriched my life. Cooking has always been a way for me to connect with others, and the recipe for Adaku Pathiri will forever remind me of the joy and love that can be shared through food.

So the next time you find yourself in the kitchen, preparing a meal for your loved ones, remember the story of how I learned to make Adaku Pathiri. Let the flavors and aromas transport you to a faraway land, where the memories of friendship and delicious food will forever linger in your heart.


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