Coconut idli (Soyi Sandan/Sannan)

The name coconut idli might be little misleading, but I did not know how to name this dish. Just because this is steamed like a idli, I came up with this name.

Those who are regular at Aayi’sRecipes know that I blog mostly about dishes with coconut. It is one of the most important ingredients for Konkanis. Most of the people at my native cook a lot of coconut dishes. Every house has coconut trees in its yards. At my home, we have some 20+ coconut trees. So there is no wonder in coconut being used in most of the dishes.

I read this old Kannada saying in one book – “Tengu mattu ingu iddare manganu aduge maduttade” means with coconut and asafoetida, even the monkey can cook :).

I am hearing a lot of people talking about coconut as a kind of “evil” for health. I don’t say it is very good for health, but if you have a habit of eating it, you need not say it is bad and leave it. My grandfather was 93 years old when he passed away and I have not seen him suffering from any disease any time. He was one of the strongest and healthiest man I have ever seen. He didn’t like any food without coconut. He was very very active and didn’t sit at a place for more than 5mins. He always did physical hard work. May be that was the reason behind his good health.

We asked this same thing to one of the best cardiologists in India. He said, since coastal people have this habit of eating coconut from generations, it does not have any bad effects, only thing is you have to ensure doing so much of exercise to burn the calories.

All I am saying is, please don’t see coconut as a unhealthy ingredient. Eat it within limits and do regular exercises and be healthy. Read more about the coconut at coconut research center.

This is my entry to JFI coconut hosted by Ashwini. Soyi Sandan/sannan is one of the most popular breakfasts among Konkanis at my place. For whatever reason, this was not cooked very frequently at my home. There are many recipes for this dish. This is my Aayi’s version with sweet and spicy taste.

1 cup coconut
1 cup rice rava/sooji or idli rava
1 small piece of tamarind or 1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
A pinch asafoetida
3-4 red chilies
1 tbl spn jaggery

Grind coconut with tamarind, red chilies, asafoetida and jaggery to a coarse paste without adding a lot of water. Add rava, salt and mix well. Grease a cooker vessel with oil and transfer the coconut mixture to it.

Steam in a cooker for around 12-15mins like idlis(without weight). Serve with coconut oil (I served it with chutney).

Serves: 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

PS: You can also soak rice and grind it to coarse powder and use it. I use the rice rava to make this fast.

25 thoughts on “Coconut idli (Soyi Sandan/Sannan)”

  1. I think we call it sanan, and my mom makes it of raw rice, soaked, dried and then coarsely powdered. We add some finely cut onions and cabbage to it. In my moms place too this is not done frequently, but we make thick dosa which is very crispy and tasty due to use of oil. Thanks for sharing a missed/forgotten authentic recipe.

  2. Shilpa, what a lovely post, really enjoyed reading it and about your Konkanis ways. I wish I get live to your fathers age, I think I will start eating more coconut. The idlis look great…thanks for sharing…

    I hope this comments goes through this time.

  3. Ummm, I love our breakfasts…they are so hearty and really set you up for the day. Thanks so much for participating in JFI Shilpa. I agree with you – everything should be eaten in moderation, whether it is coconut or ghee or sugar…
    My grandparents also had a very coconut intensive diet and no major health issues but I dont think we can make that kind of food everyday when we dont exert ourselves physically the way they did. Looking forward to your next entry 🙂

  4. Aruna, I forgot to mention how to make rava at home. Yes, you can make rava at home also or as I said you can buy readymade too. This is called Sannan or Sandan at my place too. I have updated that name also. Thanks.

    Dilip, if you are thinking to eat more coconut, you have to do lot of exercise also. If you don’t have a habit of eating it, be careful :). For us, we are grown up on coconut and most of us can’t imagine food without coconut.

    Ashwini, you are right. One day my grandfather asked me to come with him to pick up mangoes from our garden. Within half an hour I was so tired that, I ran away and he continued to work for hours. Wish we could live like them. I will send my second entry tomorrow.

  5. hi shilpa,
    saw this post just now. lovely ! i especially liked what you had to say about coconut. being a staunch addict to malayalee food, i believe this whole thing about coconut being unhealthy is just humbug. all food can be unhealthy, if eaten in excess. in malayalam, we have a saying, ‘adhikamayal amrithum visham,’ meaning even heavenly nectar can be poisonous, if taken in excess. i always cite my father, who is 75, and who can not think of food without coconut even for a day. everyday, he consumes at least half or even one coconut, in curries and as oil. his cholestrol level is anything but normal. and he don’t do much physical exercise as well. but, there is one thing – he is very finicky about what he eats. his starch intake is really limited. and he is a pure vegetarian, no meat, no fish, no eggs. no smoking and heavens, no drinks !
    so, just think from where all this cholestrol comes !

  6. I am nuts about coconut. But the health view really scares my wits off. So I try to balance it the next day by cooking without coconut. But mostly without coconut gravies and bhajis require oil. Fish fried with coconut oil is really yummy. I even top all my coconut gravies with a teaspoonsful of coconut oil poured kaccha for the wonderful coco-aroma.

  7. I made this today – two versions – minus the chillies for the brat and with the chillies for us. We liked it very much, the brat actually had a second helping!

    I only wish you had mentioned the consistency of the batter after mixing the coconut mixture to the Rave.

  8. I completely agree with you that coconut dishes are pretty easy to make and by far the tastiest. It is great to hear from you that your grand father lived to a ripe old age and that gives us all the license to eat more of the coconut dishes that we relish so much – provided we exercise. Coconut idli!!! Never heard of this. Definitely going to try it out!

  9. My family is third generation South African but have Indian ancestry. We speak Kokani which is a dialect of Marathi, but I believe our ancestors were originally Konkani and migrated into Maharashtra. We too have Sandan (or San-na), which is semi-sweet in taste but eaten with savoury like idli. My wife’s grand plan is to get her mother to teach her the family recipe!

  10. Asif, I think I have tasted the sweet version also some time ago. Let me see if I can get hold of recipe. I am a Konkani too. Welcome to Aayi’s recipes :).

  11. Does anyone have a receipe for a traditional Bombay breakfast food called “saandan”? I have searched all over the internet but have not come across any mention of it! The “saandan” I remember from my childhood days in Bombay (early 1950’s) were 4″ round steamed coconut rice cakes which were eaten with malai (clotted cream). In some localities saandans were sold by vendors on bicycles. Parsi’s called them sandana.

  12. The goan Catholics use coconut toddy as a fermenter, no chilis either. I’ve subtitutes yeast here in the US with some success. Also, I grind my soaked rice from scratch and used a mix of boiled rice and a little brown rice. In Goa, we use the locally grown parboiled unpolished rice which has more taster than the “suroi” rice ( white polished rice).

  13. Thank you Amanda for being at least one person who recognizes this dish. I remember in my childhood days my aunt also used toddy in her saandans. What do Goans call this dish? Can you please give your recipe for saandan. Do you eat it with malai (clotted cream) or with curry?

  14. Yousuf, Amanda, thats an interesting info. Unfortunately I don’t know any such dish, I think the dish you are talking about and the Konkani sannan that I have posted here are completely different. I will keep an eye on it.

  15. Hi shilpa,

    Should the idly rava should be soaked in water previous night or the rava is mixture in water and immediatly prepared.Can you clarify the same for me .

    Shilpa: Just soak it for about 30mins. Thats enough.

  16. Dear Shilpa, this looks tasty andinteresting, pl tell that if we have to soak the idli rawa in advance or withthe ground spices. can it be prepared quickly if any sudden guestas arrive

    Shilpa: No soaking required for this one. Also, as explained in the recipe, there is no standing(soaking) time. So you can prepare it quickly.

  17. shilpa,
    Thanx a lot for this wonderful recipe. My hus loved it like anything. As mentioned by you in a comment i soaked it for half an hour. Since my mixie can make a coarse powder only, it was a perfect outcome. This is going to be our regular breakfast from today.

  18. The recipies published on this website is really interesting,easy to follow. We have prepared a variety of the dishes published by you do You have an cook book with the Konkani dishes which would enable us to purchase & preserve for our use.



  19. Hi Shilpa,
    the above dish is not saanas ( as we call it in Goa)
    My mom makes the best saanas, They are made of coconut, rice, sugar salt and ground with toddy, and steamed like idlis. The above dish must be a Tamil dish but definitely not KOnkan.


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