"Sannas" are commonly known as the Goan rice cakes in the world outside Goa. But to the traditional Goan foodie, Sannas are an inseparable part of any festivity be it the Church feast, birthday party, anniversary, christening, communion, or simply a bash, the sannas have to be decorating the table.
Sannas, are essentially a substitute for bread and are made from steamed rice and coconut toddy and is a spongy, white, and warmly sweet Goan speciality . Many outside Goa consider Sanna to be a Goan variant of idli a south Indian dish which is made from rice, udad dal( for fermentation), but without the coconut or the toddy. So while sannas may appear to resemble idlis on the outside, they are completely different in texture, as well as in taste. The difference between the two is like chalk and cheese.
Sannas are a distinct Goan delicacy, often served as an accompaniment to a meal or as a starter in itself . It is a steamed-bread made from fat ground rice, fresh coconut, salt, sugar and toddy. Toddy forms the most essential part of the sannas and contributes to its distinct taste while also making it light.
Sannas are extremely popular among native people of Goa and also among migrated Goans such as the Mangalorean catholic community or any Goan community settled abroad. Sannas are popular among Goan Catholics and Hindus alike and prepared by them on several special occasions.
Traditionally, among Goan catholics, Sannas are served with a Goan pork dish called Sorpotel which is widely popular. The preparation of Sannas entails gentle grinding wherein there is no heat generated during mixing, resulting in a healthy mixture full of vitamins . Sannas are wheat free, gluten free and fat free and because they are steamed, their appeal is absolutely distinct in taste.
Method of preparing Sweet Goan Sannas
Ingredients needed for the preparation:
2 1/2 kg Goa rice ( traditional Goan rice is best)
2-3 large fresh coconuts
11/4 kg sugar
1 ½ bottle fresh toddy
1 tbsp salt or to taste
Soak the rice overnight. In the morning grind the rice to a fine paste. Grate the coconuts and grind them. Take the toddy and strain it separately to remove any particles or sediments.
Now mix all three, i.e the ground rice, the coconut and the toddy. Add the sugar and mix the entire mixture. Add little water and salt to the mixture and pour it into a large container and keep it aside till the mixture begins to rise which should take a time of around 4 hours.
Next water is kept to boil in the "kompro", a large copper vessel with an air-tight lid used for cooking sannas. Take some saucers and pour the mixture into each saucer known as "vanttleo" ( which are made of stainless steel)and arrange them on the kompro stand and keep for steaming for around 25 minutes on high heat.
The time could be more depending on the size of the "vanttleo". After the first batch of "vanttleo' mixture is ready into steaming sannas, the next batch is ready for cooking.The freshly made Sannas are often oozing with a lovely aroma and are spongy-soft in their texture and absolutely delicious.
Have a Sannnatastic meal!