Malabar Unnakkaya/Unnakayya/Unnai Kayaii which is also known as Kaayada or Unnakayi is one of the most famous sweets in the Malabar (Muslim) Cuisine and favorite snacks in Kerala mostly by the Muslims, but nowadays by everyone in the Kerala. It is considered to be a Malabar sweet.
This Malabar sweet is made from cooked and mashed plantains that serve as the dough which is to be filled or stuffed by the mixture of sugar, spices, nuts, dried fruits or grated coconuts then deep-fried using Ghee .
These sweets are known all over Kerala as Unnakkaya or Unnakkayi, but in some places, they are called Kaayada, the name which is derived from Kaayi for plantains and Ada which refer to foods which are stuffed, hence literally, Kaayada literally means "stuffed plaintains"
Depending on the area in Kerala, the stuffing/filling used varies. Some are using a mixture of eggs, Sugar with nuts (Cashew Nuts) and dried fruits (Raisins), while some uses a mixture of grated fresh Coconut, Sugar and Nuts for the filling or stuffing, much like the filling of Ella Ada. Cardamom is the common spice use to flavor the mixture and for deep-frying Ghee is used or coconut oil or a mix of Ghee and Coconut Oil.
In the northern part of Kerala, Kaayada is not only served as teatime snacks, but also during breakfast time.
Malabar refers to the northern districts of Kerala state which include Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, etc.
Picture below was taken in one of the foodstalls/Teashops (Chaya Kada) near the train station in Ernakulum where Malabar sweets/delicacies are being sold early in the morning. They know these sweets in Cochin as Unnakkaya.