Sanna – Goan Steamed Rice Cake

The small western state of India, Goa is famous for three things as beaches, nature and food (Goan Cuisine). The Goan cuisine is an interesting mix of varied influences. As Goa had Portuguese rule for four centuries besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, all of these has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine. 

A Goan meal is incomplete without fish, rice and curry cooked with coconut. Goans tend to love cooking as much as they love eating. Although modern cooking methods have taken over, many Goan households still make use of traditional cooking methods which provide unique tastes and aromas. This time, means the February month challenge in Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group is ‘Goan cuisine’. For this theme, my partner was Archana Gunjikar Potdar who gave me 2 secret ingredients as Rice and Coconut. So Using these two ingredients, one dish stroked my mind from Goan cuisine as Sanna or Steamed Rice Cake

 Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

Sanna, also known as steamed rice cake is a specialty of Goan cuisine. Anyone might be confused about this sanna with an idli, however there are differences. Basically sannas have a mildly sweet in taste and also fermented using toddy or yeast where as idlis are fermented by the help of urad dal used in the batter only. Sannas are traditionally prepared using coconut toddy which acts as a fermenting agent. But in modern days, toddy-fermented sannas are rarely made. Instead, the batter is getting fermented by yeast.

Basically soaked rice paste, coconut paste and some fermenting agent are mixed up into a neither thick nor thin batter and then steam in small molds. This steamed rice cakes are much fluffy and soft and can be enjoyed with any chutney, dip, vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry. The whole process is some simple and easy. For breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime these sannas can surely take the place of main dish. Usually these are much relished with a popular dish in Goa known as sorpotel. So do try this Goan steamed rice cake- Sanna and give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. Lets go in details method of preparation of the deliciously soft & mildly sweet Goan steamed rice cakes aka Sanna. 

Soaking Time : 8 hrs  | Fermenting Time : 3 hrs

Preparation Time : 20 mins  |  Cooking Time : 15 mins

Ingredients :        




2 cup

Coconut (grated)

½ cup

Dry yeast

1 tbsp


3 tbsp


As needed


As needed

Method :

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight with enough water in a bowl.
  2. Then drain all the water from rice and keep aside.
  3. In another bowl take 1/2 tbsp sugar, 4 tbsp warm water and 1 tbsp yeast. Mix well and keep covered for 10 minutes to rise.
  4. Meanwhile in a blender jar, blend the soaked rice into a fine paste and transfer to a deep bowl.
  5. Next blend grated coconut along with remaining sugar to a smooth paste.
  6. Add this coconut paste, salt and yeast mixture to the rice paste.
  7. Mix till everything incorporated well.
  8. Cover the bowl with a lid, keep aside and allow the batter to ferment for 2-3 hours.
  9. Once fermented well, the batter will rise around double in quantity.
  10. Turn on the steamer with sufficient water.
  11. Grease sanna molds or ramekins or silicon baking molds with oil.
  12. Fill 3/4 of each mold with the batter.
  13. Steam for 13-15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean over medium heat.
  14. Carefully take out the molds from the steamer and unmold all the sannas.
  15. Serve hot with any desired chutney or dip or curry !

Notes :

  • The sugar quantity can be less. I like a bit sweeter version of sannas, so use 3 tbsp sugar. But 2 tbsp sugar is enough.
  • After the fermentation, don’t stir the batter. Otherwise the sannas wont be of floppy texture.
  • Use as little water as possible to grind.
  • The batter should be of neither thick nor thin consistency, so add water accordingly.
  • After fermentation, the batter can be stored in refrigerator for the next day use.



Hey there !

Myself Sasmita, a techie turns to a food blogger which is reflected in this space.

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  1. Vidya Narayan

    Absolutely loved the recipe and the beautiful images of the fluffy sanas. They are my fav and have eaten many of them esp during the Goan weddings. Simple ingredients but such a flavourful version of idlis.

  2. Poonam Bachhav

    Never had a chance to taste Sanna , but now looking at your gorgeous pics and an easy recipe to follow , I will give it a try very soon 😃

  3. Archana

    Deliciously prepare,lovely clicks. Can you believe I have still not made sannas. The thought is if I get good ones why make but you are egging me to try my hand. Thanks for the mention.


    The recipe,style and presentation are superb Sasmita!

  5. Rafeeda AR

    I have heard of sannas but never tried them. The recipe sounds quite easy and a filling one to make.. I must try these soon…

  6. mildly indian

    Beautiful,the texture itself shows it is so soft and must be delightful.

  7. sujitha

    Absolute yum yum sanna, I have tasted in our church sales.. Yours looks so soft and delicious..

  8. Priya Iyer

    The rice cakes look beautiful! Healthy and yummy too! 🙂

  9. Sahasra Recipes

    Rice cakes are cute. Yum…

  10. Priya Satheesh

    Looks so soft and sounds delicious. But I haven't tried till now.

  11. Anu

    I have never heard of this dish before but this is so much similar to vattayappam we make in Kerala. Looks absolutely delicious!

  12. Mayuri Patel

    I tasted sanna at a wedding last year and loved it. I was about to make them with the ingredients I was given. Your preparation looks so cute.

  13. Sujata Shukla

    I've not tasted Sanna so far, and I loved the soft fluffy look of these rice cakes. I hope to try making them soon.

  14. Sujata Roy

    This steamed rice cake looks awesome Sasmita. Never tasted before. Lovely share 😊

  15. veena

    The steamed sana looks so delicious and fluffy. Loved the pictures. Beautifully frmaed

  16. preethi'scuisine

    Love these steamed sana.They look so cute and fluffy. Fantastic share.

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