Baked Cucumber Cake/ Thekkare Adde is a traditional pudding with a cake like crusted top made with cucumbers, rice, coconut and jaggery.It is an authentic dish of Mangalore, a coastal city in South India. An eggless, gluten, soy and dairy free healthy dish, mildly flavored with cardamom and garnished with cashew nuts, this dish carries the essence of the land.
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How is Baked Cucumber cake/Thekkare Adde different than a regular cake?
Thekkare Adde/ Baked cucumber cake is dense, tender and is subtly flavored with cardamom.This traditional cake, does not use any leaveners like baking soda or baking powder which is the reason why it is dense.It is a low fat and healthy cake.
What are the ingredients required to make Baked Cucumber cake/Thekkare Adde?
Thekkare Adde/Baked Cucumber cake is made with 5 basic ingredients, the last two are for flavor and garnishing the dish.They are
The taste of cucumber is dominant, overpowering the taste of all other ingredients used in this sumptuous cake.The seeds are removed and the skin peeled before using the cucumber in the recipe.
Rice, is a local crop grown in the land and hence is used as a staple in almost all dishes. Traditionally , it was cooked in larger portion for larger families, hence it was economical to make sweets/desserts/snacks out of rice. Rice, can be either brown parboiled rice, or a mix of boiled rice and raw rice. soak the rice for 2-3 hours and grind/blend it into a coarse paste.
Coconut, being so widely grown in this land is used in almost all dishes made in Mangalore. Coconut renders s a subtle sweetness and the moist softness to the cake.
Jaggery/Gud, a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar, is used as a sweetener in this recipe. If Jaggery is not available in your area, one can substitute it with brown sugar, coconut sugar , or even white sugar to which a tablespoon of molasses is added.
Ghee or clarified butter is used in the traditional preparation, it imparts moistness to the cake. One may substitute it with coconut oil for health reasons if you so prefer.
Cardamom, is powdered after removing the skin in a mortar and pestle and added for flavor.
Cashew nut, again very easily available in the land is used to garnish the dish.
Some prefer to add 1/2 tsp of Cumin powder to the mix, to give the dish a touch of spiciness, I did not use any here.
What does Thekkare Adde taste like?
The taste of this Baked Cucumber Cake/ Thekkare Adde is similar to Zucchini bread or any fruity cake.
The Back Story :
Summer is almost here.The fresh markets are loaded with cucumbers
A sudden desire to cook something traditional took off in me, on the sight of these lovely cucumbers.
What better way than the traditional Thekkare Adde/Baked Cucumber cake for the weekend? Deliciously healthy, mildly flavored authentic Mangalorean dish can be had as an evening snack or for morning breakfast. Goes perfectly with a cup of hot coffee!
What are the different ways to prepare Cucumber Cake/Thekkare Adde?
Thekkare Adde/ Cucumber cake can be made in 2 ways, namely:
- Steamed version
- Baked version
Note : This recipe is the baked version of Thekkare Adde/Cucumber cake
The steamed version of making Thekkare Adde uses the same ingredients basically, with a little less of jaggery, since it might get too runny in the recipe.The steamed version is more like a pudding, with a wobbly texture and density unlike a stiffer cake that is baked in an oven.
To make the steamed version, one will need an idli or a dumpling steamer.It is important to fill the steamer with sufficient water since it will take almost an hour to cook/steam this dish. If available cover the pan inside the steamer with greased plantain leaves (to add that subtle flavor to the dish after its steamed) and then pour the prepared batter in the pan.
Check with skewer/knife test, if skewer comes out clean ( after nearly an hour) the Steamed Cucumber cake is ready to be savored once cooled.
Traditional way of Steaming Thekkare Adde
In ancient days, while the men folk went to work in the farms, the women stayed home and cooked delicious food to feed the young ones and the men when they returned home in the evening after a hard day’s work out in the sun.(Cucumbers act a cooling agent when incorporated in food and hence are a favorite summer food ).
Soaking of rice, grating coconuts to extract milk, gathering cucumbers/thekkare from the kitchen garden Were all done as part of preparation for the making of this dish.Soaked rice, along with cucumbers, and jaggery were then ground in a grinding stone and the elaborate process of steaming the cake begun.
The batter thus prepared was poured into a pan lined with plantain leaves or turmeric leaves (to enhance the flavor).This pan was generously smeared with homemade ghee and kept on a wood burning stove in a steamer.
Since this dish also served as morning breakfast, at times, the pan containing the batter was placed over a dying fire and live coals were placed on the lid that covered the pan. This ensured that the heat of the stove was enough to slowly cook the batter from below the pan and the live coals on top provided the heat from the top (Read “slow cooking” in olden days!)
When the men returned from work, this hearty dish with its gentle aroma welcomed them home.It was perfect as a healthy breakfast for kids in the morning.So a win win both ways!
Luckily for us, we live in an age where we have kitchen gadgets to help with grinding and gas lit or electric stove tops to steam cook this traditional dish if we enjoy the “steamed version”.
The recipe that follows is my baked version of making Thekkare Adde, tastes as good as the real one, minus the smoked flavor of the wood burning stove. Here goes…..
Thekkare Adde/Baked Cucumber Cake Recipe
6 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories60
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 5g 8%
- Saturated Fat 4g 20%
- Sodium 3mg 1%
- Potassium 95mg 3%
- Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
- Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
- Sugars 1g
- Protein 1g 2%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
When the cake has cooled down cut into desired size and serve with a cup of coffee or tea
List of my recipes using Cucumber
- Cucumber Pancakes/Thekkarae Dosa
- Baked Cucumber Cake/ Thekkare Adde (Mangalorean style)
- Mango Cucumber salsa
- Cucumber chutney/Southekayi Sasmi
The Bottom Line
Hope you enjoyed this traditional recipe of Cucumber cake/Thekkare Adde from my native land of Mangalore , and will give this “blast from the past recipe” a try.
Baked cucumber cake/Thekkare Adde is an easy recipe to make with just few ingredients.It is delicious and is loaded with health. A perfect and light breakfast or a healthy snack for the evening. Do give it a try!
Would love to hear your feedback, in the comments section below.