Kerala Appam or Palappam

As much as I love food from Dakshin Bharat aka South India, I realised there is very little I know to cook apart from idli and dosa (yum as they are!)
So May is a month to venture that way
A Southern sojourn, so to say.
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Up first are the feather-light and super yum ‘Lacy Hoppers’ from Kerala .Yeah! They have a cute English name!  Appams or Palappmas are soft pancakes which are made from rice and coconut milk.
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In case you have rice flour at hand, here is a wonderful recipe by my friend Rieby Jeetu Matthew which I have tried and tested numerous times. It is super simple and no fail! The batter is ready is all of two hours!
Rieby, our appam connection is now documented 😀 ❤

Appam recipe with Rice Flour or Appam Podi
This recipe gives 20 appams
You need
2 cups of rice flour
Half a cup of coconut milk/ desiccated coconut/ coconut milk powder
4-5 tbsp cooked rice
½ tsp Instant yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
Grind all the ingredients apart from salt in the mixture adding water very slowly as required.
If using coconut milk, first grind only with the milk and then add water if needed.
We need a batter runnier / looser than the dosa batter.
Cover and let ferment. It took about two hours here in this hot weather. The batter is ready. Add salt, mix well and make appams.
(To make appams, follow the steps shown below)
If not using immediately, do not add salt and store the batter in the refrigerator for up to two days.

I had requested a dear blogger friend for a recipe with rice rather than rice flour and she, very sweetly, did an appam post for me. Thanks a ton Shannu. They came out perfect! Here is Shannu’s recipe at Food Passion and Love.

I make them both ways, with rice and with rice flour. Both come out equally good. Just that, if you want to skip the step of soaking and grinding the rice, the rice flour recipe is really handy and all the prep gets done is just about two hours.

Appam recipe with Rice
(Makes about 15-18 appams)
1 ½ cup  Rice
¾ cup grated coconut or ¾ cup thick coconut milk
A handful of cooked rice
¾  tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
½ to ¾ cup of water for grinding ( To be added gradually)
1 tsp Instant yeast
(or 2 tsp active dry yeast  and 2 Tbsp luke warm water and a tsp of sugar to soak the yeast)

Soak the raw rice in water for about 4 -5 hours.
If using active dry yeast– When you are ready to grind the rice, soak the yeast in warm water and sugar. In about 10-15 minutes the mixture gets frothy.
Instant Yeast can be added directly to the batter, without soaking/blooming.
Grind the coconut

IMG_4656Drain the water and grind the rice in the mixer adding water gradually. We need a fine paste.
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Add the cooked rice and  and  Instant yeast or the frothy yeast mixture ( if using active dry yeast)  and mix well.
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Transfer to a large steel or plastic container and keep covered for 3-4 hours till the mixture ferments well and doubles up.
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Add salt and sugar to the fermented batter and mix well. Add some water if the batter is too thick. We need a runny sort of batter. Runnier than a dosa batter.
Appams are made in a small shallow kadai called appa chatti. They can be made in a non stick pan but won’t get the intrinsic appam shape. Will be a treat nevertheless!

Heat the appa chatti and  put a drop of desi ghee or butter. Wipe clean with a tissue paper. The chatti should not be too hot else the batter won’t stick.
Pour a ladle full of batter ( about ¼ cup) in the centre of the chatti.
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Holding the pan from the handles, take it off the heat and swirl the batter all the way around to form a circle. Try not to swirl after the first layer. There will be more batter in the centre and the edges will be thin. Don’t worry. That’s the way it is meant to be!
Increase the heat and cover  and cook for a minutes.
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Lower the heat and cook another minute if you like white appams. Make sure the centre is cooked.
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I like them soft in the centre and crispy and lacy around the edges so I wait another couple of minutes till the sides become nice and brown.
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With a wooden spatula lift the appams from one side. In fact I just life it with my hands. It leaves the pan easily.
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Serve with stew and coconut milk.
The leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
I served the appams with chilled, sweetened coconut milk and Vegetable Stew.
Find the recipe for the Stew here.

For the Sweet coconut milk- Chill some thick coconut milk and add some sugar or condensed milk to make it as sweet as you like it.  I added a couple of tsp condensed milk to a cup of coconut milk. Done!

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14 thoughts on “Kerala Appam or Palappam

  1. Thanks for sharing such an easy method of Appam. I have had it in Sydney restaurants where they melt little gur(brown sugar) and coconut milk in the middle. Guess they do it in the pan. tastes heavenly..Going to try the rice flour method.

  2. Appams with Stew or Appam with just sweetened coconut milk or Appam with Mixed Vegetable Korma or Appam with Mutta (egg) curry… Appam is wlays welcome as are all its accompaniments.

    I hope you loads of wonderful discoveries on this journey to explore the wonderful world of South Indian food.

  3. Wow..Delicious..had appams in Chennai while on official trip..and wanted to know how they make it..and here it came..Thank you so much Garima for the detailed and wonderful recipe.

  4. G! I have a query. In the first method, of making appam using rice flour, is the addition of cooked rice an important ingredient or can we avoid that.

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