Monday, March 3, 2008

Vella Appams/Hoppers

Appams are to Malayalee cuisine what noodles are to Cantonese cuisine. It takes effort and skill to make but it is made by everyone, regardless of social or economic status. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with just coconut milk and sugar or with a spicy non-veg curry. As a kid, I liked my appams for breakfast with a ladle of fresh coconut milk and loads of sugar. As a teenager, I would have it with either mutton or chicken stew. The appam batter is made from rice and grated coconut and then kept out to ferment. The edges of appams have these crispy frills and the center is very spongy.

I have seen many recipes for appams online and most of them use yeast as a rising agent. In southern Kerala, they sometimes use toddy instead of yeast. For me, the taste of yeast is too ‘bready,’ which was not how I ate it at home. Instead of yeast, I use baking soda just before I make them. I also put in a handful of leftover cooked rice while grinding the batter.

Traditionally, we use an appam chatti to make the appams. An appam chatti is a small cast iron wok. Appams can also be made in a small non-stick wok; although I must say that the appams made in an appam chatti beat those made in a non-stick wok in terms of taste and the crispiness (which is very important and what makes an appam, an appam).

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • ¼ tsp of baking soda
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste

Wash and drain the rice a few times in water. Soak the rice for 4-5 hours.

  • 3 handful of soaked rice,
  • 1 handful of grated coconut,
  • 1 handful of cooked rice

in a blender with little water. The ground batter should not be very grainy. Grind all the soaked rice this way, with the coconut and cooked rice. Leave to ferment over night. The batter will increase in quantity. Add the baking soda, sugar and salt.

Grease the cast iron appam chatti lightly with a paper towel. Pour a ladle full of the batter and quickly swirl the chatti so that the batter coats the sides of the appam chatti. Cover the appam chatti. It takes around 3-4 minutes to cook. When the center of the appams have risen and the sides begin to turn a golden brown color, the sides will start to separate from the wok.

The appam is ready and can be taken out of the appam chatti. Serve appams hot with coconut milk and sugar or lovely chicken/mutton stew.


Happy cook said...

I love appoms. I have been wanting to make thme. But my apom chatti is gone bad.
This looks so delicious

My comfort food network said...

Happy cook,

Next time you go to India do buy one..or else you can use a small non- stick Kadahi

lan said...

Love yourpicture perfect crunchy appam!

Anonymous said...

ur appam looks lovely :-)
Can u please tell me which kind of rice(boiled,raw or par boiled) to use for appam?


Christelle said...

I have eaten Sri Lankan hoppers before and I thought they were gorgeous, I definitely fancy trying these out, yummy!