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Saturday, 7 December 2013

Vella Appam

APPAM is a popular South Indian food, specially in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also a staple in Sri Lanka commonly known as Hoppers. There are so many varieties of Appam; Vella Appam (Plain Appam), Egg Appam, Palappam, Neyyappam. The ones I make frequently are Vella Appam and Sweet Appam. 

There are many ways in preparing the batter too. I learnt this method from my mom and its how its prepared in most regions of Tamil Nadu though in Kerala the preparation method is different using coconut milk, grated coconut and rice (Am yet to try this method). The batter is very easy to prepare unlike Idly / Dosa Batter. There is no trick, it just needs to be ground to a smooth batter. And the appams are light and crisp at the edges with soft fluffy center. These are my absolute favourite. 

Makes Approx. 20 Appams

You Will Need:

1 Cup of Idly Rice or Par Boiled Rice (I use idly rice)
1 Cup of Raw Rice
1/4th Cup of Urad Dal
A tbsp of Fenugreek Seeds
Coarse Salt to Taste
Approx. 2 Cups of Water for Grinding
Baking Soda

The Cooking:

Step 1:
Soak both the rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds together overnight or at least 3 hrs.

Step 2:
Drain the water and place all the soaked ingredients in the wet grinder.  Run the grinder and once the rice is little coarsely ground start adding the water little by little.

Step 3:
Now what we are looking for is a smooth batter, this will take approx. 30 - 35 mins.

Step 4:
Once done transfer the batter to a large bowl and add salt. Mix the batter throughly using your hands. Our body temperature helps in kick-starting the fermentation process.

Step 5:
Cover with a lit (not air - tight) and let it ferment. Unlike the Idly / Dosa Batter which almost doubles, the appam batter will raise just little. Fermentation tine differers from the temperature where you live. Fermentation process in hot regions takes place faster compared to cold places. So once the batter has fermented, give a quick mix and store refrigerated until needed.

Making the Appam:

The batter will be thick after its fermented. So place required batter in a bowl and thin the batter to a smooth pouring consistency. You can add coconut milk / coconut water or just water to thin the batter. Add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and mix well. The remaining batter should be kept refrigerated until needed. 

Its best to thin batter as and when you need it. Don't thin the whole batch at the same time. 

Heat the non - stick Appam kadai on high. Dap a tissue or a small piece of cloth with little oil and rub all over the kadai. This spreads a very thin layer of oil over the kadai. When you add oil to the kadai it will not spread evenly and they just gather in a place and prevents the batter from spreading evenly.

Once the kadai is hot, Spoon in a ladle of batter and swirl the kadai to help the batter spread evening over the kadai. Keep the heat low and cook the appam covered till the edges are golden brown and the center is cooked. Once done take off the appam from the kadai and serve immediately.

When you spoon in the next ladle of batter, rub the kadai with oil only if required. Since its non - stick it will not be required to rub oil for every single appam.

Serve these crisp soft appams with Coconut Milk, Chicken Kurma, classic Kerala style kadala curry or simply with milk and sugar (just the way my husband likes it)!

  • If you don't find time to grind the batter and you have already soaked the rice and urad dal, then drain the water completely and refrigerate till needed. DO NOT leave it soaking, it will get spoiled. 

Happy Cooking!


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