Monday, August 1, 2016


Eating traditional South Indian breakfast foods is not very common during the week, what with our always running life style we seem to lead here in the US. But by the end of the week our taste buds are craving for some authentic South Indian breakfasts. Moreover some of these breakfast items have also become our dinner menu items. After a while when that starts to get a little bit boring we need look to at some other fancy items like this Appam.

I have never tried this Appam before but with folks visiting, it was a good time as any to try it. This is mother in law's recipe. Normally appam is eaten with jaggery and grated coconut or sweetened coconut milk. Did not have any coconut ready to make coconut milk so decided to make some coconut based kurma. Kerla style stew or even sweetened milk will work just as well.

Appam requires fermentation and uses both raw and boiled rice, lentils and fenugreek to make the batter. Very similar to the ingredients for making idli but in different proportions. Slightly more fenugreek seeds are added than for idli which is what keeps the Appam crispy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. This is not a dish that can be made on the spur of the moment. You have plan it a couple of days ahead so the batter can be prepared.

Grind the batter, ferment it and get it ready for use. Heat the appam pan.
Add a laddle of batter and holding the pan with both hands on either side and swirl so that the batter spreads with sides thinner and center thicker.
Let it cook till the sides starts to brown and the center is cooked.

There are specialized pans for making Appam. I do not have one, instead we just used a flatter kadai or saute pan and that seems to work fine or even a regular kadai should work.

Fermentation Time: Overnight
Preparation Time: 4-6 hours soaking + 45 minutes grinding
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Preparing the batter
  1. 3 cups raw rice
  2. 1 par boiled rice
  3. 3/4 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp white lentil - urad dal (ulutham paruppu)
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp fenugreek seeds (vendhayam)
  1. Soak the rice, fenugreek and lentils separately for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Using a grinder or blender start with blending the lentils with fenugreek. Remove to a container.
  3. Now blend the rice and remove to the container, add more water if required.
  4. Add salt and mix so it is in a pourable consistency. Slightly looser consistency than idli batter.
  5. Set it in a warm place to ferment overnight.
  6. Once the batter rises mix it well and put in a refrigerator till ready to use.

Preparing the Appam
  1. Heat the kadai and apply some oil to grease it and then pour a laddle of batter.
  2. Take the pan with both your hands and swirl it around so the batter spreads around in such a way that it is thinner on the outside and thicker in the middle.
  3. In medium heat cook till the edges start to crisp. The center will be cooked but still soft. This is the time to remove if from the pan.
  4. Serve with sweetened coconut milk or vegetable kurma.

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