Appams are steamed rice and lentil crepes. We made them with Aroma Dipu of Casa Linda in Kochi. We watched in fascination as she spread the batter in a concave pan, then created a flower petal design by tipping it to and fro. The batter is then steamed by placing a lid on the pan. The best way to describe the results is dosa (crispy crepe of rice and lentil flour) meets idli (steamed rice cake).
Appams go well with all of Kerala’s curries. They make an elegant accompaniment with Fish Molee and Susheela’s Coconut Prawns. And, like all good breads, they help sop up every drip of gravy. The exotic spices in Keralan curries makes it even more important not to miss a single drop.
Here’s a great video of Aroma in action. Seeing is believing!
Yields 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes plus 8 hours fermentation
Cooking Time 20 minutes
Total 40 minutes plus fermentation
1 cup rice
1 cup water
½ teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt – divided
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup grated coconut
pinch fast acting yeast
2 Tablespoons warm milk
Sunflower oil for the griddle
Soak the rice, water, pinch of salt and sugar together for 1 hour and then add the coconut and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
Pulse to a fine paste in a food processor or blender.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and add it to the rice and coconut mixture.
Leave it to ferment in your oven with the oven light left on for 8 hours. This is a warm draft free spot where it should do well.
Heat an appam griddle or small wok or crepe pan and brush the cooking surface with sunflower oil.
Pour a ½ cup of batter into the center of the pan and tilt the pan so that the better spreads evenly.
Cover with a lid and let the appam steam until bubbles cover the surface. Note: If you like a lightly steamed appam, it is done at this point. If you like a more well done one, flip the appam and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. If you want to get a bit fancy, you can put the batter in the pan and only tilt the pan in two directions – the design will look like a four petaled flower and make a nice presentation when you serve the appams with Fish Molee or Shusheela’s Coconut Prawns.