Appam is popular in certain regions of India, particularly the south and the state of Kerala. It’s made with raw and cooked rice, often fermented with toddy or kallu, an alcoholic drink made from palm or coconut sap. If you don’t have toddy, you can let the batter ferment naturally or add some yeast. Fresh grated coconut and/or coconut milk are frequently present in the ingredient list, as is flattened rice – a sort of rice flake.
This month our Bread Bakers are making pancakes. Our host Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikon assured us that there were pancakes of all sorts and from every part of the world. I had never really thought about it but she is absolutely right. If you search “pancakes” the list is so loooooong and varied! Who knew?
Even if you just search for “appam,” the name I chose out of the main list, you will find countless recipes for naturally fermented, toddy fermented and yeast fermented versions. Everybody seems to think their family recipe is The One. Isn’t that always the way? I must confess to the same conceit about some of my Cajun dishes, even when my mom informs me later than my grandmother never made something the way I do. Clearly one of us remembering wrong. Yeah, I know it’s probably me, but here we are.
Some links to check out - these are just a drop in the immense Keralan appam bucket!
Anyway, I’ve taken several of those recipes and come up with this one. First of all, I didn’t have toddy. Secondly, I couldn’t find flattened rice. But some recipes called for neither one or the other so I figured I could mix and match. I do have freshly grated coconut but I know many of my readers will not, so I went with a coconut milk version. I used the stuff from the can.
Before we get started cooking appam, let me tell you how good these were. I served them with a Keralan pork chop recipe seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, coriander powder and cardamom. It had lots of onions and tomatoes that made a rich gravy for the pork chops and potatoes. Perfect for eating with appam! Even after my husband and I were full, we were picking up pieces of the appam and nibbling on them.
How is it that something that contains no butter at all, indeed were cooked on a non-stick skillet with just a little canola oil, can taste so buttery? It made no sense. But buttery they are. We both declared them delicious and worthy of the make-again-soon list.
Note: Start one day ahead of when you want to serve the appam.
1 cup or 190g raw rice – I used extra long grained basmati.
1/2 cup or 60g cooked rice
1 cup or 240ml thick coconut milk
½ teaspoon dry active yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
oil as required
Rinse the raw rice in cool water until the water runs almost clear. Cover the rice with ample cool water and set aside to soak for 5 hours.
Drain the water off of the rice in a sieve or colander. Put it in the jug of your blender with the cooked rice, the coconut milk, the salt and all but 1 teaspoon of the sugar.
Mix that teaspoon of sugar with a couple of tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and set aside to proof. You are looking for foam to start forming. If it doesn’t, start again with new yeast.
Blend the rice and coconut milk on high until you have a smooth batter. Add in the yeast mixture and mix again briefly. The batter will have the consistency of crepe batter or thick cream.
Pour the batter into a large bowl and cover loosely with cling film.
You can see that the fermented batter really thickens up.
Heat your non-stick skillet over a medium flame and add just a drizzle of canola or other light oil.
Pour in about 1/4 cup or 60ml of the batter and shake the pan so it spreads around. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the bottom is brown and the top is completely cooked. Do not flip the appam.
Continue until all the appam are cooked. These are traditionally served as a breakfast or snack with vegetable stew.
Many thanks to this month’s host, Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikoni. Check out the pancakes from different parts of the world that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month:
- Alagar Kovil Dosai from Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Blueberry Dutch Baby from Hostess At Heart
- Brown Rice Dosa (Indian Savory Crepes) from Spiceroots
- Buckwheat, Blackberry and Saffron Drop Scones from A Shaggy Dough Story
- Chinese Scallion Pancakes from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Corn Pancakes from Kids and Chic
- Crepes from A Baker’s House
- Dutch Baby from Herbivore Cucina
- Galettes de Sarrasin from The Bread She Bakes
- Greek Tiganites from Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Hotteok (Korean Pancakes) from Cook’s Hideout
- Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancakes) from Passion Kneaded
- Kabalagala (Ugandan Pancakes) from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Keralan Yeast Appam from Food Lust People Love
- Malpua (Sweet Indian Crepes) from SimplyVeggies
- Oven Baked Tropical Pancakes from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pannukkau (Finish Pancakes) from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Potato Latkes (Jewish Pancakes) from Sneha’s Recipes
- Savory Finnish Baked Pancakes(Pannukakku) with Smoked Salmon from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Srilankan Hoppers from I camp in my Kitchen
- Strawberry Nutella Crepes from Spill the Spices
- Swedish Pancakes from Palatable Pastime
- Sweet Potato Pancakes with Brown Sugar and Pecan Sauce from A Salad For All Seasons
- Wholegrain Yeast Pancakes from Ambrosia