Appam or Appa (as it is known in Sri Lanka) is a very popular dish of Sri lanka and South India. It is usually had for breakfast or even lunch and dinner. The taste is similar to dosa.
What is Appam ?
Appam is a thin bowl shaped pancake made with fermented batter of rice (or rice powder) and coconut milk. It is made in a special round bottomed pan called Appa Chatti like a small wok. Traditionally the fermentation of the batter was done with the addition of little toddy which is a liquid extracted from a palm tree that becomes alcoholic after fermentation. These days we make use of yeast as toddy is not available easily in cities.
How do we serve Appam ?
It could be served with a variety of chutneys, veg and non veg stews or kurma.
In Sri Lanka it is served with Pol Sambol (spicy coconut chutney) Breakfast appams are sometimes made with the egg poached in it while it is being made. Whereas in the Indian state of Kerala they serve it with veg or non veg stews. In Tamilnadu it is relished with spicy Chettinad style non veg curries.
Varieties of Appams
We have savoury as well as sweet appams. Jaggery or sugar is used as a sweetener. Sweet version is usually made on festive days.
The other version is Idiappam / String Hoppers. These resemble vermicelli. The process of making these is very different. These are steamed and served with chutneys or coconut based gravies.
Ingredients for Appams:
Rice flour ...... 1 & 1/2 cups
Coconut milk .... 200 ml
Yeast .................. 1 tsp
Salt ................... to taste
Sugar ............... 1 tbsp
Luke warm water ... 1 cup + little more if required
Baking soda ........... 2 pinches
Eggs ................... as needed (one per appam )
Ingredients for Pol Sambol / Coconut Sambol:
Finely grated coconut ..... 1 cup
Spicy chilli powder ....... 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder .. 1 tbsp
Lemon juice ............... 1 tbsp
Onions ...................... 1 small (finely chopped )
Garlic ....................... 10 - 12 cloves
To Make Pol Sambol:
1. Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar adding little salt. This hepls to crush it easily.
2. Same way crush the onions. Remove them in a bowl.
3. Add the coconut, both the chilli powders, salt as needed and lemon juice.
4. Give them a nice mix. Spice level can be less or more as you like.
5. Remove in a serving bowl.
To Make Egg Appams or Hoppers:
1. Mix yeast and sugar in luke warm water and allow it to activate. This may take 4-5 mins.
2. Mix the salt to the rice flour in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the frothy yeast and mix it well until the flour resembles bread crumbs.
4. Cover and set it aside for 2 hours.
5. Now add the coconut milk and baling soda. Mix well and add little more water if needed. We need dosa batter consistency.
6. Set aside again for 2 hours or until it ferments. In winter it may take a bit longer.
7. Now pour 2-3 ladleful in a appam pan and swirl it to coat the edges of the pan. Leave it uncovered until you see the bubbles formed on the surface of the appam.
8. Now cover the lid for half a minute, Open and break an egg in the center. Sprinkle salt on it.
9. Spray little oil and cover the pan. Cook on low to medium flame until the egg is firm.
10. Serve with pol sambol / spicy coconut chutney. You may also relish the plain appams with kurma for lunch and dinner.
Watch the video of making Egg Hoppers or Appams
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About the group:
Shhhhh Cooking Secretly is a monthly challenge in a facebook group where we are paired with a different partner every month. Two secret ingredients are chosen by each partner for the other one and we prepare any dish with those ingredients based on the selected theme of the month which was Sri Lankan Cuisine suggested by Narmadha. My partner is Renu Agarwal Dongre who gave me my secret ingredients for my dish - Coconut Milk and Yeast.
I chose Pandan Leaves and Coconut Oil for her.