Kerala Palappam / Laced Rice and Coconut Pancake

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Kerala Palappam / Laced Rice and Coconut Pancake

Hi all, coming two weeks is going to be very busy one since in our school First Terminal exams are going to start and so you can imagine how busy and tight we would be as teachers; the busy bees, finishing up portions, doing revisions, setting question papers, valuation, preparing consolidated mark sheet.. Phew!

Christmas is only two weeks away and I was thinking of adding some Christmas recipes and of course this Appam or Palappam is one of the crucial breakfast dishes served on the Christmas day morning with Chicken Stew (Chicken and potatoes simmered in coconut milk)or any other stew which is an easy recipe that makes for a good side dish with Appam. Appam and stew is a popular breakfast fare in Kerala. I made this for dinner and it came out extremely well. Appam goes well also with Egg roast or Kadala curry, aww, a match made in heaven.. Isn’t it? This is one of the best traditional breakfast dishes of Kerala ever! I love to have Appams with sweetened Coconut milk, which I remember my mom used to serve it on the mornings of hurry burry working days..

For people who are not familiar with what Appam is: It is made with ground rice and coconut and has crisp crunchy brown edges with fluffy spongy interiors. Vellappam is prepared for breakfast or dinner on special occasions in Kerala. There are regional variations of this easy-to-prepare recipe.

I was always hesitant and scared to try out my own Palappams until recently. Once I saw my sister making Appams and I asked her ‘You start making Appams?’ Hmm, she started making it on herself immediately after her marriage and it took some more years for me to make it by myself. Those were the early days of my marriage!! Then I fell in love with this and started making it quite often.

I love to see forming of holes in the appams when we pour batter in to the pan. Holes or ‘kuzhis’ come out of the fermentation process. If the batter ferments very well we get lot of holes. I remember as kids we used to open the pan every now and then to see the holes forming and we loved counting the number of holes appears when my mom used to make Appams and we used to got scolding from mom for that.

Now a days different brands of Easy Palappam mix is available in markets and my mom started using it back home since few years as it is so easy and quick.

People often get confused with Palappam and vellappam. But I don’t think that there is much difference between Palappam and vellappam. One difference I have noticed is, for Vellayappam (I guess..) while grinding we add shallots or tiny onions and cumin seeds which gives an appealing flavour and we make it on a flat thava / pan, other than Appa-chatti / Appam Pan. Since Milk or ‘Paal’ is used to dilute the batter, it gets the name Palappam!! Whatever it is, Appam, or Kallappam, or Vellappam, in any form indulges our taste buds..

There are different methods to make Appams. One of its kind is making it with Toddy, a substitute for yeast. .. Using toddy to ferment batter is the traditional and very popular method to make Appams. Such appam is called as Kallappam. Another method is making appams with yeast, but the flavour would not be the same as when using toddy. Getting toddy is an arduous attempt, though it is available in toddy shops, the local alchoholic centres of Keralites.

Making Paalappam is an art. It depends on ingredients, skill, technique and timing. Right from the quality of the rice you use, to the temperature in the room, the fermentation, to the swirling of the pan, everything plays quite a vital role in bringing out those perfect Paalappam.

For making Appams, you need Appa-chatti, a special pan meant for making appams, which is a round pan with a concave centre and wide sloped edges.

Appam days are guiltless eating days at home.

My Recipe Notes:

1. All the ingredients should be in the room temperature before grinding it.
2. I drained out the soaked water and added the coconut water for grinding. For those who are not using the coconut water no need to go for this step.
3. I used to add yeast in the blender (the tip I got from my sister who got it from her colleagues in her school!!) while grinding which is very easy rather than adding making yeast mixture and adding it in the batter.
4. I always use coconut water for grinding. I refrigerate coconut water once I break coconut and use it while grinding. But you should use it within a week.
5. Some people prefer the traditional method of adding yeast mixture in the batter after grinding it. For that, in a small bowl take look warm water and add yeast and sugar and dissolve both the ingredients, keep the mixture in a warm place for 15-20 minutes or until it foams on top of the mixture. For this traditional method, use ½ tsp. of yeast add 1 tsp. sugar in ¾ cup water.
6. Here I have used Instant yeast and so my batter would always be ready in two or three hours. . Dry Yeast will take 6 to 8 hours or overnight for fermentation.
7. While adding salt to the batter and mixing, always take circular motions otherwise the bubbles will break down and appam would not be soft.
8. Cooking time differs depending on the kind of pan you use. For non-stick appa chatti, flame from a gas stove is ideal since heat spreads in uniform way touching the entire sides of the pan, giving beautiful lace to Palappams.
9. Don’t place appams in the casserole when it’s hot. Do that only after it is cools enough, otherwise it will get stuck to each other.

Ingredients:

1. Raw Rice / pachari – 1 ½ cups
2. Cooked Rice – ½ cup
3. Coconut, greated – 1 cup,
4. Coconut water (optional) – 1 cup
5. Yeast – 1 tsp
6. Sugar – 3 tbsp or to taste
7. Salt – a pinch or to taste.

Method:

1. Rinse the rice thoroughly. Soak the rice in plenty of cold water for six or more hours.
2. Filter the rice in a colander.

3. Grind together the soaked and drained rice, the coconut, sugar, salt, yeast with 1 cup of water, just enough to grind the batter to a smooth paste.
4. Once ground, transfer it to a big bowl and mix well with a spatula. The batter should be little watery. (Be careful not to add too much water).
5. Cover the bowl and leave it for fermentation in a warm place for 2 or three hours (remember, I used Instant Yeast) or until fermented or almost tripled in volume
6. Once fermented, mix salt with this. Do not over mix it. Keep it for another half an hour before you start making apams.
7. Heat your appa chatti on low medium flame; pour in a ladle of batter in to the pan.
8. Swirl the pan slowly and close the pan with its lid and wait for one or two minutes or until the edges start coming off the pan and become brown.
9. Side in a flat spatula from the edges and take outside the Appam. Place it on a kitchen towel as you prepare for the next one. Once it is cool enough place it in the casserole.
10. Do not flip the appam. It requires cooking only on one side.
Appams are ready to have..

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