One of the most important features of cuisine in the Indian subcontinent is the range and variety of fermented foods usually partaken at breakfast. The overnight fermentation lends a unique taste to the food and at the same time increasing its nutrient value. Appam is a traditional breakfast dish of the South West coastal state of Kerala in India. Made from fermented rice and fresh coconut, it is circular in shape more like a small bowl with laced edges and a soft, spongy centre. It is traditionally cooked in the iron appa-chatti, hence it gets its name Appam. The appam is usually made with kallu (toddy), which gives it the smooth softness and unique flavor. Though nowadays, yeast is used instead of toddy in the preparation of appam. Appam in the vast region of South India, differs slightly in the ingredients used for its preparation and hence is known by different names, the Pallapam made from rice and coconut milk, the Kallapam where toddy is used and the Velayappam made by using rice and coconut and the simplest appam made by using rice flour and coconut milk. Appam is usually complemented with a vegetable or mutton stew.
The traditional appam recipe using coconut.
• Raw rice: ½ kg
• Cooked rice: 1/ cup
• Coconut: 1 grated
• Water: 2-3 cups
• Sugar: 3tsp
• Salt: to taste
• Yeast: ½ tsp
• Wash and soak uncooked rice for 5 hours, wash again and drain the water.
• Grind with the cooked rice and grated coconut to a smooth paste.
• In a bowl of warm water mix sugar yeast and salt and let stand for 45 minutes.
• Then add to the ground rice mixture and let it ferment for about 8 hours.
• Heat an iron appa chatti, oil it and pour a small bowl of the appam mixture.
• Swirl the chatti till it spreads to the sides and some settles in the middle.
• Cover with a lid and cook for two minutes.
• Appam is cooked on one side only.
• Serve with a vegetable curry.
• Raw rice: 2 cups
• Urad dal: ¼ cup
• Cooked rice: 1 cup
• Coconut milk:1 cup
• Sugar: 2tsp
• Warm water: 1 cup
• Salt : as per taste
• Wash and soak raw rice and urad dal for 4 hours.
• Grind the raw rice, urad dal and cooked rice to smooth consistency
• To the paste add milk of coconut, salt and sugar and mix well.
• Cover with a lid and let it ferment for 7 hours.
• Heat the appa chatti and oil it.
• Pour the appam mixture and spread it, the edges must be fine with some appam mixture settled in the middle.
• Cover with lid and cook for two minutes.
• Serve hot with meat or fish curry.
A variation of the traditional appam recipe
• Raw rice: 1 cup
• Jaggery: ½ cup
• Coconut: ½ cup grated
• Banana : 1 ripe
• Cardamom powder: 1 tsp
• Oil: for frying
• Soak rice for an hour.
• Grind rice, coconut and jaggery to form a smooth batter.
• Blend in mashed banana and cardamom powder
• Heat oil in a wok and drop spoonfuls of the batter.
• Fry till brown and crisp.
• Blot excess oil on a blotting paper and serve hot.