A South- Indian speciality, Appams are essentially a fermented rice and coconut lace pancake (also referred to as hoppers) with a thicker spongey center. They are delicately sweet, light ‘n crispy along the edges and fluffy ‘n soft in the center. Perfect for mopping up traditional Kerala stews and curries.
Traditionally, appams are made by soaking rice over night and grinding it into a smooth batter along with cooked rice, fresh coconut or coonut milk and it’s fermented by toddy ( a crude palm alcohol). But toddy is not commonly available yeast makes a good substitute for it or you can also use baking soda instead. The appams are cooked in a special appam pan called an appam chatti , they aren’t commonly available here in the the U.S, however they are available online in stores like Amazon. Here’s one I found…
You don’t necessarily need the special pan and you can make do with a small wok or skillet. The pan however, gives it a perfect bowl shape and ensures the batter collects in the center after you tilt it to lace the sides and makes for a fluffy thick center. I didn’t have one and didn’t have time to order one, so I made do with my small wok.
Now usually making appams is almost a 2 day process, cos you have to soak the rice for hours and also leave the batter to rise overnight (especially if using baking soda). I don’t have that kind of patience. I had already planned on making this beautifully aromatic coconut beef stew, and I wanted appams to go with them. So since I hadn’t planned ahead on making the appams I needed to find a way to quicken the process. Also my blender isn’t the best and it doesn’t grind things as smooth as I knew the batter had be….so I googled around and found a way a of making appams with rice flour. I also used quick rise yeast and so only fermented my batter for 2 hours. The results were great!
They weren’t my mom’s perfect appams, but they staisfied my craving for them and were a great accompaniment to the Kerala beef stew I made. So here’s my cheater way of making appams.
Appams (Rice & Coconut Hoppers)
(makes 8-10 appams)
* 1 cup rice flour
* 1 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 cup cooked rice
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 tbsp Sugar
* 1 tsp yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water
- In a little bowl add the sugar, warm water and yeast. Give it a quick stir and allow the yeast to sit on the counter for about 5 minutes to activate.
- In the mean time, add the cooked rice, coconut milk,1/2 a cup of water and salt to a food processor or blender and puree it into a smooth batter.
- Then add the rice flour and another 1/2 cup of water and mix it all well.
- Pour the batter into a large pot with a lid and mix in the yeast mixture.
- Cover the pot and place it in a warm place for about 2 hours or so to rise.
- When the batter has risen to more than double it’s volume, it’s ready. With a big laddle give the batter a stir. Dilute the batter with 1/2 a cup of water.
- Take a small wok or if you have an apppam pan and heat it on medium heat.Brush a dab of oil all along the bottom and sides of the pan.
- When the pan is hot, laddle a generous amount of the batter into the pan and then tilt the pan round to coat the sides a little. Put the cover on and allow the appam to cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the edges start turning a light golden. take the lid off and allow the side to crip up a touch more and then simply side them onto a plate.
- Serve hot with some delicious aromatic coconut beef stew.