Appam is a famous dish from the cuisine of Kerala and is a popular breakfast dish served with coconut stew, sweet coconut milk or honey. Appam is a fermented flat Indian bread or can also be said a sort of pancake made out of rice and coconut.
Appam is known by various names. In Tamil Nadu, it is called as Aappam, Srilankans prefer to call as appa or hopper and Keralites call as Appam. This dish is especially popular among the Syrian Christians community of Kerala and is said that Appam was adapted from the Jewish people who migrated to Kerala. Appam is a signature dish that is commonly prepared in every house and served at almost all restaurants. It has in fact become an identity of all Keralites.
There are a variety of variations of Appam such as Palappam, Velayappam, Wheat appam, Kallappam, Tuna appam, Vatayappam, Achappam and so on…., every appam has its own unique taste and is very delicious and light to eat. Traditionally, the simplest of all is the Appam which is just made using rice flour, yeast and coconut milk. Palappam is made by grinding rice and mixing with yeast and coconut milk. They are made in a special pan called palappam chatti. Kallappam is mostly made using Toddy and you can substitute it with yeast. It’s made with grinding rice, grated coconut, shallots and cumin. They are made on a flat pan similar to pancakes.
Rice flour being the main ingredient in making of Appam is made from raw, uncooked, finely milled white rice. Rice flour is a staple in south East Asia, Japan and southern Indian cuisines. There are mainly other wonderful dishes that can be made with rice flour which includes sarva pindi (spicy rice flour pancakes from Andhra Pradesh), Thakkadi (Rice Flour Dumplings in Spicy Mutton Curry), rice flour puttu etc. Rice flour in general can serve as a substitute for wheat flour and is beneficial for those people who are gluten intolerant or wheat allergy. Rice flour is also milder, lighter and easier to digest than wheat flour.
There are two main types of regular rice flour, brown and white rice flours. These flours differ in consistency, color and nutrient content. Both types are further categorized by grain size, variety and processing method. The texture of white rice flour is fine as opposed to brown rice flour, which has a coarse texture.
The plain appam or vella appam is fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment or curry. The vital point in getting a soft and perfect appam is fermentation of the batter. Usually the plain appam is served with Kadala curry, mutton stew or vegetable stew or egg roast in south central Kerala.
In most of the breakfast items from the Kerala cuisine are steam cooked like the Idli, puttu, idiyappam etc. It is believed that steamed foods are easily digestible and is fatless. This method of cooking reduces the loss of nutrients, is cooked well as well as it is very soft since cooked food retains its moisture. Steaming makes the diet light and healthy and helps to manage your cholesterol. It is especially a great diet for the diabetic people, old and sick people.
For preparing the appam, firstly soak rice for 6 hours and then blend in the blender adding grate coconut and little sugar to a fine paste. Take warm water in a bowl, add dry yeast and mix well. Add the yeast mixture to the batter and keep it aside overnight. Once the batter is fermented, take the appam tawa, rub some oil and pour the batter and rotate the pan in a circular motion (watch the video). Cover with the lid until done. Remove and serve.
This recipe is a simple and humble plain appam dish with no frills and thrills and can also be eaten on its own or served with anything you like. So, if you love eating steam cooking to lead a healthy life style then do try this dish, you’ll surely love it. Watch the making of the video to get a clear picture.