Appam is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Kerala. People love to have appams primarily because it is oil free, gluten-free, soft and very light on the tummy. Perfect to be had for breakfast. And it is easy to make too, with little prior preparations which is totally worth it. It is delicious by itself. My family loves it when I serve hot and crispy appams fresh from the pan. They are so tasty and have a beautiful texture, that you can have it alone without any gravy. They are light, soft and fluffy in the middle, with crispy edges. Appams taste even better when had along with vegetable stew, roasted egg or any chicken dish.
Another advantage of making appam is that you can make the batter and use it for 2-3 days. This is especially helpful for those who go for work. So once you have the appam batter, you need not worry pondering about breakfast ideas for at least the next couple of days. At least once in every week, I make appams for my family. And usually use it for 2 days.
So the process begins with soaking the raw rice. I normally soak the raw rice by noon. It has to be soaked for at least 5-6 hours. Then wash it properly and drain the water. Next you have to add the cooked rice. Normally I do not measure the exact amount of cooked rice. How I decide the quantity is by adding the cooked rice in small amounts, and then check whether it is almost equal to that of the raw rice. Since cooked rice is bigger in size as compared to raw rice, lesser quantity is required to make it ‘look’ almost equal to raw rice. So if you are using 2 cups of raw rice may be you need 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked rice.
Once you have mixed both the rice, add in the yeast too. Now grind everything together in a mixer jar, with water to form a smooth batter. I usually grind by evening and keep overnight for fermentation. The level of water should be little higher than that of rice mixture. However, you can always adjust the water levels. If you feel that the batter is too thick, add in more water.
Once the rice mixture and yeast is well blended, add in the grated coconut. The more coconut you add, the softer would be your appams. After adding coconut, you need not grind for long. Mixing for 1-2 minutes will be enough. Now transfer the batter to a deep bowl. Keep it covered in a warm place for fermentation. Leave it overnight. (Suggestion – Place the batter dish inside another bigger bowl/dish to avoid wastage, if the batter ferments and overflows).
By next day morning, you have your appam batter ready to be made. Give the batter a nice mix. It would appear like curdled and separated. So mix thoroughly with a ladle. If you feel that the batter is thick, add little water. It should NOT be as thick as dosa batter, but a little runny. But please do not make it too watery, else it will run all over your pan, and even outside 🙂
Now add salt and mix well. Heat the appe pan (appa chatti). I used to use non-stick pan for making appams. It is easy and light weight. But Ummchi has gifted me a seasoned cast iron appa chatti. It is better to use cast iron utensils than the non-stick ones. So now I use the cast iron pan for making appams. The appams comes equally good in cast iron ones, and looking at the health perspective, it is better than the non-stick ones. Though a bit heavy, go for the cast iron ones, if it is available in your place.
So if you are using a cast iron appe pan, smear a little oil on it to avoid sticking. The last time I visited Ummchi I learnt that smearing coconut oil on pan tends to stick, and that it is better to use sesame oil (gingelly oil/ ellenna). So once you have the pan hot and ready, it is time to pour the batter. Simmer the flame and pour 1 and a quarter ladle of batter to the pan. Now sway the pan in circular motions to spread the batter evenly and form a round shape. The little extra batter would go and settle at the middle of the pan. I do not like appams with very thick centers. So I use only this much batter and sway to the maximum. If you want bigger and thicker appams, pour the batter accordingly.
Once you pour the batter, increase the flame to medium high and cook it covered for 2-3 minutes. Then uncover the pan and check. If the edges have started to brown a little and have started to come off the pan, then it is ready. Now simmer again, and keep it uncovered for about 8-10 seconds so that any moisture on the top gets evaporated. To some extent, this prevents the appams from sticking to each other when we pile them up in the hot pot. Take the appam out. Next, while the flame is still on simmer, pour the batter for the next appam and repeat the process. Remember to smear little oil for each appam, if you using cast iron pan.
So your fluffy appams with crispy edges are ready. Serve it hot with pepper chicken curry, vegetable stew or roasted eggs.
For all those who love Kerala style appams, but have not tried it on your own, do check out the recipe here and give it a try.