Appam or hoppers is one of my favorite South Indian food. Made of rice and grated coconut, they are rather uniquely shaped pancakes with thick and fluffy center and crispy thin periphery. There are two versions of appam. While both have rice and grated fresh coconut, one uses black lentils in its mix, which with its naturally occurring microorganisms would initiate the fermentation of batter. The recipe covered today, though uses yeast for the process. The original recipe of these appams is by Veg Recipes of India. I would reiterate my take here briefly:
APPAM / HOPPERS PANCAKES
2 cups regular short-grain rice
1 cup parboiled rice
1 cup grated fresh coconut (I used frozen)
Handfuls of poha/ flattened rice (the original recipe has given the alternative of cooked rice)
1 tbspoon yeast
Pinch of sugar
2-3 cups of water to make a pancake like batter
Oil to coat pan
Salt to taste
- Wash and soak regular and parboiled rice together for about 5-6 hours.
- Proof the yeast with sugar and keep aside.
- Grind the soaked rice, coconut, and poha together with adding water.
- Add proofed yeast to the mix and keep overnight (or about 12-15 hours to ferment).
- Add salt to taste. Adjust water (if required) for consistency like that of usual pancake batter.
- Next day, coat a wok-shaped pan with oil and heat on medium-high.
- Add a ladle full of appam batter onto the heated wok pan.
- Swirl it in a circular motion to spread the batter. Due to wok-like shape, you would get a thicker center and thinner sides. That is exactly what we want.
- Cover with lid. Let the appam cook till its center cooks.
- Then using spatula, take the appam off the pan. Start from the side. Do NOT flip it.
- If your pan is non-stick, then it would not require another coat of oil before making next appam. Mine was a cast iron pan, which needed a thin layer of oil coating before every appam.
Traditionally, this appam can be served with spicy vegetable korma and sweetened coconut milk (which balances the heat of appam). This is how we enjoyed our appams for the lunch. A nice recipe for simple vegetable korma can be found here. For the other, blend coconut milk with granulated brown sugar and some cardmom powder. Chill and serve with your piping appams and korma. The combination is winning.
For dinner, however I simply made a cabbage slaw and wrapped it in appams. Just mix shredded cabbage, chopped onion, chopped garlic, grated coconut, chili powder together. Season it with salt and lemon juice to your liking and say hello to crunchy and healthy salad-appam wraps. 🙂