Toddy is a local mild alcoholic drink of Kerala also known as the local beer. It is extracted directly from the sap of the palm or coconut tree. Toddy and toddy shops are intricately woven into the fabric of Kerala’s culture. If you are a food lover travelling to Kerala seeking for some adventurous Kerala cuisine, toddy shops are just the place to be. Farmers after a hard day’s work flock towards the toddy shop for a boozy kick and the spicy food to go along with it. These toddy shops are known for their fiery dishes, the hotter the food the more toddy you drink. Coconut palms grow wildly and every family in Kerala has at least one tree in their yard. As coconut is used extensively in every dish, the toddy is used in a rice bread preparation for breakfast called the Kallappam (Toddy bread) or Vellyaappam (white bread).
Talking about appams, Appams and chicken stews, is the most sought-after breakfast. This appam is different from the regular laced appam or the rice hoppers. It is a look alike of an American classic pancake made of rice with a little coconut cooked flipping both the sides. Traditionally appam is made using toddy for fermenting the rice batter which gives a unique taste. Since toddy is not easily available to all, the housewives add in yeast to ferment this batter. This was the reason I was talking so much about toddy and toddy shops.
The recipe of appams was very complicated for me and I was looking for an easy simplified version. Since I could not get hold of toddy and the addition of yeast did not work for me, I tried and tested a dozen of appam recipes which I was not satisfied at all. Some recipes included boiled rice, some broken rice, cooked rice and most of the recipes included yeast and baking soda. Some variety of rice that I used, made the appams sticky and gooey. After a lot of trials and errors I came up with a recipe of my own, using rice readily available in the market and no yeast. Finally, I decided to share this recipe here on my small space with great pride. One great thing about this batter is, it will not turn sour quickly like the traditional appam batter, could be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The rice used for this recipe is the locally available, Kesar Kali or you can use Bullet rice with the combination of Idly rice. Both these types of rice are found easily in the local Southern Indian grocery shops. Idly rice is not easily available in the western and northern part of India so you could easily use India Gate Mogra rice. The other ingredient added to the rice is beaten rice or Poha, you can use any variety of beaten rice, thin or thick.
Holding on to the traditional version I have also used a cup of good fresh grated coconut. All these are ground together into a batter, allowed to rest at room temperature overnight or for approximately for six to eight hours. If you stay in a cooler place you could keep the batter for a longer time until it has risen well. I have even kept this batter out for almost 14 hours. After it has risen, stir and keep it in an airtight container refrigerated, keeps for more than a week if refrigerated well. Take out the required amount of cold batter, bring it to room temperature and add salt. The last and final trick or magic to the batter that I do, is adding unflavoured fruit salt to make it fluffy. Stir well and you will see the thick batter going light. This is totally optional and you can skip this step. Start making appams by pouring ladleful onto a hot griddle, flip and cook both sides and appams are ready to be served with stews, curries, whatever you like with.
- Raw Rice – 2 cups
- Idli Rice – 1 cups
- Grated coconut fresh – 1 cup
- Beaten Rice – ¼ cup.(one fourth)
- Sugar – 2 table spoons
- Salt to taste
- Fruit Salt – 1 tsp (optional)
- Soak Raw rice and Idly rice in water for six hours.
- Grind fresh coconut with sugar and keep aside
- Soak the beaten rice 30 minutes prior to grinding the batter.
- Grind the soaked rice into a smooth paste along with the soaked beaten rice by adding little water.
- Mix all the paste together to form a smooth batter. Mix well and keep to ferment at room temperature for 6 to 12 hours.
- Once the batter is risen and fermented. Mix gently and add salt. If adding fruit salt leave for 10 more minutes.
- Pour the batter onto a griddle or tawa. Cover and cook on a low flame.
- Flip over and cook on both the sides.
- Serve hot with stews or curries.
Read on before preparing to make Appams
- Idli rice and raw rice combination can be replaced by using 3 cups of India gate Mogra rice. Broken Mogra rice could also be used for this recipe.
- Use only fresh grated coconut. Frozen fresh coconut can also be used for the batter.
- Use only White beaten rice, brown beaten rice could change the colour of the appam.
- DO not use other leavening agents in place of fruit salt. Fruit salt is totally optional is only added just 10 minutes prior to making the appams.
- Do not experiment by adding yeast and baking soda or fruit salt together. Baking soda gets its power from a chemical reaction producing air bubbles whereas yeast is a living organism producing gas from a biological reaction. The two processes are not similar at all.
- Store bought Yeast is in a dormant freeze-dried state that increases its shelf stability. It wakes up in contact with liquid to rehydrate and fed with sugar to keep it alive. So, if using yeast, add it only before the fermentation process. Once yeast is added DO NOT add fruit salt.
- Leavening agents can totally be skipped for making batter. Result will not vary much if the batter is fermented well.
- The batter can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator. Allow it to sit at room temperature before making appams.
- Water can be added to adjust the consistency of the batter. It should be slightly thick pouring consistency like that of a pan cake.
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