Let's make these appams!
I couldn't include the recipe when I wrote about finally making mum's delicious, light and yeasty, coconutty appams a few days ago. As you well know, the recipes here on Izzyhaveyoueaten.com are tried and tested. Who knew if those appams I made were a fluke? After all, the ones I'd made were from watching a bunch of Youtube vids and reading bits and pieces of instructions mum had scribbled down for me over the years.
So without resting on my laurels, I soaked some rice again yesterday, and went through the process all over again. Would it work again?
THIS time, I've recorded it for you ( and me).
The two things you'll need which aren't available at your corner grocery store could possibly be:
Frozen fresh shredded coconut, and the pan in which to cook it in. Basically, the appam pan or the 'appachatti' is a mini non-stick wok, about 200 mm in diameter. Here are links of where to get these items online in Australia.
Frozen coconut, short grain rice, other Indian groceries for same day delivery in Sydney :
4 cups short grained uncooked white rice, soaked in water for 4-5 hours
1 cup cooked rice (preferably not freshly cooked, but at least a day old.)
1 cup shredded fresh coconut or coconut cream (see notes below)
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons dry yeast mixed with 1/4 cup tepid water
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups water
Drain the rice that has been soaking in tap water for 4-5 hours.
Put all of the ingredients except the 1-2 cups water into a blender.
Blend until smooth, adding quarter cup of water at a time until you achieve a batter that runs smooth without lumps.
The consistency of the batter should be like that of an easily pouring pancake batter.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl, cover with a cloth or a plate and set aside in a warm place overnight or about eight hours for the batter to proof.
When uncovered, the batter should look bubbly and puffed to about double the quantity of the previous day.
Stir well, but with a light hand until it is once again a smooth batter.
The batter might need a little thinning out if it has thickened overnight: add half to one cup of water or coconut milk, a little at a time, stirring until a good pouring batter consistency is formed, like for a pancake.
Turn the stove to a medium steady heat.
Warm the appachatty and grease with a little oil.
Pour a large ladle full into the centre of the chatty.
Taking both handles, lift the chatty off the stove and swirl gently in a circular motion.
Return to the stove, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
On uncovering the pan, you should have a well formed circular appam with a thin, crisp edge right round. The centre should have risen in a little dome and pressing gently, it should feel spongy and soft.
If the risen mound is sticky to touch, it probably needs to have the lid back on for another minute.
The appam should slide off easily with a spatula.
Grease and repeat!
While I am cooking each one I set the appams on a cooling wire rack so the bottoms don't get soggy. I place the rack in a very low oven until I have enough appams to bring to the table.
This recipe makes 20-30 bread plate sized appams. The mixture keeps well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, tightly covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
I tried the recipe a second time round with tinned coconut cream instead of the shredded fresh coconut. The difference is negligible, but I felt the crispy crust was slightly better with fresh coconut.
Also, cutting down on the sugar like we sometimes do with cake recipes is not a good plan here.
The sugar serves the purpose of helping the yeast 'do it's thing', and also makes the appam's edges crisp up to a golden colour.
Subcontinental appams are not a dessert despite the sugar. Yes, they are great with a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast or an egg broken over the centre mound, but the South Indian and Sri Lankan communities mostly serve these alongside curries for breakfast and lunch, less frequently, but never not for dinner. So in other words, it is never a bad time to serve or eat an appam.