Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daring Kitchen - Appams

Blog-checking lines: Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

What a fun and tasty challenge this was!  The appams need to ferment for 8-12 hours, so I made the batter on Saturday and cooked/served them for Sunday dinner.  Hilary and I were a bit concerned when I started to cook them because they smelled so sour and yeasty!  I forged ahead and cooked the first one.  It bubbled up like all the pictures I had seen, got lacy around the edges and generally looked great.  So we tasted it.  Hmmmm..... not bad, but it had a slightly sour taste to it.  Hilary then dipped her piece into one of the curries that I had made to go with them.  Her eyes lit up!  The sour/yeasty taste combined with the spicy curry taste is  phenomenal!

This is definitely a dish that is worth the time and one that we will be sure to make again.



Appam
Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
  • About ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)

Directions:

  • Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
  • Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
  • Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
  • Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
  • Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
  • Make another, and another.  

  • Serve with curries of your choice - I served mine with a lamb ishtew and a sambar vegetable curry



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