Appam, or hoppers, are a common breakfast or dinner food in south India. They originated from Sri Lanka and Kerala, and are known as appams there, while here in Tamil Nadu, they are called aappams. Wikipedia says it well:
Plain hoppers are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. They derive their shape from the small appachatti in which they are cooked. They are fairly bland, and always served with a spicy accompaniment. These hoppers are made from a batter using rice, yeast, salt and a little sugar. After the mixture has stood for a couple of hours, it can be fried in the appachatti with a little oil.They are slightly sweet because of the coconut milk and sugar.
3 cups Rice, soak in water for 2 1/2 hours and grind to a thin consistency with a little bit of water.
the semolina mixture:
2 tbsp Semolina (Rava)
1 1/2 cups Water
the yeast mixture:
1 tsp Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 cup Water
the rest of the ingredients:
1/4 tsp Salt
6 tbsp Sugar
1 cup Coconut Milk
Combine the ingredients for the yeast mixture and set aside for 15-20 minutes until frothy and the yeast has been activated.
For the semolina, heat the 1 1/2 cups of water on medium heat. Add the semolina and cook until dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
Combine the ingredients from the yeast mixture, the semolina mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the ground rice batter. Cover and set aside for 2 hours or until the mixture has started to develop bubbles on the surface. Transfer the batter into the refrigerator overnight (or at least 8 hours) for a cold fermentation. The batter keeps well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
When ready to make the appams, use a slightly rounded pan or appachetti. Here's a photo of the pan from Mahavir Metal Converters. This is the one we have at home and it's excellent.
Pour a ladle of the batter into the center of the pan. Swirl the batter around, so that the sides are thinly coated. The center will get cooked but remain soft, while the edges are thin and crispy.
Cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.
When the sides of the appams are slightly crispy and browned, remove and serve warm with vegetable stew (recipe coming up tomorrow) or a spicy curry like a vegetable kurma or chicken curry. My daughter loves it with sugar filled coconut milk!
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