Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

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Happy cooking!


Friday, May 30, 2008

Vellayappam (appam/palappam)

Appam is a Kerala breakfast favourite. The same is cooked in Tamil Nadu but just pronounced with a lengthening of the 'A' syllable..'aappam'. There are many ways of making the appam batter ferment. My mom generally uses a 'kappi'. Kappi is made by mixing a couple of teaspoons of the ground rice batter in a glass of water and simmer stirring it till it thickens into a gooey paste. this is then cooled and added to the batter. A pinch of baking soda is added teh next morning, before use. A second method uses 'toddy', a kind of arack obtained from the coconut palm. The third and easiest method uses 'yeast'. I use yeast because it saves time and I like the taste. The rest of the process remains the same whichever fermentation method you choose.
Raw rice - 2 cups
Fenugreek seeds (uluva/vendiyam/methi) - 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup ( the readymade coconut milk powder works fine)
Dry Yeast - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste.

Soak rice and fenugreek seeds for 2-3 hours. Grind to a smooth batter in a mixer bowl. Take 1/2 cup of water and boil till its lightly warm.

Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the luke warm water. Mix the coconut milk, salt and dissolved yeast into the rice batter. Let ferment overnight.

Appams are made in a special shallow kadai called 'appa chatti' (see the pictures). The non-stick variety is available in most stores. Heat the appa chatti and pour in a ladleful of batter. Slightly rotate the appachatti to make the batter swirl creating a lace like crisp outer ring and a thicker middle portion.

In case you don't find an appachatti. Just warm an ordinary dosa pan and pour out the batter. Close it with a lid and simmer till its nicely done. Do not turn over.
Appams taste great in combination with fish curry, vegetable stew, channa masala, or peas curry.

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