Author Notes: I think its absolutely critical that one of the bunch of us submitting ‘*.appam’ recipes definitely write to the editors with a treatise of what kind of appam refers to what dish & the correct pronunciation thereof.. As one of the F52 members correctly said, this contest will probably unleash the full cornucopia of pancake offerings from the Indian Peninsula..
Rather than go into the review paper on appams, let me simply stick to what this addictive dish is. this dish is known by 2 different names depending upon the community. Either Vellai Appam as the Tamil Brahmin community refers to it or ‘Paniyaram’ as its known in Chettinad cuisine.
The traditional version is simply deep fried Idli Batter (Idlis are steamed rice & lentil cakes, one of the best comfort foods. from South India that is Uber healthy!) thats slightly over fermented. The ‘over the hill’ batter may either be diluted slightly with water & made into dosa, or simply seasoned with minced ginger, green chili & chopped shallots. curry leaves, cilantro, ( just about whats on hand at home) & dropped by he spoonful into hot oil. The end result is a crisp golden exterior that gives way to a spongy cooked interior redolent of oinion & ginger.. paired with some coconut chutney, it makes for a delightful afternoon ‘tiffin’ snack with piping hot cups of coffee.
& yes.. A knitting needle (any size) is perfect for flipping and picking these treats! —Panfusine
Makes: 50-55 ping pong ball sized paniyarams
cups jasmine rice
cup split dehusked urad dal
teaspoons Baking powder
tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
Jalapeno pepper deseeded &finely chopped
cup Finely diced Shallots
Salt to taste (~ 1.5 – 2 teaspoons)
Sesame or Olive oil for frying
- Rise & soak the rice and the Urad lentils separately for about 3 hours in warm water.
- Grind the rice to a smooth paste using as little water as possible). transfer to a mixing bowl. Without rinsing the grinder jar, add the Urad dal & grind to a smooth glutinous consistency, adding about 1/2 to 1 cup of water. Add to the rice paste & combine well.
- Add the salt, shallots, ginger & jalapeno to the rice lentil batter along with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Stir well to evenly disperse.
- Heat an ebelskiver pan and add about 1/4 teaspoon oil into each well. Turning the heat to high, add 1 scoop of the batter, using a cookie dough scoop, When the edges begin turning brown, Add about 1/4 teaspoon of oil to the semi cooked batter in the center and flip the paniyaram over (using a knitting needle is perfect for this). Lower the heat and allow the remaining batter from the center to cook . (~ 1-2 minutes, depending upon the size of the ebelskiver ‘wells). Use the knitting needle to check if the center is cooked , if it comes out clean, then its done.
- Spear the paniyaram with the knitting needle & remove the paniyarams to a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve hot with a side of Coconut chutney ( http://food52.com/recipes/17039_coconut_chutney_with_mango)
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