We just got back from South India. Let us tell you, we love India. You can travel there a million times and never get enough of it. That crazy, busy, chaotic place with its hotchpotch of people and culture, its thousands of year-old history, colour at every turn, with its blend of old and new, traditions with modern life… amazing.
Let us not forget the food! From the best coffee, fiery hot south Indian curries to creamy North Indian marinated meats, deliciously cooling, tangy curd and sweets of all colour, texture and sizes, you will be in gastronomic paradise. As we always say, India is a feast for the eyes as well as your tummies.
And when it comes to food, we were certainly lucky. Not only did we get to indulge in great food such as thayir vadai (curd vadai), pani puris, thosais, biriyani and barfis from popular restaurants, little chaats stores, and sweet shops, we got the best of home cooked meals! In fact, one of the best part of our trip was waking up to Amama’s (that’s Marc’s grandmother) fresh, hot egg appams or Indian-style pancakes.
Nothing beats tucking into one of these first thing in the morning, with its crispy paper-thin edges to its soft, spongy centre and golden yellow yolk, all doused in sweet, creamy coconut milk, #smackslips. We love it so much we thought we would share Amama’s recipe here. You’re welcome.
- 1 cup idli rice [available in indian specialty stores]
- 1/2 coconut flesh, ground
- Handful of cooked rice
- 2 tbsp curd
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
- Eggs [one per person]
- Serve with sweetened coconut milk
- Soak the idli rice 4 to 5 hours beforehand.
- In a blender, grind the soaked rice with the coconut, cooked rice and salt, till smooth.
- Next, add the sugar and curd to the batter and mix well. The batter should only be slightly thick. If too thick, add a little water or the batter will not rise. Store batter in a closed container, in a warm place and leave overnight/ 8 to 10 hours.
- When ready to make the appams, add water to thin the fermented batter considerably. The batter should reach a pourable consistency so that you can make nice thin, crispy appams. [If you are familiar with making thosais, this batter should be even thinner].
- Preheat a greased appam pan over medium high heat. Pour about half or one ladlefull of batter [depending on ladle size] into the centre of the pan.
- Work quickly and with care so as to not to burn your hands, rotate and twist the pan so that the batter thinly coats the side of the pan, while the rest of the batter pools in the centre.
- Crack an egg onto the centre of the appam and put the lid on.
- Appams cook fast, so check on each one after about 3 minutes. It is ready when the edges are browned and crispy, while the centre is cooked.
- Serve hot with sweetened coconut milk.
No appam pan?
No problem! You can use any non stick pan that is slightly curved in the centre, and which has a lid. Amama wraps the lid in a cloth, preventing condensation from falling back onto the appam batter as it cooks, hence yeilding perfect soft centres.
Amama also dabs an oil-soaked cloth in a tiny bit of egg yolk before greasing the pan. She says this ensures the appams do not stick and comes off easily once done.
Change it up!
Don’t fret if you are not a fan of runny egg yolk. You can simply whisk the egg beforehand and pour it on top of each appam when cooking. Or omit the eggs altogether.
For yet another version, the yellow appams, simple add two beaten eggs into the already fermented appam batter, together with a pinch of turmeric and about a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Mix well and cook as per above. For a sweeter version of this, add a tablespoon or more of sugar and you can omit the coconut milk at the end.