Appam/Lace Hoppers & Fish curry
Winter can trigger memories deep,most of them are around food luckily smile emoticon It’s when you are stuck in traffic jams in biting cold,the hunger pangs come knocking loudly, you helplessly turn & smile at the person in the neighboring car, who has another story written all over his face, but the truth remains the same, each one of us rushing to be home safe & warm.Your mind is creating mirages of its own, what could the invisible genie create when you return home hungry & tired, that’s when the appam/lace hopper image floated in front of my mind’s eye like the skirt of a Sufi dancer in ecstasy .Ah, appam, it shall be!! It’s a long process but well worth the time spent, when you plan carefully.
The first time I tasted this authentic lace hopper was in a restaurant at the water theme park many years ago.They were some of the softest fluffiest appams with lace trim skirts, the chef there warned us that it contains Palm toddy ( which is an alcoholic beverage /Palm wine) added to the flour mix to make them soft & fluffy, could’t really tell what made us zoom past in the water slides, the ride was memorable in every sense wink emoticon grin emoticon The Chef also gave us some handy tips in the art of making it well,for it to be soft & fluffy in the centre, crispy & lace like in the edges .She twirled her wok in what seemed like a kind of a meditative belly dance from her side & the appam took shape.Years later, today I practiced everything she said to the T & yes, it turned out good.Though I had lugged the appam pan from India , I rarely used it for making what it was designed for originally , today I put it to task & Lo & behold it delivered! The spicy fish curry is any day a better dish to go with the soft appams compared to the light flavored coconut milk which was the norm back home, we needed the spices to shake off the cold
Regular rice- 1 cup
Parboiled Rice- 1 cup
Cooked rice- 1/2 cup ( optional- makes its softer)
Dry Yeast- 1 tsp ( soak in 1/2 cup Luke warm water,and a teaspoon of sugar to activate it.This helps in fermenting the flour mix faster)
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste
1 Soak the rice separately for 3-4 hours& then grind them together to a fine paste along with coconut & cooked rice.
2.To this fine paste add enough water to make it runny to a pancake consistency,then add the yeast mix to it , along with salt to taste.
3.Sit it in a warm place & let it ferment. Overnight is better, but one can even fast forward the process by gently heating the oven to a minimum & placing the flour mix in it for 10 minutes, This helps hasten the fermenting process.
4.Now pour a ladle full of the flour mix in the wok (specially made for this , it is much deeper in the center) & then twirl the flour mix gently along the sides to create that thin outer edge.Keep covered & let it cook for a few minutes.
5.When you see the holes along the edges which gives it a lace like appearance , remove it from the wok & it’s ready to be served.
6.Enjoy it with a spicy curry of your choice, I chose fish, you could even go vegan.For those who like it less spicy, you could just sweeten coconut milk & have these lace hoppers along with the milk, either way it is delightful.Enjoy!