There is nothing like a cripsy-edged appam paired with a ladle full of tangy, sweet chicken curry poured on top of its pillowy center. Growing up, this was a common pairing that landed on the table for weekend mornings. It was also what we’d typically make for holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Making appam batter from scratch might seem intimidating. I’ve found the key to a good batter is thorough mixing well and getting a feel for the consistency before and after fermentation. It can be a finicky process so I’ve noted some tips below to consider as you make it:
Blending the batters
- The batter needs to be the right consistency. I use a Preethi Exo Twin Mixie to get my batter to be smooth, pourable batter that has a little grit in it from the rice.
- I use ice cold water when grinding my batter because it can easily get too hot when mixing for a long period of time
- After the batter has been grinded in the blender, I will also hand-mix the batter for several minutes in a large mixing bowl. It goes a long way. One, it’s fun to get your hands dirty, but two, it supports warmth in the batter
- you can also use an immersion blender to mix the batter to create more warmth throughout it
When it comes to fermentation
- In some places, water can be “hard” which can kill natural yeast from forming in your batter. If you think that’s an issue for you, use filtered water.
- The batter craves warmth so I usually keep my batter in the oven with nothing but the oven light on to help it ferment.
- I’ve heard using an Instant Pot on the yogurt setting is also a perfect way to incubate and ferment your batter
- If you don’t live in a warm climate or have an oven light, a heating pad on low setting is reliable.
- I only add salt AFTER the batter has fermented. Salt can slow down fermentation so it’s a safer bet to add afterwards.
If you decide to make this recipe or have any questions about how to make it, head over to my instagram @thefamiliarkitchen so we can connect and I can see how it turned out for you!
- Warm Water, 2 tbsp
- Sugar, 1/2 tsp
- Dry Active Yeast, 1/2 tsp
- RAW/UNCOOKED Long Grain Rice, 1 cup
- Coconut Water or Water, 1 can I personally soak my rice in coconut water to give sweetness to the rice. You can also just soak with water and a few tsps of sugar if you'd like
- Grated Coconut, 1/2 cup I use freshly grated coconut or you can find frozen/grated coconut at an Indian store. Brands like Daily Delight or Deep are great to use
- COOKED Rice, 1/2 cup I use cooked parboiled rice like matta or sona masoori, but any cooked rice is fine; ideally avoid fragrant rice varieties so you don't add that taste to the appam
- Coconut Milk, 1 cup Use a full-fat coconut milk like Kara Coconut Milk
- Sugar, 2 tbsp
- Salt, 1 tsp
Soaking the rice.
- Soak the long-grain rice in the coconut water along with enough room-temperature water so the rice is fully submerged. *Using coconut water is optional, but I like that it sweetens the rice. You can simply use all water to soak the rice.
- Let the rice soak for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
Making and fermenting the batter.
- Start by proofing the yeast. In a cup with about 2 tbsp lukewarm (not hot) water, dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, mix in the dry active yeast. Let this proof for about 10 min. It should bubble up and look frothy when it is done proofing.
- While the yeast proofs, drain the soaked rice and reserve the soaking water. Set aside.
- Add the soaked rice to a blender along with the proofed yeast, grated coconut, cooked rice, coconut milk, and sugar.
- Blend this really well until the batter is smooth with very little grit to it. The pouring consistency should be like a slightly thinner pancake batter. If it's too thick, mix with a little more of the reserved water. If it's too thin, add a little rice flour.
- Pour the prepared appam batter into a large bowl. *Tip: use your hands or an immersion blender after the batter has been made to run through and make sure everything is mixed REALLY well. This also creates extra warmth throughout the batter which supports fermentation.
- After mixing, cover the bowl with a lid or kitchen towel and place in a warm area. (I keep mine in the oven with nothing but the oven light on)
- After 10-12 hours, the batter should have risen/puffed up and will have little fermentation holes on top. This is a good sign of fermentation!
- Mix in the remaining salt. I like a sweet and tangy appam so I taste the batter at this point to see if it needs more sugar.I also add about 1/4 cup of water at this point to thin out the batter. Thinning out the batter helps create more of a crispy edge. The pouring consistency at this stage is more fast like a chocolate syrup.It's finally time to make appam!
- Now that your batter is ready, you will need an appam chatti (pan) to make the lattice-edged appams. *If you do not have a chatti, you can use a small wok or even a frying pan to swirl the batter. Refer to this example: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6lyN9GFAdN/)
- Place your appam chatti on its ring so that it is balanced. Turn the heat to about medium.
- Using a ladle, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the center of the chatti. Pick up the chatti using the handles, hold it away from the flame, and then rotate it in one big circular motion so the batter almost meets the edge of the pan. Immediately place the pan back on the ring and cover.
- Let this cook covered for about a minute. Don't peek to check or else you will release the steam that helps the appam cook. Use a spatula to remove the appam from the chatti and done!
Storing leftover batter.
- If you have extra batter, store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.When ready to make appams, let the batter come to room-temperature before using. Giving it several good whisk before helps bring warmth back to the batter.