This pancake is temperamental. It needs right ingredients, temperature, & utensils.For best results use raw rice flour.Start by soaking the raw rice (basmati) the night before.
Soak the rice at least for 5 hours.Wash the rice twice.The soaked rice makes it easier to grind. If you are using an electric grinder you may keep the water. If using a mortar & pestle, drain the rice
Pound the soaked rice as fine as possible.Some people like it SLIGHTLY grainy. However a good appam needs the batter to be smooth, hence finely ground is better.
Place the ground rice in deep metal bowl.The bowl needs to be deep to allow space for the batter to ferment & raise.
Measure 1cup lukewarm water for the yeast solution. I am using yeast as an alternative to toddy (alcoholic coconut juice), which is traditionally used as a raising agent.
Add 1 tspn sugar and the yeast.
Leave this for 10 to 15 mins to froth.
This is how it looked
Now for the pasty solution (kurukku/kappi). The purpose of this solution is to accelerate the fermentation process. You may add 1/4 cup cooked rice blitz with 1/2 cup water.
Alternatively add 1/4 cup Semolina to 1/2 cup water
Mix well.it should resemble this
Cook it till thick, resembling mushy baby food
Allow it to cook and thicken some more
Add the pasty mixture to the ground rice.
Also add the yeast mixture and stir well
This is how it looks. Now to allow the yeast to ferment leave it in room temperature for 6-8 hours, overnight will be good.
Notice all the little bubbles have emerged. This is after letting the yeast do its magic for 4 hours.
In winter,heat oven moderately for 5 minutes and switch off.place the batter in and close the doors
This is called an "appachetty", kadai, or appam wok. This needs to be well seasoned before preparing this pancake. A lid for this wok is also essential.
The batter you have now can keep well in the fridge. This is the master batter.From this we will prepare a secondary batter that is best cooked immediately and not stored.
For the basic secondary batter, add half tspn salt & 1/4 cup water & 1/4 of the master batter. For a crispier pancake add 1/4 tspn baking powder. If you like the egg version add a whisked egg to this.
Now heat the kadai, grease it with oil. Ladle a spoon of the secondary batter.Hold both handle of the wok.swivel it at one direction. It will be thin in the edge and thick in the centre. Place a lid.
The flame should be low and we are after a cooked pancake. Now lift the lid and increase the heat to make the edges crispier.once this is done,remove the pancake.
Only cook this one side. Do not flip it. A good appam should have many holes in the centre when cooking.This makes a fluffy pancake.
I love serving this with half cup light coconut milk, half cup water and stir in 4 tablespoon of sugar. Bon appetite