Appam, Vegetable Stew, Coconut Milk in Gud
This is a very popular breakfast from Kerala. The meal is a huge hit with children and mostly reserved for Sundays and holidays. ‘Appams’ made of fermented rice flour and rich Vegetable Stew’ with the sweet accompaniment of Coconut Milk in Gud’ is a substantial fare that induces a blissful mid-morning slumber. This meal is also Kerala’s most famous export to kitchens all over the world. Some claim the Appam has been adapted from Jewish cuisine. Others say that it originated in the ancient Tamil realm around the first century as per references in Tamil Sangam literature. Whatever the debate, today, this highly nutritious and delicious meal from Kerala is enjoyed across the country and the world for its unique blend of tastes and textures.
VIEW INDIVIDUAL RECIPES
- Duration:15 minutes (plus soaking-time)
- Serves:8-10 people
Usually, the Appam is cooked in a vessel called the appachetty, which is essentially a rounded iron pan with a wooden handle and an accompanying lid, much like a kadhai. It is available in Kerala specialty stores. It gives the dish its required texture and cooks the Appam evenly. You may use a similar type of non-stick pan with a lid.
- Rice, preferably Sona Masuri (1½ cups)
- Coconut, fresh and grated (¾ cups)
- Rice, boiled (2 tbsp)
- Salt (to taste)
- Sugar (2 tsp)
- Water (2 cups)
- Wash and soak the rice for 4 hours. Drain and grind it along with about ¾ cups of water, the grated coconut and the cooked rice in a grinder to make a smooth mixture.
- In a deep-bottomed pan, add ¼ cup of the batter and ¾ cup water. Place the pan on a low flame and cook, stirring continuously till the batter begins to thicken and becomes translucent. Turn off the flame and allow this cooked batter to cool.
- Once cooled, add this cooked batter to the rice-coconut batter and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
- Add half a cup of water to make the batter of pouring consistency, but ensure that it’s not too runny.
- Cover the batter and let it ferment overnight. By morning, you will find that it has risen to become double the original quantity.
- Just before preparing the Appams, add the salt and sugar to the fermented batter and mix well.
- Heat the appachetty or non-stick pan on medium flame for around 2 minutes. Put 3 drops of any vegetable oil and wipe the pan with a moist cloth. (Appams are made without oil and are never flipped on the pan.)
- Lower the flame and pour a ladleful of batter in the centre of the pan.
- Lift the pan off the flame and twirl the appachetty in such a way that the batter moves in clockwise direction to spread out in a circular shape. Do the twirling twice and let the remaining batter pool in the centre.
- Place the pan back on a low flame and cover. After 2 minutes, check to see whether the edges of the Appam have become crisp and are beginning to come off the sides of the pan. The centre should be soft, fluffy and cooked through like an idli.
- Lift the Appam out of the pan with a wooden spatula and serve it hot with vegetable stew.
- You can refrigerate the leftover batter for up to two days but not any longer as it will spoil.
- Duration:30 minutes
- Serves:10 people
To get an authentic Kerala Vegetable Stew, kaju paste mixed with coconut milk is used as an additional ingredient to add thickness and richness to the stew.
- Carrot (gajar), cubed (1)
- Potato, peeled and cubed (1)
- Onion, sliced finely (1)
- Green chillies (Hari mirch), slit vertically (4)
- Ginger (Adrak), crushed (1 tbsp)
- Black peppercorns (Kali mirch) (½ tsp)
- Cinnamon (Dalchini) (1 inch piece)
- Cloves (Laung) (3)
- Green cardamom (Hari elaichi) (3)
- Thin coconut milk (1½ cup)
- Thick coconut milk (¾ cup)
- Curry leaves (Kadipatta) (5-6)
- Salt (to taste)
- Coconut oil (2 tbsp)
- Green peas (½ cup)
- Garlic (Lahsun), crushed (1 tbsp)
- Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan and add the spices.
- Once the spices begin to splutter, add the onion, crushed adrak and lahsun, kadipatta, and hari mirch and stir-fry till the onion turns just transparent. (Make sure the onions don’t turn brown.)
- Then add the cubed vegetables and green peas into the pan and mix well.
- Pour the thin coconut milk and salt and bring the concoction to a boil. (To get the coconut milk just right, check GET IT RIGHT)
- Reduce the flame and simmer till the vegetables are tender. This takes around 10 minutes.
- Add the thick coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- At this point, you may stir in a paste made of about 6-10 cashews and some coconut milk to add more richness.
- Remove the pan from the flame.
- In a smaller pan, heat the remaining coconut oil and fry the kadipatta for 10 seconds. Pour this over the vegetable stew and cover the dish for a few minutes for the flavours to seep in.
- Serve hot with appams.
- Duration:15 minutes
- Serves:2 people
In Kerala homes, it is almost a sacrilege to use pre-packaged coconut milk or powder. The key to get this dish right is to use coconut milk extracted from the fresh nuts just before cooking.
- Thick coconut milk (2 cups)
- Split chickpeas (Chana dal), fried (2 tsp)
- Jaggery (Gud), grated (2 tbsp)
- Green cardamom (Hari elaichi) (2)
- Coconut, grated (2 tsp)
- Put the grated coconut, chana dal, and elaichi into a mixer-grinder and grind to a smooth paste.
- Transfer the paste to a bowl, add the thick coconut milk to it and mix well. (To get the coconut milk just right, check GET IT RIGHT)
- Heat a kadhai on high flame. Pour the coconut milk mixture into it and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, till the liquid starts to thicken.
- Meanwhile, on medium flame, heat the gud in another pan with a little water till it melts. Once it melts, take it off the flame and strain the liquid through a fine muslin cloth.
- Now transfer the strained liquid gud to the pan and bring it to a boil on high flame till it becomes frothy and thick.
- Add this syrup to the boiling coconut milk and mix well. Leave it on the high flame without stirring for a minute and then take it off the flame.
- Cool and serve as a condiment along with appam.
GET IT RIGHT
Grind coffee beans at home