Appam is a traditional breakfast dish associated with Kerala cuisine. Though it’s an integral part of Christian dishes of Kerala, all Keralities fondly accept it. Appam can be served with any side dish – either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, that’s the advantage. Though a breakfast dish, it can also be served with supper, and a good combo for chutney, vegetable stoo, mutton stoo etc.
I have heard many people saying, “My appams are not good, my appams are not perfect”. I really can’t quote a reason behind it. No one told me a perfect recipe for appam, and I have learnt only through my experiences. I have my own ways of appam making, like others and would like to share a few simple tips with you.
Useful tips for making Appam
1. Use only first quality raw rice (pachari) for making appam. It gives nice white colour and add taste to your appam.
2. Soak for at least 8 hours. For fermentation too, it will take at least 8 hours. It may vary up to 10 hours as per the activity of yeast used for appam making.
3. Yeast available from market or gulf countries may vary in its quality. New yeast takes less time for fermentation. So you should know the characteristics of yeast before using for appam, and use as per need. As per quality, you may need to add more or less.
4. You can also use coconut water as an alternative of yeast.
5. It’s also nice to grind for appam using coconut water instead of water. If so you need to add less quantity of yeast.
6. Some people say fermented dosa batter can also be used instead of yeast. But I don’t recommend it. I have tried it once. But it didn’t yield the same results obtained with yeast/coconut water. I think it can also slightly change the colour of appam.
7. Some people add fenugreek powder while grinding flour, as it is good for health. But I never use it, as it may slightly change the colour of appam. Soaked raw rice kept in fridge also yields best results for appam.
8. Grind a little cooked rice while grinding, as it add extra softness to your appam. I also grind scrapped coconut, salt and sugar along with it.
9. Pure white cooked rice is best for appam making, as it give pure white appams. If you use cooked brown rice, appams may be slight brown also. Ponni rice is best.
10. Always leave 1/4th of the vessel free for keeping batter. Once fermented the batter rises and increases in volume than you predict. If you use a small vessel, batter may overflow.
11. Once the batter is fermented, half hour before preparing appams, add a pinch of soda powder and stir well and keep aside.
12. If you add excess soda powder, appam will change in colour once prepared, and its taste may be affected. It is not good for health also.
13. This tip from my own experiments – Add a little milk half hour before making appam. You can add milk while adding soda powder. It gives extra colour, and adds taste and nutrition to your appam.
14. If you have plans to add milk to appam, you should add a less quantity of water while preparing batter. You should keep in mind while grinding the rice.
15. If water content is excess your appam won’t look nice. Water or milk, it should only be in sufficient quantity. One or two tablespoons of milk is enough.
16. After you put soda powder and stir well, never stir again till you complete preparing appams. If so bubbles of air hidden in the batter escape, and you won’t get those holes on your appam.
17. It’s a human habit to keep stirring while preparing idli/dosa/appam, if you are solely concentrating on preparing this dish only in kitchen. But keep yourselves away from that batter spoon till you need to pour batter for next dosa or appam.