Saturday, 11 April 2020

Kerala Vellayappam or Kallappam Recipe | How To Make The Perfect Aoft and Fluffy Vellayappam



Kerala appam or Vellayappam - Soft and spongy Kerala style pancakes.

Happy Easter my dear friends. Today I am sharing an Easter special post, vellayappam. My all time favorite breakfast dish from childhood. Due to my love towards this yummy breakfast, I learned so quickly its method and I don't want to depend on the instant powders which are available in the market. Of course, it may take a few trials with so many errors, but finally  I nailed it. I think, only because of those errors, now I am capable to explain this beautiful recipe with you my friends. What can I say is, try this recipe at least once, you will become a fan of these soft pancakes.

Actually, I shot this recipe almost two months before and was kept for posting during this Easter time. But I doubt, whether this is the right time to post or not. As we all are so panic to the spreading epidemic disease. Anyway, I am sharing this recipe with all good thought and prayers that everyone recover faster from this drastic condition.

Vellayappam is a typical Kerala recipe which is made from fermented yeast batter. You can see these pancakes in some restaurants outside Kerala also. But it doesn't relay the exact vellayappam taste which we used to have from childhood. It should be slightly sweet, slightly sour and spongy with nice thin lace surrounding the inner thick portion. The most difficult step, we can say is making the outer thin lace.  Proper mixing, proper fermentation and also the consistency will surely yield a perfectly cooked vellayappam. It really needs some skill and can acquire only with practice.

Just like bread making, yeast fermentation is happening here also. In ancient time, when the toddy shops were common in Kerala, vellayappam was made with toddy only. That time, the vellayappam or kerala appam was also called kallappam in which the kallu means toddy and appam denotes pancake. Now toddy is not as easily available in Kerala and people start using ready made yeast packets, but still we people call it Kallappam. Today, we will make vellayappam with the same taste as before. Through this recipe, you can experience the same old soft kallappam with exactly the same taste.

A few factors affects the preparation of vellayappam. Climate is the most important one, a perfect vellayappam can't be made during winter season as fermentation requires a hot climate. So I usually prefer to make this during summer only or at day time, I will make the batter and will use for dinner. Leftover batter, you can refrigerate for one or two days, but not more than that. During overtime fermentation, what happens is that, the batter will develop sour taste and it will turn tasteless.  So use the batter when it comes to a double volume.

In the following section, I have explained the recipe details and you will also get its video.

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Kerala appam | Kallappam recipe |How to make vellayappam | Making perfect vellayappam at home



Soft and spongy rice pancakes

Preparation time: 12 hours | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total time: 12 hours 10 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups raw rice (preferably dosa rice)
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice (red or white rice)
  • 3/4 cup coconut water (optional, but makes the appam soft)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast or 6 to 8 balls of dry yeast (3 grams for instant appam)
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste

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Direction of preparation of Vellayappam or Kerala appam


Step 1- Soaking rice 


The first step in the preparation of appam is making batter. I usually use raw rice for this purpose, here in Tamil Nadu, this rice is called dosa rice as it gives a fluffy soft dosas. Boiled rice, idili rice or basmati rice are not suitable for this recipe.



  1. Soak the raw rice in fresh water for at least four to five hours till the rice turn soft. You can break the rice easily with your hands after the soaking period. Then wash with running water until the water runs clear. I recommend washing rice after soaking as this will help to remove the pesticides and chemicals if present. Drain water completely and keep aside.

Step 2 - Activating yeast

  1. Take half cup of lukewarm water in a bowl and put one tablespoon of sugar. Mix well, till the sugar melts.
  2. Once the sugar melted completely, you can add the yeast into it. Make sure that the water is lukewarm, if not wait till the temperature comes down. Otherwise the yeast will die and the appam will not ferment. This is the first critical point. You should check two things while doing this step. First, the yeast should be fresh i.e, within the expiring period. Second, the water should be lukewarm. Also, do not forget to incorporate some sugar as sugar  is the activator of yeast.
  3. After sometime, you will see beautiful froth forming above the water level. I have included that activation step in the above video, do check that beautiful activation process

Step 3 - Grinding the rice


Start this step, only after checking the yeast, if the yeast is not good, replace it. This step needs to be started as soon as you activate the yeast as the yeast should not be kept outside for long time.
  1.  Mix all the dry ingredients like soaked rice, grated coconut, remaining portion of the sugar and cooked rice. All these ingredients are necessary and each plays a very important role in both structure and taste making. Coconut and sugar contribute taste where as the cooked rice is the structure builder. It softens the appam. If you have no cooked rice left, then you can use soaked beaten rice flakes, aval or poha. Here I used the cooked red rice which I made for lunch, but it fade its color a bit. If you want to cook a pure white appam, then you have to use any white rice, even you can use this same dosa rice after cooking. 
  2. Then grind into smooth paste adding enough water. If you have coconut water with you, you can use that. I had 3/4 cup coconut water with me, I used the entire coconut water while grinding the rice. Remaining portion, I used water. Coconut water is not compulsory, you can do the entire step with room temperature water only, but you know it gives a nice flavor just like a traditional appam made with toddy.  Despite of this 3/4 cups coconut water, you will need water up to one to one and half cups. 
  3. Grind the batter until you get a loose consistency. Not too loose, it should be medium loose, still make sure that we have half more cup of water to incorporate which has been used while activating yeast.  This consistency is necessary for getting the outer nice lace. If you have any doubts, please check the above video. 
  4. Once the batter has been ground to a smooth paste, check the temperature of batter and its should be lukewarm or at room temperature. Wait till the temperature comes down and then add the activated yeast mix. Mix well with a spoon or using your hands. Check the consistency once again and adjust if it is not right. 
  5. Then close with a loose lid and leave it overnight for fermentation. The bowl with batter should not be covered with a tight lid. This aerobic fermentation needs a hot climate.
  6. The very next morning or after almost eight hours of fermentation, you will see the batter has doubled its volume. Put some salt and mix well until the batter mixed completely. Now it is ready to make appam. Note: Over fermentation will result in flattening of batter volume and will leave a sour taste also. So take the batter as soon as it doubled. 

  7. Mix some salt and then refrigerate if not using immediately. It will stay good for one or two days, but not more than that. 

Step 4 - Preparation of appam


To prepare appam, we have special appam chatties as shown in the finger. If you can get one, please buy. Otherwise, you can use  small nonstick or iron woks for this purpose. The iron woks need to be greased well with gingelly oil and should be kept untouched for at least two days in order to prevent sticking of batter. Better to use a non stick wok.
  1. Heat the appam chatti over high heat until it is hot. Then reduce the flame to medium and pour one spoon of batter. Immediately swirl the pan and make the lace. 
  2. If the batter consistency is right, then you will get nice lace and the remaining batter will accumulate at the center. Cover with a lid and continue to cook on medium flame until the appam cooked completely. You can check in between and make sure that there is no uncooked batter seen on the top.
  3. Remove the lid and cook on high flame till the lace comes with a nice light golden color. 
  4. The appam will start to separate from the pan at this stage. This is the indication that the appam is done. Take out using a wooden spatula
  5. You can serve this with vegetable  or chicken stew and any spicy non-veg curry. Stew is the best combination for appam. 
Happy cooking
Anju       

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