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Christmas Recipes From Kerala - Aappam And Stew

Premi John
12/03/2002

Appams

Traditionally made without the grated coconut, these pancakes are cooked in a small wok shaped pan. The pan is swirled so that the uncooked batter forms a layer of 'lace' around the thicker center portion. It is then covered and cooked in it's own steam over gentle heat. Since most of you may not have access to these 'appam chattis', try this version.

2 cups rice flour
1 can (16 oz.) coconut milk
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar (more to taste)
milk as required
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix 1 tablespoon rice flour with 3/4 cup water and cook on stove until thick. This must be added to batter. In a large bowl, mix together the rice flour, coconut milk, grated coconut, yeast, sugar, and enough milk to form a batter of thick pouring consistency. Do not thin it too much as this can be adjusted later. Keep in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until it ferments. There will be bubbles on the surface and the batter will have risen. Add salt. Stir well.
Pour onto griddle, heated medium to low, to form thick pancakes about 4 inches across. (If batter is too thick and does not spread, add a little more milk). Cook, covered with a lid, for 1 minute, flip over and cook uncovered a further minute until done. Check that it is cooked through and adjust cooking heat/time if necessary.Continue until all the batter has been used.
Serves 2 to 3.


Chicken Stew

Appams are served with this curry, known as 'stew'. A vegetarian version can be made adding boiled eggs instead of chicken or even by substituting carrots and potatoes. The appams are eaten soaked in the gravy, so make sure you have enough liquid in your stew.

2 whole chicken breasts skinned and cut into 6 pieces each.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large onion sliced thinly
1 1/2 inch ginger, slivered
4 green chillies, slit lengthwise
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
2 inch stick cinnamon, broken
1 tsp black peppercorns, barely crushed
1 can (16 oz.) coconut milk
salt
oil

Rub the chicken pieces with the turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt and keep aside. In 1-tablespoon oil, sauté sliced onions and ginger until onions are pale gold in color. Add chillies, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns. Saute 1/2 minute further. Add diced potatoes and stir for 1 minute, add chicken and stir fry for 1 minute, add 1 cup water, stir, cover and cook over medium/low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Add milk if more liquid is required. Add salt to taste. Heat until steaming but do not boil. Serve hot.
Serves 4.


Vattayappam

This is can be served as desert or eaten with a spicy curry or stew. It is a variation of the appam recipe and is steamed in one piece and then cut into diamonds. For a change, you can decorate each piece by placing a raisin in the center of each diamond shape before cooking.

2 cups rice flour
1 can (16 oz.) coconut milk
2 teaspoon yeast
3 tablespoons sugar (more to taste)
1/2 tsp jeera powder
milk as required
1/4 cup raisins, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together the rice flour, coconut milk, yeast, sugar, and enough milk to form a batter of medium pouring consistency. This appam should be thinner in consistency than the pancake version. Keep in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until it ferments. There will be bubbles on the surface and the batter will have risen. Stir well. Stir in the jeera and salt. Pour into an oiled flat, round dish. (You could use an Indian steel dish if you have one). At this point you can place raisins in a grid pattern on the appam. Place on a stand in a large pan wide enough to contain the appam, containing 2 inches hot water, cover tightly and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut into diamond shapes and serve.



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