I’ve never heard of a South Indian who doesn’t love and crave aapams. I enjoyed these fluffy delicacies since childhood and I’m so glad I was able to recreate this beauty all by myself.
My mother knew how to make everything but she was horrible at handing down recipes. I used to hate the fact that if I took a recipe from her, I couldn’t get proper measurements. Therefore, I try to find recipes online, and then attempt my own adjusted version so that I can perfect the dish.
The aapam craze was initiated by my previous domestic help, who kept saying the Keralite family for whom she worked made the softest and fluffiest aapams and they used only rice and coconut. We tried that twice and it was a total flop show! There was something missing for sure. My mom said she would add yeast. I looked for recipes avoiding yeast and tried many of them, however they were never gave me the perfect aapam. I finally decided to embrace yeast and add it to my recipe and voilà, I ended up with tantalizing aapams. Some folks are using idly rice to make aapams and I’m yet to try that. For now I’m sticking to traditional raw rice. Let’s look at what’s needed and how to get to the perfect aapam.
Ponni raw rice – 3 cups
Scraped coconut – 3 cups
Coconut water – as available (I used water from 2 coconuts)
Yeast – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
- Wash 3 cups of raw rice well and soak in water for 4-6 hours.
- Drain the water and transfer to a high speed blender or wet grinder. Add in 3 cups of scraped coconut, coconut water and needed amount of water and blend to a very smooth paste.
- Remove a ladle full of this paste and transfer it to a thick bottomed vessel. Add 1 cup of water to it and stir to mix it well.
- Switch on the stove, keep the flame low and place the vessel on top. Keep stirring continuously to avoid clumping (this is a slow step and takes time, you will need patience), until the mixture turns into a smooth, thick paste.
- Switch off the flame and allow the paste to cool off.
- In the meanwhile, to a small bowl, add 3-4 tbsp of mildly warm water. To this, add the 1/4 tsp yeast and stir well till it dissolves. Add 1 tsp of sugar to the same bowl and mix well. Set aside for 15-20 mins so that the yeast gets activated.
- Now to the rice and coconut paste in the blender or wet grinder add the cooled off cooked paste and the yeast mix and blend once again.
- Transfer the batter to a steel bowl and place it in a mildly warm room for about 8 to 10 hours (depends on the temperature of the room) to ferment. I usually leave it overnight.
- When the batter has fermented well, you should notice a lot of air bubbles in the and the batter itself will feel light and fluffy.
- Check the consistency of the batter. It shouldn’t be too thick, then you won’t be able to swirl it around on the pan. Don’t make it too watery as this will give you hard aapams. Add a pinch of salt and stir the batter well.
- Heat an aapam pan and when it’s super hot, add in a ladle of the batter to the pan and swirl. Cover with a lid and leave it on for a minute and a half and then serve. Keep the flame on high throughout, else the aapams will not come out well. Delicious aapam is now ready.
Traditionally, we eat aapam with coconut milk in Tirunelveli, where I come from. So I always make fresh coconut milk adding cardamom pods for flavour. My husband on the other hand comes from Nagercoil and they always have aapam with some spicy non-veg gravy. Therefore, I tend to prepare a yummy chicken or mutton gravy to satiate his taste buds. Yesterday, I made goat trotter gravy for the aapams and it was a heavenly combination.
Hope you get to make these fluffy delicacies at home and relish it. See you soon with another post. Till then, bye guys!