Pancakes are something one can have anytime of the day…breakfast, lunch, evening snack, dinner or even as a midnight snack. During childhood days when we used to come back from school, we’d be welcomed by the delightful aroma of hot pancakes & maple syrup that Mom would have kept ready for us. Everyday there used to be a different snack, and since I was never very fond of rice this used to be the bribe for me to eat my lunch or else she wouldn’t let me touch it, and I would have done anything for the snacks, let alone eat rice. Those were the times I used to thank god for a Mom who loves to cook, who would be waiting for us at the front door with a serene smile on her face, who did not run after building a career, and was least bothered about what would happen on her work-front if she wasted half an hour on making pancakes for her kids, and more than God, I guess we should thank our Dad, for insisting that Mom needn’t work, that he would take care of everything, though he’d left the choice to her, thankfully, mom chose us above a job. So today I was looking up mom’s old cookbook when I saw this recipe, and suddenly the good ol’ nostalgia struck again, and I had to have the pancakes with the maple syrup, and I did….
- Maida 2 small cups
- Eggs 3
- Vanilla essence 1/2 tsp
- Baking powder 1 pinch
- Castor sugar as per your taste, I used about 5 tbsp
- Salt 1 pinch
- Milk ¼ small cup
For the topping:
- Add all the ingredients to a blender. Make a smooth, thick paste.
- Heat a non-stick pan, pour 1 ladle of the batter on to the pan, do not spread it.
- Cook both sides for less than a minute each.
· Once all the pancakes are ready, take a plate, keep one pancake in the middle, pour a little maple syrup on top, keep another pancake on top of the first one, and pour some more maple syrup. Repeat with about 3-4 pancakes for each serving.
· Enjoy the pancakes, I accompanied it wid some apple juice!
In Kerala, Vellayappam is one of the most popular breakfasts. Almost every household has Vellayappam for breakfast at least once a week. But they can pass really well for lunch or dinner as well. The lore is that this delicacy is a foreigner to the Mallu-land. It’s said the Dutch got the Appam into our land ages ago. I’m really not sure about the authenticity of that tale, but if it’s true, I’m so thankful to the Dutch!!
Traditionally this recipe uses ‘toddy’ instead of yeast, but I really have no way of getting toddy here! So the next best alternative is active dry yeast. I’ve heard that people collect water from the coconuts they use for regular cooking for about a week or so and store it up in the refrigerator, (In Kerala cuisine uses quite a lot of coconut, I’m sure that isn’t news for most people). The stored up coconut water is supposed to be a good enough supplement for the toddy, but I haven’t tried it yet, so no guarantees on that one. I’ve come to trust the good old yeast by now.
For the batter:
- Raw rice 3 cups (Soak for 5-8 hours)
- Coconut, grated 1 cup
- Cooked rice ¾ cup
- Yeast mixture ¼ cup*
- Sugar 2 tbsp
- Salt 1 tsp or as per taste
- Baking soda ¼ tsp (Optional)
- Grind the raw rice, cooked rice and coconut to make a fine batter (Slightly more loose in consistency than pancake batter).
- Add the yeast mixture and salt to the batter. Use a bowl in which the batter will only be half full. This is because the batter will rise up in a few hours and there should be space for it to come up, if not it’ll spill out of the bowl and that’ll be a mess to cleanup, and lots of batter wasted.
- Keep it aside in a warm place overnight or for at least 6-7 hours.
- Next morning, add the baking soda and sugar (2 tbsp) and mix it in very slowly, so as not to disturb the batter too much. DO NOT mix vigorously, as that will affect the quality of the appam.
For the yeast mixture:
- Warm milk or water ¼ cup
- Sugar 1 tsp
- Dry yeast ¼ tsp
- Add 1 tsp sugar to the warm milk or water. To this mixture add the yeast. The milk should just be lukewarm. Leave the mixture aside for a few minutes to let the yeast develop.
To make the Appam:
- Lightly grease an appam chatti or wok, and heat it on a high flame. Once it’s heated, lower the flame and pour one ladle, or ½ cup, of the batter in and swirl the chatti or wok around so that the batter coats the wok to make a thin crust around the rest of the batter which settles into the center. Close with the lid and cook on low flame for about 2-3 minutes, or till the appam is cooked in the middle (slowly poke with a skewer in the middle part and if the batter doesn’t stick, then the appam is ready) and lacy part around the middle would have turned into a light brown color.
- Gently remove the appam onto a plate or tray and repeat this process to make the number of appams you need. If there is any batter left, you can store it for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator
- Appam is best served hot, with a variety of side dishes like stew, chicken curry, pork curry, fish curry, vegetable korma, kadala curry, egg curry and the list goes on and on… in short, appam tastes good with almost any side dish, but i suppose the winning combo is Appam with sweetened coconut milk.