Palappam is one of the most popular Kerala breakfast items and easy to make. These pancakes have a crisp side with an airy, soft on touch, fluffy center. John Kessler of Atlanta Journal and Constitution picked our (South Indian Cafe's) Palappam as one of 13 dished to fall in love with!
Traditional Palappam preparation calls for the use of toddy aka kallu for the fermentation of the appam batter. The alternate methods for fermenting Palappam batter are yeast and ‘Pasty batter’ ( the ‘Kappi’ or ‘Kurrukku') in place of toddy. I like to serve Palappam with Kerala egg roast.
Fermenting Time: 6 to 8 hours or overnight
Frying Time: 50 Minutes
Yield: 12 to 14
Recipe may be prepared in advance through step 4
2 cup Rice Flour (don’t use roasted rice flour)
3 tablespoon Rava Idli (Cream of Rice)
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 teaspoons Salt or to taste
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoons Yeast
Gingelly oil (Indian Sesame Oil) or vegetable oil for frying
Prepare the ‘Pasty batter’ ( the ‘Kappi’ or ‘Kurrukku'): In a small saucepan bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the Cream of Rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring until the mixture becomes very this (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
The a small bowl combine the yeast, 3/4 cup warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes or until foamy.
Combine the rice flour and the remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled Cream of Rice, the yeast mixture, and about 3/4 to 1 cup water, or enough to make a thick batter; whisk together thoroughly. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic and allow to sit 6 to 8 hours or overnight, at room temperature.
After the batter has fermented and doubled in size, mix in the coconut milk and salt. The batter should be like a thin pancake batter; if too thick, thin with more coconut milk. If you are not planning to fry the pancakes immediately, refrigerate the batter at this point. Bring it to room temperature again before frying.
Heat an appam pan or a 6 to 8 inch nonstick pan over medium-low to low heat. Add a little oil and smear to coat the surface evenly. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan. Immediately lift the pan and rotate it to spread the batter into a 6-inch circle. The batter should bubble and form holes. (These pancakes are typically think in center and lacy on the edges; however, if made in a frying pan they will be shaped like a pancake.) Cover the pan tightly and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the center is cooked through and the edges and underside are cinnamon brown. Do not flip over. Remove with a spatula. Serve immediately, or lace on a platter in a warm oven and continue frying the remaining appams.