How to Aapam with Yeast ?
Appam is a gift from Kerala cuisine to the rest of the world. Lacy, porous, crisp and in the shape of a bowl which is airy and soft to touch in the centre. It is a dish to showcase in a Masterchef competition plated with the best of the curries like Kadala curry, fish curry, egg curry or Veg stew. I have had so many varieties of the Aapam, but the one that stood out was the black Aapam with kadala curry. The induced black colour was from the charcoal. Definitely in my bucket list of trying at home. Aapam with toddy is my absolute favourite though.
Rice and coconut are the main ingredients to make an Aapam. The porosity of the aapam comes from the leavening agent added while letting the batter to ferment. The Aapam is soft in the inside and crispier on the exterior making it unique from other dosas. The softness of the Aapam comes from the roux that is prepared and added to the batter.
Variations to the Aapam with yeast
Aapam batter varies in how the roux is made or the leavening agent added.
Leavening agent variations
Traditionally Aapam is fermented with toddy also known as kallu OR yeast.
Batter is made with rice, coconut and the roux and the kallu is added before fermenting. A quick method to make kallu or toddy at home is to add 1/2 tsp of yeast and 1/2 tsp of sugar to 1/2 cup of coconut water and allow it to ferment for 24 hours. The batter is ground to a thick paste, leaving place for the toddy liquid to loosen up the batter later. This liquid is then added to the aapam batter and then the batter fermented for 8 hours before making the appams. Detailed recipe below.
If you are using yeast as the leavening agent, add it after making the batter before it is set to ferment. Allow it to ferment for 4-5 hours.
Aapam batter fermented without Yeast
If you dislike the smell of yeast or don’t have yeast handy, make the batter and the roux and allow it to ferment for 8 hours. Aapam without yeast would have Appa soda or baking soda as the leavening agent. I find the Aapam made with Baking soda to be crispier on the exterior and softer in the centre, while the one with the yeast to be more lacy and porous and soft all through out. Add the baking soda just before making the appams giving it the quick porosity that is expected.
What is a roux ?
Roux is a method where a small quantity of batter is thinned down by adding water or milk to it based on the recipe. This thin batter is briefly cooked just for a few minutes till the batter becomes thick and slurry . This thickened batter at room temperature is added to the rest of the batter or dough. The reason to do this is to gelatinise the starches in the batter or dough. In this case the batter thickens a bit absorbing the water around it, and making the batter less sticky. The moisture retention being high in the batter will result in a softer long lasting appams. This method is also called Tangzhong method .Though the term might sound foreign to us, It is not new to our Indian culinary methods. The Tangzhong method is known to the world as an Asian technique to make soft buns. I use the roux/ Tangzhong method to make, jackfruit appam, ladi pav, soft bread too.
Different ways to make the roux.
I have made two variations of roux in the recipe. One using Semolina and the other using the batter itself. Some also use cooked rice to substitute for the roux. If you think about it cooked rice is another form of roux . Don’t you agree. All of them yield the similar softness to aapam that is expected.
Tips to make a perfect Aapam using yeast
- If the batter is too thick, add water in small quantities till the batter comes to dosa consistency.
- If you are using the iron kadai/chatti for making the aapam, you need to wipe the kadai/chatti with a drop of oil using a paper towel. It makes the surface ready for the next aapam creating a nonstick layer all over.
- If the Aapam is sticking to the kadai/nonstick vessel and is not ready to swirl around, the batter is too thick.
- If you do not see the porosity you expected in the Aapam and the batter sags like melted rubber, add a pinch of baking soda for a small quantity of batter and try again. Mostly the batter is not fermented enough. This quick rescue works for all three recipes.
- If the Aapam is sticking to the iron kadai/tawa, switch off the stove, clean it with water, apply oil a few drops and grease the pan fully by spreading it with a paper towel. Heat the pan for few minutes and lower the flame and try again. Do not swirl the batter too thin for the first aapam.
- If the aapam still does not come out right, have the leftovers for the meal and just message me and come home the next day.
Where to buy Aappa Chatti to make the Aapam ?
Traditionally the vessel used is a cast iron Aappa chatti which is in the shape of a wide bowl. The non-stick pan is heavily used these days for the ease of use and the light weight. I still prefer the iron Aappa chatti.
MANNAR CRAFT Cast Iron AppaChatti with Lid / Appam pan / Appam Patra / Kallu (Pre Seasoned, Standard Size)
Step by step video
Aapam without Yeast
- 2 Cup Raw rice
- 1 Cup Grated coconut
- ¼ Cup Semolina
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Baking soda
- Soak the rice for 4-5 hours. Grind the rice to smooth paste.
Make the Roux
- Heat add 3/4th cup of water and add the semolina.
- Stir and make a soft semi liquid mixture while cooking at low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- The semolina cooks like upma, a liquid upma consistency. Switch off the roux, and set aside to cool.
TO make the batter
- Grind the rice to a smooth paste. Add the grated coconut to the batter and grind to smooth paste.
- Add the roux and grind everything well. Make sure the mixer doesn't heat up.
- Set aside to ferment for 6-8 hours.
- Batter is ready and fermented. Add salt, baking soda mix well.
- To a aapam chatti in low heat, add one laddle of batter.
- Swirl the tawa in circular motion till the batter evenly and thinly spreads across the full pan.
- Close it with a lid, and cook till the centre is well cooked and soft.
- Slowly nudge the aapam out of the bowl from the sides and gently take it out in a bowl shape.