cooking: 2-3 min each
Appam, a fermented rice pancake, is a speciality of the South Indian coastal state of Kerala. It is especially popular among the Christian communities of that state. Appam are often served along with a coconut-flavoured vegetable stew. It is also very popular in Sri Lanka, where it is known as "appa" (or "hopper") and often served with an added egg.
- 1½ cups uncooked white rice
- 1½ cups fresh grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons white rice, cooked
- water for soaking rice, and 2 to 2½ cups for grinding
- optional: ½ teaspoon yeast or kefir, to start the ferment
- Soak the raw rice in water.
- Grind the soaked rice until about ¼ ground.
- Add the grated coconut along with a little water and continue grinding.
- Add the sugar, cooked rice and yeast or kefir, and keep grinding until the whole mixture becomes smooth. It should be thinner than pancake batter.
- Transfer it to a wide open container and leave it to rise overnight.
- The next morning, add salt and refrigerate the batter until use.
- To fry the appams, use a tava or a small bowl-shaped pan with either a non-stick coating or a little oil or ghee.
- Pour a full serving spoon of batter into the middle of the pan and swirl it around a single time so that a little of the batter sticks to the sides.
- Cover the pan with a hot lid and remove the appam with a spatula after 2-3 minutes, when it becomes slightly browned around the edges. It should be round, with a thick centre and thin, lacy edges.
Notes, tips and variations 
- The batter should ferment overnight without any added starter, but often won't. Yeast (or better still, kefir) can be added to help it ferment.
- The grinding can be done in a blender. Make sure that there is enough liquid so that it all swirls around in the blender, mixing properly.