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South Indian palappam recipe

South Indian palappam recipe
Palappam or ‘appam’ is like a pancake, popular in South India and Sri Lanka, made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk.It is usually eaten for breakfast or dinner and as an accompaniment to fish molee.

In Sri Lanka palappams are also called “hoppers”.

A freshly made palappam

Stefan showing off a freshly made palappam

Ingredients for palappam

  • 300g of rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons of semolina (rava)
  • 750ml of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 500g of water
  • ghee for cooking (alternatively vegetable oil)

Step 1: prepare the palappam batter

  1. Add 500g of water to 3 tablespoons of semolina and cook it on a low heat, keep stirring it until it starts to look like porridge, then remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon of yeast in 100g of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of sugar until it becomes frothy and leave it aside for around 20 minutes to rise.
  3. In a deep bowl, put the 300g of rice flour and mix in the semolina mixture.  Mix it well.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and mix well.
  5. Very slowly add 500g of the coconut milk mixing well as you add it, until you obtain a smooth batter.
  6. Cover pan with a tea towel and keep it covered at room temperature over night (not in the fridge).

Step 2: preparing the palappam pancakes

The palappam batter cooking

The palappam batter cooking in the pan

  1. The next morning, retrieve the batter and slowly mix in the remaining 250g of coconut milk, little by little, always stirring.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and sugar to taste.
  3. Heat a pan then brush a little bit of ghee or cooking oil with a kitchen roll around the hot pan.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Using a ladle, scoop in one spoon full of mixture into the centre of the pan and turn the pan round slowly to spread the mixture out so it covers the pan surface.
  6. Let the batter cook for around 2 minutes, you do not need to turn it round in the pan.
  7. Remove from the heat when the centre of the palappam starts to bubble up a little bit.
  8. Use the ghee stained kitchen roll to ‘clean’ the pan and repeat until all the batter has been used up.
Stefan with freshly made palappam

Stefan showing off his freshly made palappam

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Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

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