Appam is a type of pancake, originating from the Indian subcontinent, made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. The origin of Appam is disputed and potential sources of origin might be Sri Lanka or the southern tip of India. It is a common food in Sri Lanka and the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu where it is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner.
|Alternative names||Hoppers, Ãppa, kallappam, vellappam, palappam|
|Type||Pancake or griddle cake|
|Course||Breakfast or dinner|
|Associated national cuisine||India, Sri Lanka|
|Main ingredients||Rice batter|
Vir Sanghvi, an Indian journalist, quotes food historian K. T. Achaya and states that the appam is mentioned in the Tamil Perumpanuru. K. T. Achaya in the last published book of his lifetime states that Appam was well established in ancient Tamil country.
It is called appam (അപ്പം) in Malayalam, appa (ආප්ප) in Sinhala, aappam (ஆப்பம்) in Tamil, chitau pitha (ଚିତାଉ) in Oriya, aske pithe (আস্কে পিঠে) in Bengali, paddu or gulle eriyappa in Kodava, and arpone in Burmese. Appam is commonly referred to by its anglicized name, hoppers, in Sri Lanka. In Indonesia it is known as kue apem.
Plain Appam or Vella Appam are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. They derive their shape from the small appachatti in which they are cooked. They are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment or curry. These hoppers are made from a batter using rice, yeast, salt and a little sugar. After the mixture has stood for a couple of hours, it can be fried in the appachatti with a little oil. In south-central Kerala, it is mostly served with kadala curry, mutton or vegetable stew or egg roast.
Palappam is prepared using a spoonful of thick coconut milk/coconut cream added to the doughy centre. When cooked, the centre is firm to the touch but remains soft inside and is sweeter as a result of the coconut milk.
It is a form of appam where kallu is added to the fresh batter to kick start the fermentation. It might also denote appam cooked on a griddle (kal) instead of appachatti.
They are same as plain hoppers, but an egg is broken into the pancake as it cooks.
Idiyappam (string hopper or noolputtu) is made from rice noodles curled into flat spirals. It is served for breakfast with a thin fish or chicken curry, containing only one or two pieces of meat, a dhal (lentil) dish, and a spicy sambol or fresh chutney. String hoppers are made from steamed rice flour made into a dough with water and a little salt, and forced through a mould similar to those used for pasta to make the strings. They are cooked by steaming. Some people even sprinkle grated coconut on the rice noodles. These hoppers can be bought ready-made. The Indian and Sri Lankan population eats string hoppers for breakfast or dinner. There are many variations to this, depending on the type of flour used etc. This simple dish can be adapted into other foods such as string hopper Biriyani, by adding scrambled eggs or vegetables. Another example is located in Kerala, 'Idiyappam' Paaya (goat leg soup made using coconut).
Kuzhalappam is a typical Syrian Christian dish which is a fried crisp curled up like a tube.
Neyyappam owes its origins to Kerala and has been a traditional offering in Hindu temples for God. It is a signature food of Syrian Christians of Kerala, as per K. T. Achaya.. However, the snack originally originated from Kerala and is even now a favorite snack for every Keralite and not only for Syrian Christians. It is made with rice flour, jaggery, clarified butter ghee,which is the traditional method of making Nei appam. Again, the different culture and religious practices introduced variations to the dish as described in the citation above
Unni appam is a variation in which mashed plantain is added to the batter. The batter is made out of rice flour, jaggery and plantain is poured into a vessel called appakarai or appakaram, which has ghee heated to a high temperature. The appams take the shape of small cups and are fried until deep brown. Both neyyappam and unni appam are eaten as snacks.
Vattayappam is made from rice flour, sugar, and coconut. It is an oil free tea time snack in majority of households in Kerala. The dish is made by steam-cooking the batter, and is very similar to the bánh bò from Vietnam.
Kandarappam is a sweet dish made using rice, all 4 dals, and jaggery. The dish has all the ingredients that are considered to bring good luck in Hindu tradition. Using all 4 dals is considered auspicious during festivals.
In Indonesia, a variant of appam is known as kue apem or kue apam. It is an Indonesian kue or traditional cake of steamed dough made of rice flour, coconut milk, yeast and palm sugar, usually served with grated coconut. Indonesian households or community traditionally communally made kue apem for celebration and festivities. For example, Keraton Yogyakarta traditionally held Ngapem ceremony, where royal household communally cook kue apem (Javanese version of appam) as a part of Tingalan Jumenengan Dalem ceremony. It is quite similar to kue mangkok. Just like kue putu it is derived from Indian influence on Indonesian cuisine.
- "12 Sri Lanka foods visitors have to try". CNN.
- Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Gil Marks, 2010, published by John Wiley & Sons;ISBN 9780470391303
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- Subhadra Sen Gupta (2012). "Always Ready for Appams!". Let's Go Time Travelling. Penguin UK. ISBN 818475678X.
- K. T. Achaya. The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 80. ISBN 81-7371-293-X.
- Petrina Verma Sarkar (2 March 2011). "Appams - Appam Recipe - Hoppers - Hoppers Recipe". Indianfood.about.com. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Menon, A. Sreedhara (1979). Social and cultural history of Kerala. Sterling.
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- Amprayil, Kuruvilla Cherian (16 March 2008). "Kerala Nazranee Pesaha Receipes". Nasrani Syrian Christians Network. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
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- "Kue Apem Kukus" (in Indonesian). Sajian Sedap. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Para Puteri Sri Sultan Luwes Membuat Apem di Prosesi Ngapem - Tribun Jogja". Tribun Jogja (in Indonesian). 14 April 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.