Appam is a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It is a common food in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner.
It is called Pitha in Oriya, Paddu or Gulle Eriyappa in Kodava. It is known as Appa in Sinhala and Arpone in Burmese. It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner.
Appum or aapum – pronunciation varies between regions – is a term equivalent to bread. Another form of appam is “Kallappam”, where “kall” (Malayalam) means toddy, which is used for fermentation. This type of appam is prepared in an appa kal (mould). Kallappam looks like a pancake.
Variations of Appam
- Plain hoppers (Vella Appam) – 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 Chickpea Curry, mutton or vegetable stew, or Egg roast.
- Egg Hopper (Biththara Appam) – the same as plain hoppers, but an egg is broken into the pancake as it cooks
- Milk hoppers – have 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.
- Honey hoppers – crispy pancakes cooked with a generous amount of palm treacle. Some people also like to add some jaggery just before serving to make it extra sweet. Try our Coconut Treacle Hoppers for a sweet taste.
- String hopper (Noolputtu) – Or idiyappam, 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 sambal 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. 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).
- Pesaha appam – (also called indri appam) is made by Nasrani Christians in Kerala during Passover. This type of appam is dipped in syrup before being served.
- Neyyappam – which owes its origins to Kerala. This is made with rice flour,jaggery, clarified butter (ghee).Unni appamis a variation in which mashed plantain is added to the batter. The batter 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. This is festive sweet, made on Gokulashtami – the birthday of Hindu deity, Krishna. It is also a common prasadam in Kerala temples.
- Vattayappam – is made from rice flour, sugar, and coconut. The dish is made by steam-cooking the batter, and is very similar to the Bánh bò from Vietnam.
The presence of Tamils in Malaysia has over the years led to the popularity of the apam. Apam is the term used for a steamed cup-cake sized dessert made from rice flour that is eaten with shredded fresh coconut. The string hopper (local name:putu mayam) is also popular among Malaysians. Sold by street vendors on modified motorbikes, the string hoppers are eaten with grated palm sugar (gula Melaka) and shredded fresh coconut. Malaysian Indians tend to make their own and eat it with either curry or dhal dish.