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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Aapam Ishtew

easy recipe aapam ishtew stew kerala delicacy breakfast

Aapam is one of the dishes I liked better when made by my mom, or even some street vendors in Kerala... and I didn't feel like making it at home until now as I felt it needed a special contraption to cook it.

Aapam has a thick spongy center and a thin dosai-like edge - the shape sort of resembles vintage flying saucers :)

My mom gifted me this little non-stick aapam pan-of-sorts recently and I decided to try it out. The batter is my version of it, I am still experimenting with proportions, but this batch was quite good.

Aapam turned out quite spongy and tasty, even though the center was not as thick as I wanted them to be. It is cooked only on one side usually, sort of like Injeras that I make. The batter needs to ferment a bit and get fluffy just like for injera, but rather than buckwheat or tef or all-purpose flour that I use for injeras, appam is made with a rice-based batter.

Fermentation is easy enough in hot places, but, since it is still pretty cold here, I warm up my oven to 200°F, turn it off, and leave the batter in there to ferment. Additionally, I add some yeast to the batter to help the fermentation.

Aapam is usually served with some sort of a stew ("ishtew", in local lingo), so I made a mixed vegetable stew with coconut milk.

2 cups par-boiled rice
2 cups plain white rice
¼ cup urad dal
1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast (optional)

vegetables like potatoes, peas, carrots, green beans
½ tsp turmeric powder (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1 medium onion diced
1 can light coconut milk
2 Tbsp canola oil or coconut oil

salt to taste

  1. batter: soak the batter ingredients overnight and grind to a fine batter; add some yeast and leave in a warm place to rise for a few hours
  2. stew: heat oil in a pan and sauté the ginger and garlic, then add the onions, turmeric powder and some salt, allow it to sweat a bit; then add the veggies and a little bit of water and steam the veggies; then add the coconut milk, cover and simmer to desired thickness; adjust salt to taste
  3. aapam: add some salt to the fermented batter, stir; heat the aapam pan over medium heat; pour a ladleful of batter in the center of the pan, pick up the pan and swirl it a bit to allow the batter to coat the sides of the pan, cover and cook till holes form on the top and the center lump of batter is cooked through

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  • At 9:18 PM, Blogger Nandita said…

    simple and delicious, your aapams have turned out really 'holey' and soft...i dont have the pan either, so make it on my regular dosai non stick tava...

  • At 4:53 AM, Blogger Asha said…

    How are you girl? Enjoying the baby? Happy Mother;s day to you, bet fun is double now. Have a wonderful Sunday!:)
    I made Ishtew and Aapam too, love the combo.

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Sheela said…

    hi nandita, love your new photo! am so out of food blog circle nowadays, but, hope to keep up my recipe posts :)

    thanks ashaji! i am hanging in there... hope things will get less chaotic as Oggie grows up...

  • At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Sheela
    Need some help with this one. I have a nonstick appam pan now and I have tried this a few times. My problem is that the pan does not allow the batter to swirl around i.e. it kind of slides over but doesnt stick to the sides of the pan and everything ends up in the middle - I tried various heat levels and conistencies of batter but this one has me stumped. I used to think I was a dosa pro but now I am not so sure :( Any ideas on heat and consistency combination that would work best - btw I had no issues with my cast iron appam pan - it seems like the nonstick the problem...

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Hi Sue, am not a big fan of non-stick cookware either... if cast iron worked, best to go back to it I guess... somehow this particular appam pan works for me... it does take first appam or two before it consistently gives good results. Sorry that isn't much help, I guess...


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