Paalappam / Velleppam / Lace Appam / Hoppers / Aappam
Preparing palappam is an art by itself. The lace like edges of this exotic rice wafer has earned it a name as 'lace appam'. Traditionally 'toddy or kallu' - a milk like liquid from the coconut tree was used to ferment the rice. In the modern recipe yeast is used to ferment the batter. The addition of coconut water gives a very soft, thin and wafery edge to the palappam. It is crispy outside and fluffy inside. While preparing the palappam a portion of the batter collects itself in the middle to give the fluffy part.
Palappam or hoppers can be prepared for breakfast or for special occasions. The accompaniments are usually spicy curries though this can be had with milk or coconut milk. Try it and you'll love it.
the following quantity yields 16 – 18 palappams
Raw rice – ¾ cup
Water – ½ cup ( + 2 tbsp if need be)
Coconut water – ¼ cup
Salt – ½ tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Yeast – 1 tsp
Cooked rice – ¼ cup
Coconut, grated – ½ cup
Soak the raw rice for about 5 hours. The quality of the rice has an effect on the outcome of the palappam. Choose sticky rice with a pure whitish color. In Kerala, we get a rice called ‘Mavu Rice’ which is very good for a perfect palappam or a dosa.Heat ¼ cup water alongwith sugar and salt. When the water starts to boil turn off heat and add the yeast. Let the yeast melt.In a mixer jar add the coconut, cooked rice and a little soaked rice and the yeasted water and grind it to a smooth paste. Pour into a bowl. Add the remaining rice and water to the mixer jar and grind it to a smooth paste. Pour the batter into the bowl and add the coconut water and mix well. Let the batter ferment for about 6-8 hours. The fermenting depends on the temperature. Place the batter in a warm place. After the batter is fermented check whether the batter is still thick but in a pouring consistency. Add the 2 tbsp water if need be.
preparing the hoppers
Heat an appachatti or a deep pan and pour a ladle full of batter. Lift the pan from the heat and swirl it. Cover it and cook for about 1 – 1½ minute or until the whitish colour disappears from the middle of the palappam / hoppers. Serve hot with vegetable stew, beef stew, chicken curry, vegetable kurma, egg curry , soya mince curry or just serve with sweetened milk or coconut milk.