Idiyappam Recipe - Soft, Buttery

Buttery, Soft Idiyappam (String Hoppers) or Noolputtu

Yesterday I was writing an article for an epicure magazine. I actually wrote these lines - the search for the perfect recipe or ingredient is never ending. This idiyappam recipe is something like that. After years of research i learnt that the amount of rice flour should be equal to the amount of water, i.e. when measuring 1 cup flour use 1 cup salted water. However this took a twist when using certain brands of rice flour. The flour wouldn't absorb the 1 cup water or sometimes the 1 cup water wouldn't be adequate to collect all the flour into a dough and then I will end up in a soup (like the kolaveri soup story, especially if it is in the morning :-] ). Then I have to think about some other recipe to use up the watery or dry dough. Later i learnt that you should add water as the flour absorbs the liquid and stir the mix then and there. Then comes the butter story. When I visited my aunt i saw her pouring a lot of coconut oil into the idiyappam dough. She said it gives a soft texture. It was true. When we had the idiyappam later, it was just melting in the mouth. However, i am not a fan of coconut oil so i first used ghee and then i thought a saturated fat would be more apt. So I tried using butter and the string hoppers were as good as the aunt made ones even with just 1/2 tsp butter.

ingredients for the string hoppers

rice flour - 2 cups
water - 2 1/4 cups*
butter - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1/3 tsp or as needed
grated coconut - 1/4 of a coconut (optional)

* Use the same cup to measure rice flour and water. The 1/4 cup water is only a reserve. Use it only if required. Because once you mix the dough and then feel that it is too dry and try to add water, the idiyappam will not turn out good.That is why the reserve.


Place the rice flour in a wide bowl. Boil the water with salt. Once boiled, pour it into the flour continuously but slowly in a circular motion. This will give time for the flour to absorb and you will have time to stir the flour (use a spoon) and water mix. When you have used up almost 2 cup water check whether the flour has absorbed all the water or if the dough requires more water. Add the remaining water and mix well if need be. At this point the dough will be hot. Place the butter at the back of the spoon and roughly spread it on the dough and give a quick mix. Let the dough cool. When it is cold enough for your hands to handle knead it into a smooth dough. 

Prepare idli moulds by placing a teaspoon of grated coconut. Press the dough over the coconut to form idiyappams. Steam it for 10 - 15 minutes. If you have banana leaf, cut it into small squares and press the idiyappams over it and steam it. The banana leaves give an aromatic floavour to idiyappam.

Serve the idiyappam warm with vegetable stew or beef stew or masala curry (Kadala or black garbanzo bean) or with vegetable kurma or mughlai chicken. There are actually unlimited combinations for string hoppers.



Owh they are so soft! Love idiyappams :)
Hamaree Rasoi said…
Delicious looking cucina.
Neela Rufus said…
Love your blog!!! i love idiyappam...i'm following you.You can visit my blog when you find time :)
Neela Rufus said…
Love your blog :) I'm following you. You can visit my blog when you find time.
Anonymous said…
Hi.. May i use margarine instead of butter?? If can, this will be my first attempt to make idiyappam by myself... ;)
Roshan said…
hi there (anonymous),

margarine is ok for the texture...but i dont know how it will taste after the idiyappam is steamed.... you can substitute the butter with ghee or any oil which doesnt have a strong flavour - like vegetable oil or canola oil...
VaNdU said…
hiii..i followed your tips..and the idiyappm came out really soft and tasty...though iam making it for the first time...thnxx.:)
Nishat said…
Thanks a lot for the tip about the butter! My idiappams have never been so soft before.
It also helped to make the time required to squeeze the idiappams onto the steam plates mush shorter.
Again, ....thanks!
Chowringhee said…

Wonderful Recipe. Pretty much ideal .. Thanks for sharing...
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