My First Daring Cooks Challenge Aug. '11 - Appam & Chicken Stew
This month I enrolled into the The Daring Kitchen community and got my approvals for the Daring Cooks. I'm all excited to be a part of this wonderful food bloggers community where every month is a new cooking challenge at hand. An opportunity to try something new.....something I may have done before and more often than not ....not done before !!
The Daring Cooks Challenge for the month of August was Appams with an accompaniment. This wonderful Challenge was hosted by Mary of Mary Mary Culinary . I made Appams with Chicken Stew.
Though this may not be my 1st official challenge but I was excited and determined to do this all the same. For those of you who know me, will know my love for Appams. So how could I not participate in this challenge?
Though my submission is a little late as I became a part of this community on the day the challenge ended, however, I still had some time at hand to submit the post, so I went ahead with it.
I'm not new to Appams and they are not new to me. I make them often (for the love of South Indian Cuisine and being married to a South Indian)
Appams, also known as Hoppers or Appa in Sinhala (National Language of Sri Lanka) are a traditional rice flour pancake dish from Kerala and is also found in Sri Lanka where they call it hoppers or appa.
They are cooked in a special type of skillet or pan which looks like a small wok, though it is shallower, and is called an Appachatti (Appa meaning Appams and Chatti meaning pan in which you cook appams). Tradionally, it is an iron wok, though one can easily find the non stick versions as well.
Nowadays we use some cooked rice and dry yeast for fermenting the appam batter, however traditionally Toddy is used to ferment the batter instead of yeast. (Toddy is the sap taken from the inflorescence of the palm or coconut trees).
In Kerala one still may find places where Appam batter is fermented with Toddy.
Besides the plain appams, there is also the Egg Appam where you break an egg on the appam while it is being cooked or the Milk Appam where you pour a little coconut milk on the appam while it is cooking and cover and let it cook through.
Dear Mary thank you for hosting such a wonderful challenge, I loved every bit of it. This is my take on Appams. I've made both plain as well as egg appams here.
Appams with Chicken Stew
1 ½ cups (300g) Raw Rice (the uncooked regular rice we eat)
1 ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 tsps Sugar
½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
1 ½ tbsps Cooked Rice (I used almost half a cup of boiled rice)
½ tsp Salt
About ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (I use half a cup of freshly grated coconut instead)
Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight as well.
Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture and coconut to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
I have also made a variant of the plain appam called the Egg Appam. Once you swirl the batter in the skillet, break and egg and cover and let it cook. once done, season with salt and paprika powder and serve.
Make another, and another...
I have found that the leftover batter can be refrigerated for 2-5 days if kept in an air tight container.
The Chicken Stew
200 ml Thick Coconut Milk (I used Dabur Coconut Milk)
Boneless Chicken 250 g
1 Medium size Potato (chopped into medium size pieces)
1 Carrot (chopped into 1 cm cubes)
1 Large Onion (chopped into small pieces)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
1" piece Ginger (finely chopped)
2 Green Chillies Chopped
4-5 Curry Leaves roughly torn
1 sprig Curry Leaves for Garnish
2 Green Cardamoms
1" Stick Cinnamon
2 tbsp Oil
3/4 cup Water
Heat Oil in a pressure cooker. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a deep pan, and follow the same steps, only the chicken cooking time will increase a little).
All the dry spices (cloves, cardamom and cinnamon). Saute` till they leave a mild aroma. At this point add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute` again till garlic turns a light golden in colour.
Now add the onions and sweat them a little. Add the carrots and potatoes and saute`. Now add the chicken and saute` till the chicken changes colour (for about 2 minutes). Add salt to taste and a little paprika powder.
Add water. (The water should just be enough to cover the chicken). Pressure cook for about 10 minutes or till you hear 3-4 whistles. Turn the gas off.
Once the cooker cools a bit, open it, add the coconut milk. mix well. Turn the gas on and let it simmer for about 10 minutes (till the coconut milk flavour seeps into the chicken and vegetables).
Garnish with Curry Leaves and Serve Hot with Appams.
Chicken Stew also goes very well with steamed bread, rice, or parantha.