Appam and Vegetable Stew

So, I’ve been yammering on and on about appams, thin, lacy, rice and coconut pancakes, for a few weeks now. Via Twitter, I’ve learned that they are available in Singapore at Gayathri, Spice Junction, and a stall in Tekka Market.

But, as I wrote the other day, nothing in the world is better than my mother-in-law’s appams. Well, she’s visiting us, and the other afternoon, I invited dear friends Flora and Singapore Noodle over for some proper tea, appams, and vegetable stew, all lovingly prepared by my mother-in-law, of course. Here are her recipes:


3/4 cup long grain rice, soaked overnight
1/4 cup parboiled rice, soaked overnight
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1. Drain and wash rices. In a blender, combine long grain rice, salt, sugar, and 1/2 cup coconut to form a thick batter, adding water if necessary. Add yeast, blend again, and set aside.
2. Separately, blend parboiled rice and 1/2 cup coconut to form a thick batter.
3. Thoroughly combine both batters in a blender. The final mixture should be almost pancake-like, thick but pourable.
4. Pour into a deep bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until the batter has doubled and smells pleasantly sour, at least four hours.
5. Over medium heat, pour one ladleful of batter into an appachatti pan. (Ed: Mine is from India but I’m positive you can find one at Mustafa Centre.) Swirl as seen in this YouTube video. (Ed: It’s really hard to describe this action in words. Just watch.)
6. Cover and cook over moderate heat on 1 side only until well browned on the bottom and dry on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Eat immediately.

Makes 12-14 appams.

Vegetable Stew

3 medium-sized potatoes, quartered
1/4 medium sized onion, cut into chunks
1 inch ginger, julienned
1 green chili, slit open lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
1/4 cup thick coconut milk*
1 cup thin coconut milk**

1. Over medium-high heat, combine, potatoes, onion, ginger, chili, salt, and thin coconut milk. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
2. Turn flame to medium-low. Add black pepper. Top with thick coconut milk. Simmer for five minutes and serve.

* To extract thick coconut milk: in a blender, grind 1/4 of the meat of one coconut with 1/2 cup of warm water. Strain. Set aside
** To extract thin coconut milk: grind the same meat with 1 cup of warm water. Strain.

Serves 3-4.

8 responses

  1. I was just about to email you to ask when you’d post this!

    Thanks so much to you and your MIL for the really great afternoon. She set the bar pretty high, so mine and any other appams I try will probably pale in comparison. I will try this recipe and see how it goes though!

  2. Where was my invite??!! You can get appams at Ghim Moh Hawker Center, from the same store that sells puttu mayams. I like them with coconut sugar. :)

  3. @bookjunkie, orange sugar? Traditionally, appams can also be served with coconut milk and sugar (or chicken curry or egg curry or an over-easy egg). I’ve never heard of “orange sugar.” Intrigued.

  4. I think it’s probably a very Singaporean/Malaysian thing. We also have string hoppers with coconut and orange sugar as a breakfast item. Must be our sweet tooth. I, for one, have a super sweet tooth that’s always my downfall when I attempt to diet ;-).

  5. I wake up at 3am every night right now, and now all I want is a delicious appam snack!!! Nom, nom, nom. Might have to do South Indian food tomorrow…