Friday, 23 September 2011



Ingredients: (for 10 people)
1)    Aged raw rice – 2 kg.
2)    Fresh toddy (coconut palm liquor) – 200 ml.
3)    Fresh coconut – ½
4)     Salt – 2 teaspoons

To prepare the batter:
Wash and soak the rice for 2 hours. Drain and spread on a thick cotton cloth for an hour to absorb the excess water. Pound the rice little by little in the traditional mortar and pestle (large wooden mortar around 75 cm. tall and a long pestle around 150 cm. tall and around 8 cm (3 inches) thick). You can also use the granite base portion of the ammi or hand operated round wet grinder, but the pestle has to be made of wood.
As you pound, take out the rice powder and sieve. Set aside the fine powder, but return the coarser grains along with a few handfuls of the soaked rice to pound again. Continue with this process (it may take an hour or two) until only a handful or two of coarse powder remains.
Put a small pan on the stove. Pour in 300 ml. of water. When the water boils, throw in the coarse rice powder and cook, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken into a porridge like consistency. Switch off the heat and put the pan in a large flat basin containing cold water. Stir until the porridge cools down. Set aside and allow to cool a little more. Scrape the fresh coconut and collect the coconut milk (the process of making coconut milk is given in the valval recipe).
Put the rice powder, the rice porridge, the coconut milk, the toddy and the salt in a 10 litre vessel. Now wash your hands and start mixing the batter well using only your hand and fingers. If you use a ladle, you will not get the desired result. Pour in small quantities of water with the other hand as you mix the batter till it reaches the consistency of pancake batter. Set aside for the batter to rise. This usually takes around 3 to 4 hours. When the batter is risen, start to cook.

To Cook:
The cooking method is fully described in my Vellappam or Palappam recipe. Traditionally, only the cast iron appachatty with a cast iron lid is used for cooking on a wood burning stove. Coconut husk is used as fuel and hot coals are put on the lid to cook the vellappam’s thick center because a larger ladle is used for scooping up the batter. Needless to say, these traditionally prepared vellappams, even though quite obsolete in modern times, do taste infinitely better than today’s delicious vellappams or palappams.
Bon app├ętit!!!

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