Tomato Aapam (Rice & Tomato Pancake)

I belong to a Facebook group called Recipes of Palakkad (ROP). Members post images of the food that is cooked everyday in their homes. Most of the time, they are tried and tested recipes from the Palakkad region. However, there are several unusual and interesting recipes from various parts of the country and the world. This recipe was inspired by a member of ROP, Kannan Sankaran, who had posted a recipe for tomato dosa. I therefore ventured to modify the classic and bland vellaapam (aapam) into a slightly spicy tomato aapam. The end result was a complete success!

2 cups red or brown rice
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
1/4 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 cups water to grind the rice
2 tbsp raisin paste
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 dried red chilli (adjust according to spice level or avoid altogether)
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam)
4 cloves garlic
Wash and soak the rice with fenugreek seeds for about 4 hours
Drain the water and transfer to a blender
Add the cooked rice, grated coconut and water
Grind to a smooth batter
Cover the batter and set aside in a warm place for about 8 hours
The batter will ferment and double in volume
This batter can be refrigerated for 3 days
Transfer the chopped tomatoes, garlic, cumin seeds, dried red chilli and asafoetida to a blender
Grind to a smooth paste, sprinkling a little water if necessary
Set aside
To make the aapam, transfer the required amount of batter to a vessel
Add baking soda, salt and raisin paste
Add the ground paste and mix well
The batter should be a thin, runny consistency
Heat an aapam kadai (girdle)
Ladle some batter into the centre of the kadai
Lift the kadai from the flame and swirl it so that the batter is spread all over the kadai
You should get a round aapam, thick at the centre and thin at the edges
Place the kadai back on the flame, cover with a lid and cook for about 40-50 seconds
Aapam is ready (no need to flip over)
Use a spatula to remove the aapam from the kadai
Serve with ishtew (see blog for recipe) or kurma

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