Nei Appam

Kartik Purnima, the preceding and succeeding days are celebrated as Karthigai Deepam by South Indians. A version of Raksha Bandhan. Sisters light diyas (much akin to Diwali) for the well-being of their brothers. Goodies include ladoos made of puffed rice, adai (dal crepes) with a generous dose of black pepper and the very delicious ‘nei appam’. Nei means ghee and appam is a dumpling. These are deep-fried in the appe pan. I made my own (my sisters are far away) with not a spot of grease or dairy. Absolutely lip-smacking. All credit to Hari. 

Nei Appam

To make these delicious rice cakes, you will need a special vessel called Appa Karal in Thamizh. People from other states refer to this as an appam pan. This vessel is versatile and can be used to make a variety of dishes that are shaped like dumplings. The picture below shows a pan with three indentations. But you can get this with 5 or 7 indentations or even larger. But it must be a heavy piece made of brass or cast iron as it will go into the oven. Though I have never tried it, I suppose you can also use a cup cake tray if you do not have an appa karol readily available.

Appa Karal

1 cup rice flour
1 ripe banana
2 cups date paste (use more if you want it sweeter)
6 green cardamoms, powdered
2 tbsp bite sized coconut pieces
1 tsp nut butter (any, mainly to grease the appam pan)
1/2 cup water
A pinch of salt
Mash the banana and place it in a bowl
Add all other ingredients (except the nut butter)
Mix well to form a thick batter (the consistency of idli batter)
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes
Apply nut butter to the appam pan
Ladle the batter into the ‘indentations’ in the appam pan
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or till soft (toothpick test)
Remove from appam pan using a fork (it will come off easily)
Serve hot

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