In a typical household in India, mornings are incomplete without a cup of steaming hot tea/coffee and a hearty home-cooked breakfast. And rightfully so, since breakfast is undeniably the most important meal of the day, that provides ample energy to carry out day-to-day tasks at home and work, besides elevating brain power and lowering the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s.
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Thanks to the diverse regional culinary fare across the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, there exist umpteen timeless desi dishes that confer excellent nutrition and good health to one and all in the family. Popular breakfast items from India include paratha, idli, thepla, upma, dosa, poha, poori and many more. One such classic Indian breakfast food is Appam, originating from the beautiful South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
What Is Appam?
Appams are basically steamed hoppers – bowl-shaped pancakes, prepared from fermented rice and coconut milk that are laden with beneficial components of probiotics, carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, to guarantee all-round wellbeing. A staple breakfast dish in Kerala and Tamil Nadu besides the neighbouring island nation of Sri Lanka, appam has its inceptions thousands of years ago, being mentioned in ancient Tamil literature.
Also referred to as hoppers or pancakes in English, appam is a rather tasty dish that bears a fine crispy texture on the sides with a soft, slightly thicker, delicate centre and has truly stood the test of time. It continues to be relished for breakfast even today, with enticing side dishes from the local cuisine of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Customary accompaniments for appam consist of Thenga Paal – sweetened coconut milk, Kurma – mixed vegetable stew, Kadala Curry – chickpea gravy, Paaya – spicy meat curry and Chutney made from onion, tomato, coconut, coriander leaves.
So go ahead, whip up these delectable appams and serve a nutritious breakfast to every member of the family.
Simple And Nourishing Appam Recipe:
2 cups raw white rice
1 cup parboiled rice/idli rice
3 tbsp cooked rice
1 cup thick coconut milk
½ tsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Water, as needed
Coconut oil or sesame oil for cooking, as required
Wash the raw white rice and parboiled rice thoroughly and soak them in sufficient water separately for 4 – 5 hours.
Pour out the excess water, transfer the soaked white rice, parboiled rice to a grinder along with cooked rice, coconut milk, dry yeast, salt and sugar.
Add some water and blend the components to obtain a slick homogenous batter.
Store the appam batter in a large vessel, covering it with a lid and allow it to ferment overnight for 8 – 12 hours.
The next morning, once the batter has risen well and has a larger volume, heat a curved kadai/appam pan on medium flame.
Spread a little bit of coconut oil or sesame oil on the surface, evenly layer out a ladle full of batter and tilt the kadai/pan around holding the handles so as to form a nicely rounded shape.
Cook for 2 minutes, covering the kadai/pan with a lid, until the base turns a subtle golden-brown.
Serve the appams with sweetened coconut milk, flavourful vegetable stew or zesty chutney of your choice and savour a salubrious breakfast.
Although an easy recipe, appam is a nutrient-dense dish that delivers fantastic health benefits. Rice is a rich source of carbohydrates for energy metabolism, while also supplying proteins for strong muscles. Appam batter being a fermentation product offers useful probiotics for balancing gut flora and promoting digestion. Coconut milk is imbued with healthy fats, dietary fibres, while containing zero cholesterol, for regulating appetite and heart wellness.
Health Benefits Of Appam:
Healthy Breakfast Dish
Appam is primarily made with fermented rice and coconut milk, which are wholesome, natural, unadulterated ingredients prepared entirely at home. Moreover, it is bestowed with profuse amounts of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins – the three vital macronutrients that are the building blocks of the human body, which boost energy, stamina, productivity and ensure optimal functioning of all organs in the system.
Completely Vegan Meal
Prepared without any dairy ingredients like cow’s milk, curd, ghee, butter, malai/cream and using only coconut milk, appam is a fully vegan dish. Composed entirely out of plant-based components, appam is ideal for individuals suffering from lactose intolerance and is a perfect nourishing breakfast for people adopting a vegan diet.
Provides Vitamins And Minerals
Both rice and coconut milk comprise copious quantities of calcium, magnesium as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3. These key nutrients fortify bones and joints, avert debilitating illnesses like arthritis, osteoporosis and also facilitate normal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats to uplift the absorption of nutrients by the cells, tissues in the body. Moreover, coconut milk provides vitamin C, E for better immunity against diseases and protective antioxidant activity.
Supports Weight Loss
Appams supply a moderate amount of calories which bolster energy levels and endurance, while being a light breakfast and not leading to unhealthy weight gain. Blessed with the goodness of crucial essential nutrients of proteins, fibres, appam satiates appetite in the mornings, controls untimely cravings and helps in maintaining healthy body weight.
Appam is a traditional South Indian breakfast made wholly from the cereal crop – rice – in the fermented form and coconut milk and hence does not contain wheat – another staple cereal grain in Indian cooking. It is hence suitable for persons with gluten intolerance – a condition known as celiac disease and serves as a nutritious, tasty breakfast.