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Indian dessert pancake
Makes 10-15 (Serves 4)
250g/10oz basmati rice
125g/5oz fresh grated or desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
oil for cooking
Wash the rice in cold water then soak in 500ml water for 1 hour. After soaking, drain the rice but retain a cup of water for grinding. Place the rice in a pestle and mortar along with the cup of water and the coconut and grind to a fine consistency. Set aside. Place 25ml of lukewarm water in a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in it and add the yeast. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside until required. Place the semolina in a saucepan with 150ml water. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, approx 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place the ground rice, yeast mixture and cooked semolina in a large bowl. Stir well and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to ferment for at least four hours, until the mixture has doubled in volume and is slightly bubbly. (In cold weather it may take longer for the mixture to ferment well.) Mix well without knocking the air out and add the salt. The appam is traditionally cooked in a chatti (a small wok with a lid). You can also cook the appam in a large non-stick pan, though it must have a lid. To cook the appam, heat some oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add a ladleful of the mixture and spread thinly over the base of the pan (just like cooking traditional pancakes). Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Once the pancake is cooked it will have a golden crispy base and a soft top. Remove the pancake from the pan with a small spatula and repeat the process until all the mixture is used.