Sunday 26 March 2017

Kalyana Appam (கல்யாண அப்பம்)

As the name implies, kalyana appam (கல்யாண அப்பம்) is generally prepared for weddings and religious festivals. The consistency and taste of kalyana appam differs from that of wheat appam. Traditional method of making this sweet is rather elaborate. However, the shortcut recipe I'm going to share with you works well for me. Once you get comfortable with making jaggery syrup, you will find this recipe easy. Let's proceed with the recipe. 

Raw rice flour – 1 teacup (100ml measure)
Jaggery – powdered, 1 teacup (100ml measure)
White sesame seeds/ thil – 3 teaspoons
Cardamom – 3 no (seeds removed and powdered)
Grated coconut – 1 tablespoon (optional)
Oil – for deep frying

Method: You may use rice flour available in stores or prepare it at home.

How to prepare rice flour at home: Wash and soak raw rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain fully and dry on a cloth in shade. Once dry, powder the rice using a dry grinder and pass through a sieve to get fine flour. Keep aside.

Heat jaggery with 25ml of water in a vessel till it dissolves. Pass through a filter to remove impurities, if any. Now heat the filtered syrup in a kadai on medium flame stirring continuously. First the syrup boils and thickens (Figure 1). At this stage, the syrup is sticky to touch. Soon the syrup reaches ‘string’ consistency – when you touch the syrup between thumb and index finger it stretches like a string. Now reduce the flame and continue to stir till the syrup reaches ‘soft ball consistency’ (உருட்டுப் பாகு). Switch off the stove. 
Figure 1: Making jaggery syrup
Figure 2: Soft ball consistency
How to check the consistency of jaggery syrup: Drop a little syrup in water. If it dissolves, the syrup is not ready. If it stays intact and you are able to roll the syrup into a soft ball, the syrup is ready (Figure 2).

Once the syrup is ready, add the rice flour slowly little by little, while mixing with the ladle. If the mixture is very thick after adding the entire quantity of rice flour, you may add water little by little till the batter is smooth and has pouring consistency. Now add thil, cardamom powder and grated coconut to the batter. Mix well. 

Heat oil in another kadai on medium flame, and once the oil is ready pour 1 small hollow ladleful of batter, by gently moving your wrist in a circular motion. Once the appam turns golden brown on one side, turn over and cook the other side till it is cooked uniformly on all sides. Remove the appam from oil and place it on tissue papers for excess oil to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, till you use up the whole batter. Allow the appam to cool and store in an airtight container. You can serve kalyana appam as a snack or part of a feast menu. 

Figure 3: Appam batter
Note: Appam will break up if the consistency of the jaggery syrup is too hard. Hence, be alert to remove the jaggery syrup from fire once it reaches the soft ball consistency.

Kalyana Appam (கல்யாண அப்பம் )
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