I first came across this dish in one food festival organised in Vileparle, Mumbai. This is one south Indian preparation popularly known as Appam has become popular in Kolhapur district which shares lot of its border and cultural similarities with the neighbouring parts of Karnataka.
Then I tasted Palakkad Iyer preparation of Appams in its own heartland ie Palakkad district in Kerala. The soft inside and slighly crispy on the outside Appams made me fall in love this dish. While Appe are not available in the restaurants and eateries at least here in my home district of Ratnagiri, it seems that Appe patra, the special pans made of pig iron, are available in almost all of the utensil shops in the town of Ratnagiri. It looks like people from Belgaum and Kolhapur who can found in large numbers here in the town must have made this particular item, high in demand.
For us, my wife and me, we have to go through some old time recipe books and give it a try ourselves while we have nobody around to guide us with their own mothers' recipes.
This is one recipe which we have copied from Mrs. Kamalabai Ogale's famous Marathi book Ruchira Part I.
Well we missed on some of the ingredients but then that's the beauty of the Indian cooking where you can just manage it somehow by trying to balance here and there.
Our result can be seen in the following picture.
Chana dal- 2 cups
Rice- Half cup
Poha- Half cup
Dried coconuts (Copra)/ Desiccated coconut- Half cup
Onion finely chopped- 1 cup
Green chillies- 5
Coriander finely chopped- Quarter cup
Curry leaves- 5-6
Salt- to taste
Butter milk- Half cup
Oil- for shallow frying in the Aappe pan
Baking soda- one pinch
Sugar- Two teaspoons (Optional)
Ginger finely chopped- 2 Teaspoons
Cashewnuts/ groundnuts- roasted (Optional)
1. Soak chana dal and rice in water in one single bowl. Soak poha in separate bowl. Soaking time 10 hours.
2. Grind soaked chana dal and rice coarsely in a mixer.
3. Coarsely grind green chilies and curry leaves. Add this to the freshly ground dal and rice mixure. Add coriander, copra/ desiccated coconut, cashewnuts/ groundnuts, onions, ginger, soaked poha, butter milk, baking soda, sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly.
4. Preheat Aappe pan. Grease the Aappe pan bowls with about half teaspoonful of oil everytime you fill in the mixture. Fill in the mixture to the half of the individual bowls of the pan. Cover the pan and keep it on the lower flame. After about 3-5 minutes flip Appe on the other side. Once these are reddish on both the sides remove it.
This makes approximately 50 appe.
Well now our son is after his mom to make them again. The food is tempting, comforting and still healthy.