“At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind” says Michael Pollan in one of his interviews that I came across. This thing stuck in my head since I read it and resonated with me a lot. Have you ever walked into a old renowned restaurant and ate something simply because of the reputation or a story linked to that place or food; Yes ! I take the liberty in saying we all have done it at one point or the other. This dish takes me back into my childhood memories and stands for the kind of cook I have become. I like tradition and classics but I want something easy and that is why I like food like this which does not make me slog in the kitchen for hours. Instant Rava Appe was my answer to those moments when am craving a bit of my village in Mangalore but with a working woman’s twist applied to it. Appe or Paniyaram (as they are called in some other states of Souther India) are almost always spherical in shape and very similar to Danish snacks called Æbleskiver. These instant appe or paniyaram are made without yeast and require no fermentation.
Appe are traditionally made from leftover batter of Idli (steamed rice cakes) in our house during Christmas and thus it became a tradition to make them for breakfast on Christmas day. This is one of my favourite food memory of my childhood with my grandma Angeline. I have never seen a more stronger woman than her in my Life , she took care of 8 kids of her own and then Me and was also a hard-working farmer. I used to take morning breakfast and evening snacks for workers in the rice paddy fields upon her strict instructions. She also taught me the local language so I could converse with them fluently. She ignited the love for languages in me and today I know 8 languages and a big credit goes to her. She used to cook for around 10 family members and the workers so cooking on a large scale was a normal affair in the house. Every day felt like a carnival to me. Juggling spices and mixing flavours all the time, she was a ‘Sorceress’ of sorts for me who would transform everyday into extraordinary for me. I have been trying to save all her recipes because she is an amazing cook but notorious when it comes to giving me exact directions or measurements (that is where my Mum comes in to help me out).
Appe can be made in the same pan as Æbleskiver if you don’t find a traditional one in UK or Europe. The traditional pan is called Paniyaram pan if you want to look for it online. I got cast iron Æbleskiver pan from Amazon and that does the job really well but I do have a traditional non-stick one from India too. Having two of these pans makes it quicker to rolling out more of these. I made Appe using semolina as this is an instant alternative to fermented rice batter used in the traditional recipe. It takes 24 hours off the waiting time and you can enjoy them in less than an hour.
I made traditional Coconut chutney (Dad’s recipe) and Tomato chutney (given by a friend) to serve along side Appe. We usually have them for breakfast and sometimes for lunch too. They are quite filling and meant to be like a dense cake rather than gooey.Print
Semolina balls pan fried with spices and served alongwith 2 types of chutney
- 1 cup rava / semi-coarse semolina
- ¾ cup yoghurt
- salt to taste
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 1 green chilli finely chopped
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 5 curry leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
- ¼ tsp baking soda
For Tomato Chutney
- 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp urad dal
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp chana dal
- ½ tsp methi seeds / fenugreek seeds
- 4 kashmiri dried red chilli
- ½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
For Coconut Chutney
- 3/4 th cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
- 1 small onion (or ½ a medium sized one) chopped
- 1 ½ inch piece ginger chopped
- 2 green chillies (deseeded if you prefer less hot)
- 1 small piece (1/4 tsp) of tamarind (optional)
- 3–4 curry leaves (optional)
- salt to taste
For tempering both chutney (*See notes)
- 2 tsp oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- pinch of hing /asafoetida
- 2 small garlic pods, bashed with skin on
- 5–6 curry leaves (optional)
For Appe –
- In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup semolina, ¾ cup yoghurt and ½ tsp salt. Mix well to form a paste without any lumps.
- Add ½ cup water or as required and mix to form thick batter. Keep aside.
- In a frying pan heat 2 tsp oil and saute the ginger, chilli and onion. Saute for a minute or till onions lose their rawness.
- Transfer the roasted onions into prepared semolina batter.
- Add 5 curry leaves, 2 tbsp coriander leaves and combine the batter well.
- You can rest the batter for 10-15 minutes or until rava absorbs water.
- Add a pinch baking soda just before preparing frying Appe and combine well.
- Heat the Aebleskiver pan / Paniyaram pan/ Appe pan, add add few drops of oil inside each cavity.
- Pour a tbsp of batter in each cavity.
- Cover and simmer for a minute or until Appe gets cooked slightly.
- Once the base turns golden, flip it over to the other side using a spoon or pointed knife (toothpick will do the job as well)
- Simmer further and cook on low heat until it turns golden browns.
- Ready to be served with tomato chutney or coconut chutney.
For Tomato chutney –
- Heat some oil in a large pan and add urad dal, chana dal, fenugreek seeds and red chilli.
- Saute them on medium flame till dal turns golden brown.
- Next, add the roughly chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute
- Add chopped tomatoes and continue to saute till all the water has evaporated and the sauce has reduced in quantity.
- At this stage add add turmeric powder, sugar and salt and cook for further 1-2 minute.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely and then transfer to a small blender and blend it to a smooth paste without adding any water.
- Tempering the chutney – Heat oil in a small pan and pop mustard seeds, once the popping sound has reduced add the bashed pods of garlic and fry well till golden (trust me crispy fried garlic tastes heavenly). Add curry leaves at the very end (take care as this will cause some spluttering)
- Pour the tempering over tomato chutney.
- Ready to be served with rice, idli, dosa or appe.
For Coconut chutney –
- Grind all the ingredients with very little water to yield a thick coarse paste (don’t grind it too fine). Transfer into a bowl & serve.
Tips & Notes
- Cups – 1 cup = 250ml and whichever cup you decide to use , keep it the same cup for the entire recipe to achieve consistency of ingredients although most of this recipe is highly adaptable to your taste.
- Mustard seeds – Use black mustard seeds and not yellow as the yellow variety can be too pungent for this style of chutney. Black mustard seeds can be found in most supermarkets these days or in continental store.
- Tempering tip – I doubled the quantity of tempering than what is mentioned in here and divided between two types of chutney and that way I didn’t have to make it twice or separately.
- But if you plan to make only one of the chutney then you can use the amount of ingredients mentioned here as it is measured for one chutney only.
Keywords: instant rava appe