|Soft Fluffy Idiyappam|
When we were in Trivandrum, our house was a main stopping point for all the relatives going to and fro to the gulf states. We heard of many wacky stories about gulf returnees and how they were treated on their arrival by their relatives and how they fare when they depart from India. One famous narration goes this way: One fellow comes from gulf on leave. A passerby asks a person from the recieving group : Dosaiyaano, aapamaano, idiyappamaano? (Is he a Dosai or an Aappam or an Idiyaappam), the man naturally asks what do you mean? The reply comes pat: Well Dosai means to get cooked two ways so he has come with a return ticket, Aappam is cooked only on one side, so he has come witha one way ticket and returning may be delayed, idiyappam making involves a long and complicated process so his visa has complications and his job is in trouble. So whats his case?
Hmm. Trust malayalees to see the humour in any situation. Well, you must be thinking why I told this anectode. The fact is in my opinion, Idiyappam was an easy to prepare dish, so how come it is considered to be a lengthy process? Then only I came to know that there were two methods of making idiyappam. With roasted rice flour and other with rice batter.
The method most followed in my family is with roasted rice flour. We used to prepare the flour regularly at home in thiruvananthapuram, infact there is a huge iron kadai and a big wooden spatula just for that purpose, but now it is in storage as no one uses it anymore.
In UAE, we had enough relatives coming and going to bring us a supply of homemade idiayappam maavu, prepared by my Maami (MIL). Here we have to rely on store bought flour, they are quite good, but I somehow felt that my maami made better idiyappam flour, I guess thats a psychological thing.
For three persons, you need:
2 cups Idiyappam flour
Boiling water a required
salt to taste
Put the roasted rice flour in a wide bottommed vessel with a stable bottom. Stir in the salt well. POur in the boiling water little by little stirring with the back of a ladle till the dough comes together. The correct consistency (padham) is that the dough should not stick when you press with a wet finger. Oil the idiyappam press and plates. Press through the mould onto the plates and steam in a steamer. I use the standard idli plate and steamer for this. Steam for a maximum of eight to ten mins. Keep in a warm covered vessel or an insulated caserole. Serve with any stew, Mutton Curry, Chicken curry, Maasi Kuzhambu , coconut chutney, vegetable curries or for sweet lovers with fresh coconut milk flavoured with caromoms and sweetened with sugar. or with sugar coconut & banana.
It can also be made into lemon idiyappam, Tamarind idiyappam etc.. like the different varieties of mixed rice. I will post the recipes for those as time permits.
Idiyappam is an easily digested food and as you can see very versatile. You can have idiyappam daily for weeks with different flavours on each day. Also since the flour can be kept in stock, it is a tiffin which can be made for unexpected guests.