Unniappam or Neyiappam or Appam are small, sweet fried doughballs. I loved these little goodies while growing up when my mom would make them, but I’d never tried making them until recently. While I’m tempted to call them Indian Style beignets (to give a point of reference to those who are not familiar with appams), the two don’t bear any resemblance, except they’re both fried dough. Now, unniappam is a variation of Neyiappam. The first time I made neyiappam I read a lot of recipes and decided to use a combination, primarily Ammupatti’s recipe here, and my mom’s recipe (both use raw rice – that requires a lot more planning). The appams came out quite well, although they tended to harden when they cooled. So, this past weekend, I wanted to make unniappams. Unniappams are neyiappams with mashed bananas added to the batter. Now, I DO NOT like bananas, so I decided to tinker (as usual) with the recipe. This time I also had my mom to help me, so I was quite sure the results would be good! And, boy, was I right.. :-) So, here goes.
What you need
- 2 Cups of rice flour
- 2 Cups of jaggery
- 1/4 Cup of water
- 1/4 Cup of coconut or dried coconut pieces
- 1 Cup of usweetened applesauce
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/4 Cup of light coconut milk (optional)
- 1/2 a Cup of oil/ ghee/ melted butter/ PAM Butter spray
- Nonstick Appam pan or nonstick Ebelskiver pan
How its done
- Add the jaggery and water to a saucepan and let come to a boil. Let it cook till it thickens to a sticky, elastic threadlike consistency, i.e., when you drop it from a spoon the drop retracts, like a yoyo. Let this cool.
- Mix in the rice flour in batches till it is completely mixed and there are no lumps. Add the applesauce and baking soda and mix. If the batter is so thick that it is not pourable, add the coconut milk. Let this batter rest for at least 1/2 an hour, or more.
- Heat the appam pan or eblskiver pan on medium heat. These pans have little half circle inserts that lend to the round appams. Add or spray oil or ghee in each insert and pour the batter in. Do not fill to the top of the insert- leave about 5% space as the balls puff up when the batter cooks. Cover with a lid. Check in a few minutes and if you see edges browning, and little airholes popping up, it is time to turn the appams. Use a skewer or the tip of a paring knife to flip. Cook on the other side for a couple of minutes.
- Repeat until you’ve used up the batter.
These unniappams are soft, fluffy and very light. Jaggery gives it a richness and depth of flavor that is unique, and that is why I like Indian sweets that use jaggery. These will go away very quickly, but should keep refrigerated for a week. I’m sending this recipe to Nupur’s Blog Bites – Copycat Edition.