Nei Appam ( Spongy soft balls made from rice and jaggery fried in ghee)
Festivals have been an integral part of our lives and they usher in so much of redundant goodness and positive vibrations. Every festival has its own significance and I try to capture as much as I can with what I have lived with, in my childhood. It`s more an effort to showcase to my daughter all the traditions that I had grown up with, although in many cases it can never be the same. It`s always better with a grandmother in the household, leading the way for all of us to learn. I do miss the fact that my daughter is not growing up in a joint family, with elders to guide and grow with….
Nei Appam is a staple “neivedhyam” for karthikai deepam, avani avittam, Krishna Jayanthi etc. I remember the lovely heavy bronze Appakaral that Madurai amma had with its huge curvy depressions. I have an Appa Karal thats made of non stick and very shallow depressions. I do miss the heaviness and the beauty of the bronze one I am used to.
1/2 cup of Rice soaked for 3-4 hours.
A little less than 1/2 cup of Jaggery. (I don`t prefer the dripping with sweetness taste)
1/2 a ripe banana.
1 Tsp Wheat flour.
A pinch of baking soda.
1 tsp cardamom seeds powdered.
1/4 cup of finely chopped coconut pieces.
- Clean the soaked rice and put in to a mixer jar. Pulse it to grind to a smooth paste adding little water .
- Crush the ripe banana with a fork. Grate the jaggery with a peeler or knife. Set aside.
- Now add the ripe banana and the grated jaggery and pulse it once again to mix it well. The jaggery pours out more water in to the mixture.
- It is always better to watch the water added as we dont want the batter too runny.
- Pour out the batter in to a vessel and add the chopped coconut pieces. Stir well.
- In the Appa Karal add a few spoons of ghee and allow to heat.
- Pour out the batter in to the depressions and allow to cook well on one side.
- Now flip it over with a knife or a skewer and allow the other side to cook in the ghee.
- When done, it would look a little crusty on the outside.
- Remove and allow the ghee to drain on a tissue.
- Keep closed.
- The Nei Appam should be a littl crusty on the outside but soft and spongy on the inside, with the aromas of the cardamom, ripe banana and fried coconut pieces.
- Offer to the Lord and ENJOY!
Retried the recipe today and I added 1 spoon of wheat flour and a pinch of baking soda to the ground batter.The results was an astonishingly crunchy crust with a very soft spongy inner layer!!!