Saturday, January 15, 2011

Appam/Apam/Apong - Penang pancakes

What is appam/apong?

From wikipedia:
Appam, Aappam (Tamil: அப்பம்,ஆப்பம், Template:Lang-sinhala, pronounced [apːam]), Paniyaram or hoppers, are a type of food in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lankan cuisine. It is called chitau(ଚିତାଉ)Pitha in Oriya, Paddu or Gulle Eriyappa in Kodava and Appam in Telugu. It is known as ආප්ප (Appa) in Sinhala. It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner.

Appum or aapum - pronunciation varies between regions - is a term equivalent to bread. A bread made of rice batter on a stone griddle is in certain parts of the country called kalappam, where kal (Tamil க‌ல்) means "stone". Another form of appam is "Kallappam", where "kall" (Tamil க‌ள்) means toddy, which is used for fermentation. This type of appam is prepared in an appa kal (mould). Kallappam looks like a pan cake.

The presence of Tamils in Malaysia has over the years led to the popularity of the apam. Apam is the term used for a steamed cup-cake sized dessert made from rice flour that is eatened with shredded fresh coconut. The string hopper (local name: putumayam) is also popular among Malaysians. Sold by street vendors on modified motorbikes, the string hoppers are eaten with grated palm sugar (gula Melaka) and shredded fresh coconut. Malaysian Indians tend to make their own and eat it with either curry or dhal dish.
(source: wikipedia)

In Penang, it is called Apom, Apong, Apam manis or Apong Balik.

Types of Appam

Apam or Apong is originally an Indian food from Tamil Nadu; in the old days only Indian Tamil will sell apong in Penang. The locals called it Apom Manis. This fluffy dessert is made of the simplest of ingredients: sugar, egg, coconut milk and flour. The mixed flour batter is pour into small clay pot(but now some use mini woks) to form thin and crispy sides encircling a thick and puffy center. There are three types;

(i) The one that normally found as street food in Penang. It is thin and crispy, sweet and normally folded into a roll. Penang people always call it apom manis. There is no fillings. This is original Penang apom. It is make from pouring the batter into small clay pots with charcoal fire. It can only be make pot by pot.

(ii) This type is normally sold in banana leaf Indian restaurant. It is thicker and bigger. It served with coconut milk. It is not folded, and without fillings. This is Indian appam.
(iii) This type called Apong balik, is normally sold by Chinese hawker. It is smaller, thicker, with filling of banana, maize, some more innovative one filled it with peanut butter and other jams. But the original one is the one filling with only banana. Some call it nyonya apong, developed from the Penang apom, and it was originated in Penang, I think in the 60s. The inventor must have taken the idea from ban-chan-kuei and appom combined, developed into a hybrid. It is called Apong balik because after putting the ingredient of banana, the apong is fold back into half, thus call apong balik. Initially it only make pan by pan as ban-chan-kuei, but later the clever hawker develop a bigger pan which contain smaller pans, which make the process faster. Like Apong Guan, it has 9 small pans.

The other type called Apong balik by the Malay is actually developed from the ban-chan-kui in Penang.

How to make apong balik?

360g rice
2tbsp cooked rice
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup thick coconut milk & 11/2 cups think coconut milk, from 1 large grated coconut
1 dsp baking powder
brown sugar

Wash and soak rice for 5 hours. Strain. Put strained rice, cooked rice, flour, sugar, salt and 3/4 cup of the thin coconut milk into a liquidiser and blend to a fine paste. Pour into a pot and add remaining thin coconut milk. Leave to ferment for 12 hours preferably overnight. Refridgerate the thick coconut milk.

The next day, add baking powder into fermented mixture and stir well. Heat and lightly grease a small kuali and pour 2 tbsp of batter into the centre. Swivel the kuali to spread batter into a thin pancake. The centre of the pancake should be thick. Quickly add 1 tbsp of the thick coconut milk. Cover the kuali and let it cook over low heat until sides of appam are lightly brown.

1 comment:

  1. Keep up your articles, very well researched. Problems is can the reading format be better organized, so that it is easier to read. You might want to post these articles on a Facebook account.