Daring Cooks August Challange: Appam and Eggplant Curry

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Next day, next post ... Really sad that I couldn't post this one in time. I love Indian food - and I loved the result from this challenge. It took me lots of time and sweat, because last weekend we had about 28°C in the kitchen - and I went into it and started frying eggplants ... (something I would normally never do - I hate frying, as I mentioned a dozen times before) I enjoyed the curry sauce - the combination of flavours was delicious, would be perfect with meat, fish or other vegetables too. I used the Appams as a wrap, and the rest of the curry ended up into Naan breads. Yummy!

makes about 15. (3-4 are enough for a serving)

  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
  • about ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)
Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.  Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!

Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
The leftover batter can be refrigerated for a day or 2.

Fried Eggplant Curry
recipe source: le sauce
makes 4-6 side servings, or 3-4 large servings

  • 2 1/2 lbs japanese eggplants
  • 1/4 c white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 green chili, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, sliced
  • 10 curry leaves, fresh or frozen
  • 1 3-inch piece rampe (pandan or screw pine leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 can (200ml) coconut milk
Slice eggplants: first, cut each eggplant crosswise into 3-inch pieces. then cut those pieces in half lengthwise. Finally cut all pieces, lengthwise, into 1/3-inch thick pieces. in a large bowl, mix vinegar, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt together. Add eggplant and toss to coat well in the marinade.

In a wide, heavy pan, pour about 1/2-inch of oil. heat over high heat, then add eggplant carefully, and fry in batches (do not overcrowd oil) until eggplant is golden (about 4-5 minutes/batch). Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
In a large pan, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the fried eggplant and stir well. then lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

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