Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daring to do it: Appam and Curry

One of the reasons I joined the Daring Kitchen was to broaden my horizons. I like to think that I am open minded when it comes to food, and this is a great way to really get my hands into foods which I otherwise might never try, or even hear about!! This month was a great example of just that...




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.

Mary is wonderful. I love looking at her blog, both for the challenges and otherwise, since her dishes are always so beautiful, both to look at and from a flavor perspective! I knew she wouldn't lead us astray, even if she was having us make something I had never heard of!!

Appam are sort of like crepes, but yeasted and made with rice. (I know, yeast in a flat bread? Sounds like an oxymoron!) I generally only have brown rice in the house, just as a personal preference. While appam are usually made with white rice, I decided to go ahead and try brown, just to see if I could...

Start by soaking the rice for several hours. Because I was using brown rice, I soaked mine overnight.
Once thoroughly soaked, the rice is blended with proofed yeast. Blend and blend and blend... You want your batter as smooth as you can get it.The blended batter then gets set aside to rise. Actually, you want it to go beyond rising to fermenting. Did I mention that this is not a dish you can decide to make spur-of-the-moment? Yeah... lots of time needed, but most of it is unattended, so not too bad. I let me appam batter rise all afternoon, then I put the bowl into the fridge overnight. I took it out and let it come to room temperature before moving on to the next step.

Coconut milk and salt are added to the fermented rice, and the appam are finally ready to be cooked. A few tablespoons of batter are put into a lightly greased frying pan, the pan is covered and the appam cook for about two minutes. After all of the time that goes into preparing the batter, the cooking is really quick and easy!
I was actually a bit more worried about the curry than the appam in this challenge. I have never really tried curry, and was nervous that it would be way to strong for my taste... Also, despite the variety of great looking recipes Mary had provided for us, I couldn't find one that spoke to me... or that didn't have so many spices I had never even heard of! After looking at a lot of recipes on-line, I decided to fake it... I made a list of the spices I saw popping up in many of the recipes and headed to one of my favorite local stores which I knew would carry at least some of them. I bought fenugreek seed, cumin seed, green cardamom pods and curry powder.
(They didn't have curry leaves, so I had to go for the next best thing...) I toasted the seeds and pods in a pan before crushing them. This, along with the curry powder, was my Indian spice blend. For the actual food part of the curry dish, I chose to go simple. I sauteed onion, carrots and lentils in coconut oil until the carrots were a bit softened and the onions were translucent. I added halved grape tomatoes and some vegetable stock, as well as the rest of the can of coconut milk left from the appam batter. (Oh yeah, and the spice mix, too!) The resulting curry dish was really good! The coconut milk added just a touch of sweetness which was really nice. And the appam were a great accompaniment, both for taste and texture. I wound up snacking on them by dipping them into the curry sauce as I was cleaning up! The curry was also great the next day over rice... I am really glad that I have more spices so I can do this again! (And so is Hubby!!) Thank you so much, Mary, for this amazing challenge! You were a wonderful and supportive host, and I loved working with you! To see what my fellow Daring Cooks created, take a look here.

14 comments:

  1. Ruth, as always you did an amazing job on the challenge. Indian food is indeed delicious with all those amazing spices.

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  2. Thanks for participating Ruth, even if you weren't quite sure about the whole thing! I think your curry sounds wonderful, and now that you have all those spices, you can improvise a lot more!

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  3. Great job on this challenge Ruth..I love the curry you came up with..sound mild and delicious

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  4. Fantastic that you managed to make them with brown rice - extra healthy!

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  5. Looks great, I would love to try the brown rice to see if it has a much different taste then whie.

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  6. We generally only eat brown rice too but I wasn't as brave as you and went out to buy white rice especially. Glad to hear it works fine with the brown.

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  7. Oh wow, we both used brown rice...but your appams look better. And I love your curry dish...lentils and carrots delicious!

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  8. Great, that brown rice does the trick as well. I especially bought white rice for the challenge, but I do love brown rice more. In the future I'm going to give it a try. You're appams looks delicious.

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  9. Ruth, I love your vegetable curry. I often wish I had you to cook for me, since you cook healthy, but I can tell it tastes rich and decadent. That's a gift! I was thinking of using brown rice for my curry also, but bailed at the last minute when I saw I was out of it - was too lazy to go out and get some lol

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  10. Your appams are perfect, and your curry looks like such a warming, tasty meal. I agree with Lisa - healthy, but rich too. An excellent combination. :)

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  11. How cool that you used brown rice! I never thought of doing that, but I'd love to give it a try. And your curry looks delish! Great job on this challenge!

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  12. The lentil carrot curry sounds simply delicious; I'll have make one of these days.

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  13. Appam and stew is the best combination. I am planning to write about the simple potato stew mom makes at home.
    Your appam and curry looks very yummy :)

    Rajani

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