There’s been a long silence. There were issues with the blog’s domain and links. Work, travel and a whole lot of other things kept me on my toes. So when I sat down to blog today, I was wondering where to start, then I thought it’s best to start where everything does – at the beginning!
Talking about beginnings, the one meal that I don’t like to compromise on is breakfast. And if you’ve been reading my posts long enough you’ll know that I place a lot of emphasis on this meal. Our weekend breakfasts are generally leisurely affairs. We are, obviously, biased towards South Indian food. Appe or Panniyarams, which are like steamed dumplings, very similar in texture to an idli. To make this you will need a special pan that has cavities into which you pour in the batter. The batter is usually the same as what’s made for idli or dosa, with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, chopped green chillies and grated ginger added to it.
I’ve been asked to have a protein rich diet and right now I’m looking at different ways of incorporating this into our meals. Because of this, I’ve been using a lot of whole grains in our diet these days. So one weekend I decided to make Appe with ragi flour. I’ve added some whole wheat flour as well to this to help it bind. Ragi is a powerhouse of nutrition and keeps you going for long. It has a lovely nutty flavour that’s enhanced by cooking. I served these with a powdered chutney or molagapudi, as they call it in Tamil, with some ghee or clarified butter. They make for a filling breakfast, you can serve them as a snack with tea in the evening too, in case you have some excess you can also refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Just steam lightly before serving
1.5 cups of ragi flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of fresh curds
2 tbsp of onion, chopped
1/2 inch of ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of jeera (cumin seeds)
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
In a large mixing bowl put the flours together and mix. Take another bowl and mix the curds with water and some salt to make a smooth paste. Add this to the flour and keep mixing until you get a thick but fluid mixture, this should be of pouring consistency.
Heat some oil in a pan and temper the mustard seeds, jeera and curry leaves. Turn off the flame and add the hing/asafoetida to this. Add this to the batter. Next, add the onion, green chilli and coriander leaves. Check the seasoning. Keep the batter aside for 5-10 minutes to rest.
Heat the Appe/Panniyaram pan on a medium flame, brush it lightly with oil (this step is important so that the Panniyarams don’t stick to the plan). Slowly fill the pan to 3/4 capacity of each cavity with the batter. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid, flip the dumplings over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until done. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.
*You can always add some ragi flour to idli or dosa batter if you like to make these panniyarams. But there will be a difference in texture
*Another great idea, to make this even more nutritious, is to add some grated carrot or cabbage to the batter. It also gives the dish an element of crunch
*The curd helps to make the dish fluffy. In case you want to make this vegan, use only water to mix the batter together. You can add a pinch of soda bicarb to improve the texture of the dish