Appe is a Konkani version of spongy dumpling which is fried in a special pan known as Appe Kaili which in simple terms implies pan for frying Appe. The contraption is also known as Aebleskiver Pan and is very handy because of the ergonomic design of the pan.
The various types of Appe are Plain Appe, Sweet Appe (Goad Appe with Jaggery) and Masala Appe (Appe with Onions and Curry leaves). In my house the preference is for the simpler version. My Ma adds pieces of Coconut (Katle Kudko), chopped Green Chillies and bits of Curry leaves. My Grandmom added a different spin to it by adding a paste of grated coconut and green chillies to the batter just before frying. This also happens to be my Dad's favorite breakfast recipe.
The kind of pan one uses for frying these is very crucial esp. because they can stick if the pan is not cured (if you are using an iron pan) and the batter if fresh from the fridge. My Ma owns an iron one which is heavy. She coats oil on it the previous night so the next day around, the surface becomes smooth. I did not know about this process being mandatory till a friend educated me about it, many years back. Since he had worked in the hotel industry, he even explained why Curing improves the life span of the iron pans.
Konkani Foodie is five year old today. Its been a journey with tiny baby steps taken and plenty of knowledge gained along the way. My passion for great tasting home cooked food continues, so does the incredible journey. No fancy cakes and desserts this time, just a simple Konkani recipe tried and tested to commemorate and celebrate the journey.
~ Appe (with Brown Rice) ~
Preparation time: 15-18 hours (includes soak and fermentation time)
Cooking time: 10 minutes for each batch
Idli Rice - 1 cup
Short Grain Brown Rice - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Poha - 1 fistful/ 2 cups of Rice (optional) - a fistful
Soaked water - 2 cups
Special Contraption - Aebleskiver Pan
Soaking and Grinding - Wash and drain the idli rice and urad dal till the water is clear (atleast 3-4 times). Soak in with filtered water for 6-8 hours. The grain proliferate in size. Grind them to smooth paste, which is thick. Use filtered water or the soaked water while grinding. Rinse Poha in water and add it while grinding. Throw salt over the batter and set aside.
Fermentation - Transfer the batter to a stainless steel vessel with the lid on. Please the batter in the oven with the pilot light on if you live in colder regions. The total fermentation can take place between 8-12 hours. The batter will double up in volume. Mix once and store in refrigerator.
Appe making process - Heat the Aebleskiver pan and begin with a high flame. Once the pan is hot enough, turn over to a medium flame and keep it consistent. Thaw the batter before use. Pour batter in the indentation and drizzle oil on the sides. Use a special spatula (it resembles knitting needles) and flip them over once the edges turn brown and crispy. Cook for around 5 minutes and till each of the sides turn golden brown. Serve piping hot with Byadgi Chillies Chutney.
Note - Coat the pan with oil before use, this is required especially for iron pans. If using non-stick one, coat the indentations few minutes before use. Do not use plastic container while fermenting the batter. If its a sunny day, one could keep the batter in sunlight to accelerate the fermentation process. The fermentation time is higher in cold climate regions as opposed to regions with a tropical climate. The presence of yeast in air also contributes to this. Using the soaked water while grinding facilitates the fermentation process. Sometimes the batter could ferment and spill over so keep a large pan or plate below the vessel. Adding Poha is optional, either ways if the batter gets fermented well, the taste of Appe is delicious. Brown rice adds a softer texture to the Appe as compared to white rice.