Hey There. What I love about village life is the simplicity. Especially related to food. Modern life uses many gadgets, appliances, vessels, etc. but start of civilization began with essential few. And those were just enough. Those were healthy. Those added to the taste. Take for example mortar and pestle. Nothing can beat that taste and texture that this appliance gives to the ingredients. You may ask what I am driving at? One day my dad was plucking small aloe vera plant for me so I can grow it here in a pot. To cover the root he didn’t use newspaper or plastic cover. Instead he tore a small almost dry piece of banana leaf and wrapped it around the root. Then he tied it with another dried leaf.
This small incident left a mark in me. I felt ‘wow…that is so creative.’ My dad didn’t make use of any plastic instead he reused something from nature itself. Many of the dishes that is prepared in villages makes use of the ingredients that are available around. For example today’s ela appam or leaf appam. Rice dumplings with stuffing is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed it. Isn’t it nice and healthy?
Rice Flour – 1 cup
Boiling water – 2 cups
Salt to taste
Fresh Grated coconut – 1 cup
Sugar – 4 tblspn (you can replace with jaggery)
Cardamom powder – a pinch
Banana leaf – place the banana leaf on flame to soften the leaf and so it doesn’t tear when folded. Cut into rectangles of equal sizes.
- Boil water.
- In a bowl take grated coconut, sugar and cardamom and mix properly. This is your stuffing.
- In a bowl take rice flour. Add salt.
- Pour little boiling water and mix with a wooden ladle.
- Pour little more water till the dough comes together to form a tight rough ball.
- When the dough is hot enough to handle use your hand to knead the dough a little.
- Make small balls.
- Wet your hands. Take the small balls in the rectangular leaf pieces and flatten it equally.
- Place a spoonful of stuffing and spread it on one half of the spread dough.
- Close the non-filling side of the dough/leaf and place it on the steamer.
- Similarly prepare other appams and place it on steamer.
- Close the steamer and let it steam for 10-15 minutes or till the dough is cooked.
- Serve hot. Open the individual leaves and enjoy the natural, simple and delicious appams.
VARIATIONS FOR STUFFING:
I personally do not like eating raw coconut . Hence, I try different variations and love them. Few are listed below. Do try them too.
A. Ripe Jackfruit chopped into small pieces.
B. Ripe Mango chopped into small pieces.
C. You can add your favorite halwa as stuffing e.g rava halwa
D. Make it more healthy by adding sprouted cooked green gram with jaggery and cardamom
Note: If you don’t find banana leaf at your part of the world you can skip it and still make this dish. Instead of flat appams you can make it as round stuffed balls. But the banana leaf adds a special flavor to the appam. So try getting that. 🙂 Till next time enjoy.