Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Vellai appam

If you have any leftover dosa batter, vellai appam are a fun food to make and even more fun to eat. Only works, of course, if you have the vellai appam chatti. I am the proud possessor of such a chatti, thanks to my mother.

Usually these appliances are of cast-iron, seasoned lovingly over a long time with regular use. Unfortunately I dont have the patience or the time, so this non-stick, modern version of the chatti was the perfect gift for me. The bottom is solid cast iron, but the top surface is non-stick. And because it's non-stick, you only need to add a drop or two of oil to the little depressions to turn out perfect pillowy soft appams. The traditional way is to literally deep fry the appams in their little depressions which are filled with a lot of oil... very yummy but not so good for the tummy.

The only drawback is that there's no quick way of making this for more than one person at a time - only 7 little depressions, alas. And even for that one person (me) it's a dreary job waiting for the little guys to get golden and crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside...

Dreary job, did I say? More like a never-ending wait! You have to wait for the batter to start turning opaque around the edges as it cooks, wait for the opacity to spread towards the centre and only THEN turn it over for the other side to cook... and that means another wait. It's just a few minutes, really, but it feels like eternity. And yeah, the wait is worth it.

Appams are best had with tomato thokku or coconut chutney, I guess. But I have them hot off the pan, without any accompaniments, even if it means a somewhat burnt tongue. Vellai appam... yum.

Another variation on vellai appam is to make it using wheat flour. Just as tasty, in a slightly different way!

Recipe for:
Vellai appam


1 cup dosa batter
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp oil (+ more to baste)
2 green chillies, sliced very thin
1 pinch of asafoetida
a few fresh curry leaves, torn into small pieces


1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan. Splutter the mustard seeds in the oil (cover the pan), then add the green chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida and fry for about 30 seconds.

2. Pour the tempering over the dosa batter and mix thoroughly.

3. Heat the appam chatti on a medium-high flame and dribble a couple of drops of oil in each depression.

4. Now drop the dosa batter by the teaspoon into each depression, filling it 3/4 of the way to the top.

5. Let the appams cook over medium heat, until the batter starts solidifying around the edges, turning opaque.

6. When only the middle part of the appams is still liquidy, carefully turn over each appam with a thin skewer (or use a spoon if you can).

7. Let the appams cook for another minute or so, till they are cooked and golden-crisp on the top and bottom.

8. Serve hot, with a side dish of coconut chutney if desired.

These appams are tasty even when cold but they will lose their fluffy fresh cooked aspect.


sabita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sabita said...

hi i have been a regular visitor at ur blog...u have a nice one....this is my blog do visit it and leave ur comments....
take care...bubyeee...sabita

Shri said...

Hey Shammi,

Those look nice. I save some dosa batter everytime just to make them.

Ultimate Foodie said...

hi shammi! they look so inviting (even more so bcoz i dont have the chatti now :( ).. is vellai appam any different from kuzhi paniyaram?

bee said...

interesting nomenclature, shammi. in northern kerala, we call the lacy appam eaten with 'stew' as vellayappam. in southern kerala it is called palappam.

what you prepared is called 'ponganalu' in telugu, i think. looks very appetising.

anusharaji said...

i love vellai apaam esp plain ones
great shots btw

mika said...

Vellai appam with tomato chutney, yumm...

I hate the wait too and it takes ages to make enough to feed 3-4 hungry people. But worth it!

Manasi said...

Yep! Love these little tortoise shell pattern appams... we call em 'gulpangdi'... I posted this a few weeks ago! I too hv a Non-stick chatti!

shammi said...

Sabita: Welcome! and thanks :)

Shri: I'm going to do the same from now!

Ultimate Foodie: Yes, it's the same as kuzhi paniyaram. :)

Bee: Thanks for the info!

Anusharaji: Thank you

Mika: Totally worth it!

Manasi: Checked out your gulpangdi too - yep, same as mine, you beat me to posting! :)

Vasudev Udhatya said...

one of the best food blogs.. :-)

Mythili said...

Ponganalu!!! Yes, they are called ponganalu in Telugu. I liked the last photo a lot !! Good one, Shammi

Vanishree's Corner said...

hi like your blog very much
if you are interested in link exchange than leave a comment on

Nupur said...

They look incredible, Shammi! Fluffy little pilows for sure! My mom just called me to say that she's going to bring me a non-stick appam mold when she visits in summer, so YAY I will get to make these :)

RP said...

Hi Shammi, I bought a cast iron preseasoned ableskiver pan from Amazon several months ago, and I'm loving it. I have posted a picture of the pan on my blog.
Vella appam is totally different in Kerala! :D
Visiting you after a long time, shammi. have you been?

Vasudev Udhatya said...

Hi Shyamala,
Ur recipes are too good.My wife tried out one and it came out really well.
Yes I am from Vidya Mandir - Mylapore..
Are u also from VM?

raghu ram prasad said...

ho what a tasty food....visit my blog

Kannan said...

Your blog is good.

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