Saturday, August 11, 2012

Recipe of the month: Appam and Chettinad-Style Egg Curry

Appam (also called Aappam or Aappam hoppers) is a type of food in South-Indian (mainly Kerala) and Sri Lankan cuisine. It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner. There are several variations of this dish. The variety shown here is the Vella Appam. These appams are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment or curry. They are made from a batter using rice, yeast, salt and a little sugar. After the mixture has stood for a couple of hours, it is fried in the "appachatti" which is a specially designed pan. In South-Central Kerala, it is mostly served with kadala (chickpea) curry, stew or egg roast.

Hailing from the state of Karnataka, I never had much association with appams during my childhood. The first time I ever tried them was probably a decade ago at a restaurant in Mysore that we used to frequent for brunch every Sunday. I had it with vegetable stew and I remember liking it a lot. During those days, my only association with appams was at that particular restaurant. I decided to learn how to make it (several years later) when I discovered that my hubby is a big fan of the dish and also because I am extremely intrigued by anything that requires a special pan/vessel to prepare it! Every time I go to India on holiday, I end up picking up some special kitchen gadget or equipment in order to try out the unique dish that requires it.

I arrived at this particular recipe for Vella Appams after a few failed attempts with other recipes. This one hasn't failed me to date. It is easy and the end result is good. I have no idea where I got this recipe from since I found it scrawled in pencil in a corner of my tattered old recipe book. After getting frustrated with recipes that were leading nowhere, I tried this one out (without much hope) and it worked like a charm. So, whoever came up with this recipe - thank you very much!

Whenever I make appams at home, I serve it with either vegetable stew or kadala curry. This time I thought I would make a delicious spicy Chettinad-style egg curry. Eggs are one among my most favorite ingredients in the food world and I love anything containing them. I combed through the internet and found several recipes for egg curry. I took a few useful pointers and made my own recipe. This particular recipe results in an egg curry that is luscious, aromatic and packed full of fiery heat and flavour. It turned out as a great accompaniment to the appams.

I took these pictures using my Canon 40D DSLR camera (for the very first time!). I'm quite pleased with them  

Appam and Chettinad-Style Egg Curry

Preparation time: 14 -16 hours for the appam
Cooking time: 2-3 min per appam
Serves: 3-4
Recipe Category: Breakfast/SouthIndian-Sri lankan
Recipe Level: Intermediate
Recipe Source: Various websites


For the Appam:
1.5 cups raw rice
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 tbsp white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp yeast (I used instant yeast)
Salt to taste   

For the Chettinad-Style Egg Curry:
4 eggs, boiled
2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 large onions, sliced lengthwise
1-2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
3-4 pods of garlic, grated or if small, leave whole
1" piece ginger, julienned or grated
3/4-1 tsp sugar (or you can use jaggery)
Salt to taste
8-10 curry leaves, fried till crisp for garnish
Coriander for garnish
2 tbsp oil or ghee

To make into a ground paste:
Fry the following ingredients in 2 tsp of ghee,
1-2 fresh curry leaves
1" piece cinnamon
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 pods garlic
5 dry red chillies (I used 2 guntur and 3 badige chillies)
After frying these ingredients, turn off the heat, add in 1/2 cup of grated coconut and 1 tsp poppy seeds (soaked for 10 min in warm water beforehand) and grind with about half cup of water into a smooth & fine paste.


For the Appam:

1. Soak raw rice for about 4-5 hours and drain.

2. Blend with the cooked rice and grated coconut in a blender or wet grinder until fine.

3. Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Add in the yeast. Leave it covered for about 15 min until frothy. Add the yeast mixture to the above ground mixture and mix well. Add salt to taste. 

4. Leave the mixture for fermentation for 8-12 hours in a warm place.

5. The next day, the batter should have risen and gone bubbly. The batter should be of medium to thin consistency. If it is too thick, you can thin it out with coconut milk.

6. You can spray some oil on the appachatti (see pic) but I didn't do that because my pan is nonstick.

7. Keep the flame low. Ladle a spoonful of this fermented batter in the centre of the appachatti and immediately swirl it around. You will notice that the center portion remains thick while the surrounding part is thin and lace-like.

If you find the appachatti is too hot, you can sprinkle some water on it and wipe with a tissue.

Here is a slow-motion video to show you how it is done (this is my first video so excuse the quality)

8. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat. Do not overturn!

9. Serve the appams hot.

 For the Chettinad-Style Egg Curry:

1. Boil the eggs until they are hard boiled. Peel the shell and make shallow slits along the length of the eggs in 4-5 adjoining areas. Keep aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of ghee/oil and add in the garlic, ginger and green chillies and fry till fragrant

3. Add in the sliced onions and fry till they start to turn a nice caramel brown. Add in the tomatoes and fry till they become soft and mushy

4. Mix in the ground paste, sugar/jaggery and salt and fry for a few minutes till the raw smell disappears. Add half a cup of water (or more) and mix well. 

5. Add in the eggs and leave the gravy to simmer on a low flame

6. Garnish with fried curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves

  • Always proof the yeast before using it. For more information on yeast, you may refer to this post 
  • Making appams are a great way to get rid of leftover white rice
  • Adding more curry leaves into the ground paste for the egg curry can make it taste bitter so don't go overboard
  • If you don't like the curry to be too spicy, omit the green chillies and just stick with the dry red chillies



  1. I love authentic Indian food. The play of flavors and spices is really endearing. Thanks for sharing!
    I would like to invite you to Yumgoggle. Your phenomenal photos have caught our attention, we have been on the lookout for unique and interesting bloggers since we launched our food photo submission site which is This will allow you to showcase all your great work and share it with our visitors. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! Sorry for the shameless plug to our site =)

  2. Oh yum, love the appams too, thanks.

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  3. Thanks for the kind invitation Debs. I will be happy to participate.....will submit my entry before the deadline :)

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  5. i cant believe you took a vessel just for appams! Now looking at this blog seems worth it :D kudos to all your trial and errors. Looks like your photos are starting a new era with the slr.

  6. Oh my goodness Megha, YUM! I am so trying this recipe, Thank you! :)

  7. Yummy!It looks absolutely delicious.Thanks a lot for the fantastic recipe you put up :)

  8. Hi Megha - Just tried this recipe, must admit YOU ROCK!

    Ramya Andani

  9. I tried the egg masala yest. Yums! Wld increase the spice level a notch next time

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