Idiappam, or mini steamed rice noodle cakes. Ok, that was a mouthful. Trying to figure out how to translate this traditional Kerala dish into something anglicised ain't as easy as I thought. Idiyappam is idiyappam fam. Here's what it is:
For photographic effect it looked better with a spoon on the side, but if I'm being honest, the absolute best way to enjoy idiyappam is to eat them with your hand. Feeling the soft stringy textures of each idiyappam, breaking apart a morsel of it, then dunking it into a bowl of spiced vegetable stew and popping it into your mouth for a burst of coconut and spices. It's a breakfast combo you'd WANT to wake up to!
The way you get that beautiful mini noodle bed is by using a special idyappam press that squeezes out the rice flour dough through a small-holed mesh (see picture below).
The idiyappam press we use is a hand-held brass press. There are larger heavy duty ones, but in our tiny kitchen, we aim for the MOST compact Attach the mesh to the bottom, squeeze in the rice flour dough till the cylinder is filled to the top, then screw on the handle to the top. Finally, rotate that handle to squeeze out the rice flour, through the mesh onto an idli stand to get those mini stringy pillows.
The rice flour we usually use is homemade using the technique we used when making rice flour for the puttu.
However, you can also make the idiyappam using store-bought rice flour and toasted for 5-8 minutes until the raw taste of the rice flour is removed and it begins to brown ever-so-slightly. Much easier! :)
By this point, I think you may have figured I LOVE coconuts, so we went ahead and added coconut cream. It's not an overbearing addition - it lightly flavours the idiyappams. So even if you don't get a bite with the grated coconut, you'll still get all the flavour <3 Added bonus, a little extra moisture in the rice flour dough = easier to press the dough into strings!
This is where the beauty's at fam. That ONE extra ingredient you don't think twice about? Ghee. It brings its naturally nutty/toasty taste to the breakfast table. Because of the way ghee is made, it doesn't add too much moisture, if anything, it balances out the added moisture of the coconut cream. Adding this to the water gives a more wholesome taste and adding it again to the toasted flour is like adding rainbows, sprinkles and fairy dust (ok, not literally, but you get the idea)! THIS is where you elevate the taste of something as simple as idiyappam. You're more than welcome. :)
How did you find the taste of your idiyappam? I'd LOVE to see how they turned out for you too! Send me pics or tag me on facebook (@ayurfitblog) or instagram (@ayurfit)! Let me know in the comments below, did these tips help you too?
Ayurveda Dosha Suitability
Kapha (in moderation and if no coconut is used)
Heat water with 1 tsp of ghee till it boils (switch off flame just before it boils to a rolling boil). To the toasted flour, add coconut cream, ghee and salt. To this add, a little at a time, the boiled water whilst continuously mixing with a spoon. Add coconut cream and salt whilst adding the water. Mix and add water until all the water is well incorporated. Once the dough becomes warm, knead the dough using your hands to remove any lumps.
In a pressure cooker, add enough water so that the depth of the water in the pan is approximately 1.5 inches. Bring this water to a rolling boil.
Grease the inside of the idiyappam press and each pit of the idli plates with ghee. Add the rice flour dough into the idiyappam press. Press the idiyappam strings onto the idli plates.
Once the water in the pressure cooker comes to a rolling boil, turn heat to medium and transfer the plates with the pressed idiyappam strings into the pressure cooker. Close the lid and steam for 6 minutes. Switch off flame and wait for steam to escape.
Finally, either transfer into a casserole to retain the heat and moisture or, serve :)
Take care to get the temperature of the water correct. If it's too warm, the rice flour won't cook properly. If it's too hot, the rice flour will over-cook and you'll have a hard time pressing the rice flour. Boil the water to just before a rolling boil (switch it off after you see the first water bubble burst through).
As you mix the flour with the water, the dough will become cool enough to knead with your hands. If it's still too hot to touch, moisten a thin towel/ kitchen tissue with room temperature water and lay over the dough and wait till dough cools (approx 5 minutes). This way the dough doesn't dry out.
If you're cooking in batches, repeat steps 2-5 for each batch. Whatever dough remains and is yet to be cooked, makes sure to keep it under a moistened towel/ kitchen tissue to prevent the dough from drying out.