April 15, 2011

Vattayappam - Steamed Rice Cake from Kerala ~Indian Cooking Challenge

Indian cooking challenge for March was Vattayappam from my home state. The recipe given to us was Shn's. Shn has given a very detailed recipe. On a first glance, the recipe might look elaborate and complicated. But its not that difficult. It involves few steps more than preparing an aapam batter. Finally its steam cooked. I tried making dosa too with the batter. Thanks to Lata akka for the dosa idea. It too came out well. I loved the heady aroma from the combo of cardamom, coconut and sugar. It just filled the whole house. 

You need
To Grind
  • Raw rice/Idli rice - 1 cup (I used idli rice)
  • Fresh grated coconut - 3/4 cup
  • Cooked rice - 2 tblspn
  • Water - 1/2 cup
 To Proof yeast

  •  Active dry yeast - 1/2 tspn
  •  Water - 1/3 cup
  •  Sugar - 2 tspn

 To Make Thari Kurukku/Rice porridge/Kuzhu

  • Coarse ground paste - 2 tblspn
  • Water - 1/2 cup
To sweeten and flavor

  •  Sugar - 1/2 cup
  •  Ghee - 1 1/2 tblspn
  •  Cardamom/elaichi - 10-12 nos, powdered
  •  Cashew nuts - 5 nos
  •  Raisins - 1/2 tblspn

Wash and soak the rice for 6 -8 hours. Grind the rice with just enough water to make the grinding possible. When rice reaches the coarse texture, remove 2 tablespoons of the rice to prepare the porridge. Add grated coconut to the ground rice and continue to make a fine batter. When its almost done, add cooked rice and grind again. Don't remove the batter from the wet grinder/mixer jar. Leave it there.

Meanwhile, proof yeast Add sugar and yeast to warm water. Dissolve both the ingredients in this warm water and keep the mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes until it froths.

Mix the coarse ground rice in water. Transfer it to a pan and heat it. Keep mixing while it is getting heated and remove when a paste is formed. Take care not to form lumps. Leave it to cool.

Add the cooled porridge to the ground rice in the grinder and spin it once to blend it thoroughly. Next add the yeast mix and blend again by spinning for 2 minutes. Remove the batter to a steel bowl which can hold twice the batter. Leave it to ferment for 5 hours and the batter will double in that time.

Add sugar and give a gentle stir and ferment it to another 2 hours or so. The batter rises more after the addition of  sugar.  Heat ghee in a small pan and roast cashews and raisins. Add to the batter. Also add crushed cardamom to the batter

For steaming, heat water in a pressure cooker. Grease a cake tin or a similar steel vessel. Fill the batter to half of the tin. When the water starts to steam, place the cooker plate (the one with holes) or any other plate and keep the batter filled tin on top of that. Placing the plate will ensure that the water will not spill into the tin on boiling. Close the cooker with the lid. Do not put the weight/whistle. Let it steam cook for 30 minutes in medium heat. Check doneness by inserting a knife. If the knife doesn't come out clean, steam for another 5-10 minutes.  

Once steamed well, remove the tin from the cooker and leave it to cool. Gently remove the appam from the tin. I just ran a knife around the edge and tapped it at the bottom and inverted it on to a plate

Cut into wedges and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. I felt it can be served with a spicy kurma too.

  1. The consistency of the battery is important. The batter should be similar to idli batter. Not too thick and not  runny.
  2. The batter should be fermented well to get a spongy texture
  3. Sugar can be increased if you have sweet tooth. With the quantity mentioned in the recipe, its mildly sweet.


  1. Looks really delicious ,nice clicks.Texture is so spongy .

  2. Looks wonderful. Saw in lata's blof It was like pothal pothal. But I saw one like this in sankeerthanam's blog. Will it actually be pothal or spongy.

  3. This is looking so good. Seems to have turned out just perfect.

  4. I felt the sweeteness could be increased though. Nice one. I called it a 'Sweet Idli' and gave it to kids.

  5. Cake looks delicious. Fabulous preparation.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  6. Vattayappam looks super spongy and delicious..love having them..

  7. looks beautiful, I haven't made it yet, I am planning to do a few which I have left ICC challenge after I go to India:)

  8. Looks soft and spongy. Yummy.

  9. Shanti akka, it should be spongy like in cakes. This is what I remember when I ate it once long time back. And Shn's pics also has the spongy look. May be too much of fermenting results in the honey comb like look.

  10. A sweet dosa with that batter. Now thaz one I will try. Nice pics.


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