Hey Fancakes! This week I made rice flour hoppers (see what I did with the title there? you know you love it) aka appam. The recipe I followed (from Saveur) said the recipe was Sri Lankan, but I think these pancakes are also popular in different areas of South India and Malaysia. I confess I did quite a bit of research on wikipedia… Anyway, I made 2 types of hoppers, basically the same, but one had an egg cooked into it.
The hoppers were really simple to put together – the most “exotic” ingredients are the rice flour and coconut milk and I was able to find both in my local grocery store. Other than that, the recipe just has a lot of “wait time” – the batter needs to rest twice for a total of 3 hours! Madness, I know, but worth the wait!
The hoppers are supposed to be cooked in a hopper pan (seriously, I never knew there were so many specialty pancake pans before I started this blog!), but I just used a small wok.
(hopper pan – basically a shallow wok with 2 small handles and a lid – get yours on Amazon!)
As I was cooking, I realized how similar the hoppers are to classic crepes – they both have thin batters (as far as consistency), require quite a bit of batter resting time, and call for similar swirling motions when you cook (you need to swirl the batter so that the pancakes cover the whole bottom of the pan. Oh yeah, and they’re both delicious. SNAP.
(Everyday I”m swirlin’)
The hoppers smell amazing while they’re cooking, they give off this amazing coconut smell – not overwhelming at all, but just a warm toasty coconutty…mmmm…I feel like cooking more just I can smell them. Taste-wise, the plain hoppers are fairly neutral with just a smidge of saltiness. Hoppers are sometimes eaten with curries and stews and I can totally imagine how delicious that would be.
I added a drizzle of honey to the plain hoppers and they were a delicious snack. As for the egg hopper, I sprinkled just a few flakes of kosher salt on the egg portion and it was equally delicious, the egg turns into a sort of yolky savory syrup which is the ish…you know, if you’re into that sort of savory glory.
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry yeast
3/4 C rice flour
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 C + 2 Tbs coconut milk
1/16 tsp baking soda (I just use my 1/4 tsp and estimate!)
3.5 oz water heated to 115
Combine the yeast and water and let sit for 8-10 minutes (the water should get foamy).
In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour, and sugar. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Stir and then cover and let sit on the counter for 2 hours.
Add the coconut milk and baking soda. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in the fridge.
Heat a little less than 1 Tbs of oil in your pan (I used a small wok since I don’t have a hopper pan, but you can use a regular small frying pan as well). Cook 1/3 C batter at a time. (Oh, I also had to re-oil my pan after every other hopper.)
Add the batter to the pan and swirl to cover the entire bottom of the pan, cook for about 1 minute.
If you’re cooking the egg version, crack an egg into the center of the hopper.
Then cover and cook for another 2 minutes (the edges will get crispy). If you’re making a plain hopper, then just skip the egg part.
Slide the hopper out of the pan and enjoy!