Saturday, June 30, 2012

Neiappam/ Neyiappam

If  Vashi, is still what it was a decade ago, there is still a  small shop tucked away in the Mini Market, in sector 9, if I remember correctly. I cannot recollect the name of the shop, but we called it the Kerala Shop. It had all South Indian delicacies one would want. Banana wafers ( Plantain chips) , Murukku, Jackfruit chips...  and many others I have no idea about. I would visit the store every week and come back with what I loved, Neiappam/ Neyiappam. I was addicted to to the little dumplings. 

But first, let me explain how the system works in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai ( and many cities across India), 
There is a small set of apartment buildings and on the ground or first ( as it is known in the USA) floor, there are small stores selling everything one needs, including a Doctor's office and a pharmacy next door. So in short, Life sustaining and life saving, all in the same place. 

Walking  down to the stores means coming home laden with fruit, vegetables, grocery items, utensils ( spoons to stockpots and more), hardware, software, gadgets and appliances as required,  restaurants if you plan to eat out or dinner to go  and the most important part: Snacks galore! 
Among the numerous small shops, lined side by side, there is a small shop, with a name one cannot read, that is because it is a South-Indian language, but who cares? first you notice, there is a flock of  Middle aged South Indian ladies, buying plantains and Coimbatore butter, murukku . Make a beeline for that store. You are in for a treat. 
On one side of the cashier table you will find rows upon rows of snacks of all types, sweet, savory. Many are home made and are packed in plastic bags and sealed over the flame of a candle. Pick one up and you will not regret it. 
If you do not have access to store brought Neiappam, Try these.You will not regret it! 

Makes about 28 Neiappam/ dumplings
You need:

2/3 scant  Cup All Purpose flour (Take off 2-3 tbsp. from top)

2/3 Cup Rice Flour

2 Tbsp Coarse Semolina/ Sooji/ Rava
1 large Ripe Banana
3-4 Green Cardamoms, remove seeds and powder using a mortar- pestle
4 Jaggery Cubes if you have them or about 2/3 cup crumbled jaggery
Hefty Pinch Bicarbonate of Soda/ ENO regular
Fistful Shredded Coconut/ Copra
Ghee, as required

In a microwave safe bowl ( preferably glass) add 2-3 tbsp of water, place the Jaggery cubes and microwave for a minute. The jaggery will melt , stir to combine any leftover small lumps and set aside. 

Mix the flours and mash the banana. I prefer to  run the banana thru the small  mixie attachment to get a smooth paste.

 Add the jaggery syrup, shredded coconut and cardamom powder and add water as required to make a smooth batter ( like idli batter). Set aside for 10-15 mins. If you do not want to wait, go ahead, to the next step. It does not make a huge difference.

Heat the appey / abelskiver pan on medium high. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk to incorporate.

Add a few drops of ghee in each slot.
Carefully drop a spoonful of batter into each slot, to fill no more than 2/3 of the slot.

Cover and cook for about a minute, remove cover, the appams, you will notice that they are a nice golden brown around the edges and the tops, will look solid.

Flip the appams and cook on the other side, uncovered. Cook for another minute (or less, since the pan is well heated now, especially if it is a cast iron pan)

Remove. Repeat the same process for the remaining batter

Serve when slightly warm.

There are many versions of Neiappam, many using only rice flour or soaking and grinding rice. This is my preferred ( and never-fail) method.

If using smaller sized bananas, use 2. Also intensifies the banana flavor.
My Son does not like t too banana-ey, so I keep it at 1 large, well mashed/ pulverized banana. I call them banana round cakes for him, works for me and for him! 

I sometimes find a particular batch of Jaggery a tad less sweeter than the other, in which case, add another lump or 1 tbsp. Sugar. 

I have used Jaggery lumps in this recipe - this quantity therefore, should not be confused with jaggery powder or soft jaggery, which would be used in a lesser quantity.  

In any case, once the batter is ready, taste a drop of it to ensure that the sweetness is as per your liking. I like mine mildly sweet. The kind that makes you want another bite! 

Do not skip the ghee, there is no replacement. If you do, however, be prepared for an inferior taste, you have been warned!!

Enjoy your weekend! 
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  1. i am first time to your blog... will be your new follower...
    neiyappam looks yummy..

  2. lovely looking appams i m gonna try this version soon cos mine doesnt have APF

    1. Thank you Anusha. Does your version have only rice flour?

  3. Sometimes there are bits of coconut and those are nice to bite into. That's a nice pic of the whisk.

    Not all South Indian middle-aged women are called Maamis, that's the practice only among Tamils, and maybe not all of them at that.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for visiting. I like the small bits of coconut too, I have added shredded coconut here as my Hubby is not fond of coconut and in this way , it is not very conspicuous!
      I have modified the term 'Mami' actually, removed it.

  4. yummy and delicious neiappams. You have a nice blog. U can visit my blog and give ur valuable comments.

    1. Thanks Kitchen Queen. I will surely drop by ur space.

  5. HI C@H;
    The appams are so looking yum, I WISH that you get your bags and S here in NJ so that I get to taste the wonders of your kitchen. I grew up in Goregaon, and there were these shops that you are talking about a little far form my home in the market or mandai as we called it. Next trip back home I am charged with taking pics of super cool things I grew up with. famous Wada pav, chat and cinema all in tow.
    Love Ash.

    1. I wish we were closer!
      i do hope u will make a trip and get some great pics.

  6. I would love to dip those in hot sambar. Just not delicious but so damn cute to look at!

    1. Kankana, I am sure you have not glanced at the list of ingredients, these are sweet appams :) I doubt these will taste good with sambar.

  7. delicious and yummy nei appams.U have a lovely blog.Do visit my blog and give ur valuable comments.

  8. Yummm, thats the kind of store I would visit verry often! You've got me drooling over here! Love these neiappams!

  9. Yum, these look so cute. just want to pop-some-in-my-mouth right now :-)


  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Hi Manasi,

    Looks Great !!!

    Do collect your

    sunshine blog award


  12. Hi Manasi,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your valuable comments. You have a very nice space here, with some very interesting recipes.
    Will drop by at this mumbaikar's space more often now.

  13. Those look delicious! They remind me of Aebleskivers from Danemark..




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