Monday, August 15, 2011

The daring cooks challenge august: Appam and Curry

The challenge of this month is hosted by Mary from the blog Mary Culinairy. She loves curry and has collected a few great recipes for us as a challenge, which included appams. I didn't had a clue what appams were before, but appams are a sort of pancakes made of rice.
And they tasted really good!! This certainly is a recipe which I'm going to make many times in the future.
I've chosen for the version with meat and vegetables, but there was also a fish challenge, which I'm soon going to try out as well.
The childeren loved the appams and were eating them well passed dinnertime. The small leftover (no appams, because they were all gone) I've had for lunch the other day, together with my parents who came to visit. They also had clean plates afterwards.
Every time the challenge is to cook it from scratch and sometimes the recipes take hours of intensive cooking. But not in this case. You've to keep in mind that you make the batter for the appams a day ahead, but that's all.
And don't forget the vegetable plate, it was such a great addition to the curry. It's possible to eat it without but in my opinion it isn't that complete.
Have a nice dinner and a lot of thanks to Mary: it was a great challenge and I've never had such a great curry.


Appam (makes about 15, 2 per person are enough (withouth the childrens grabbing of course):

- 1 1⁄2 cups (300 gm) raw rice;
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (5 gm) active dry yeast;
- 2 teaspoons (9 gm) suga;r;
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature; 
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (18 gm) cooked rice; 
- 1⁄2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt;
- about 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can).

Carrots with tropical flavors (servings 4 as side dish):

- 1 pound (1⁄2 kg) carrots, about 5 medium peeled;
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil; 
- about 8 curry leaves; 
- 2 tablespoons (15 gm) minced seeded green cayenne chiles; 
- 3 tablespoons (27 gm) minced shallots;
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (I used lime juice); 
- 1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt; 
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar; 
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk;
- 1⁄4 cup (50 ml) water; 
- coarse salt; 
- optional cilantro (coriander) leaves to garnish.

Sri Lankan Beef curry:
--1 pound (1⁄2 kg) boneless beef (such as round steak or roast); 
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil; 
- 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves; 
- 1 green cayenne chili, finely chopped generous; 
- 1 cup (250 gm) finely chopped onion; 
- 1 teaspoon turmeric; 
- 1 teaspoon salt; 
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk; 
- 1 tablespoon (15 gm) tamarind pulp; 
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) hot water; 
- 3 cups (720 ml) water.

Dry spice mixture:
- 1 tablespoon (13 gm) raw white rice; 
- 1 tablespoon (10 gm) coriander seeds; 
- 1 teaspoon (4 gm) cumin seeds; 
- one 1-inch piece (21⁄2 cm) cinnamon.


Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that. Dissolve the sugar in the 120 mL coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked! Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan. Make another, and another... Here you can see some that were made in regular skillets. I have found that the leftover batter can be refrigerated for a day or two.

Carrots with tropical flavors:
Julienne or coarsely grate the carrots. Set aside Place a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then add half of the curry leaves, the chiles and the shallots. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. Add the carrots, stir, and add the vinegar, salt, sugar and mix well. Increase the heat and stir- fry for 2-3 minutes, until they give off a bit of liquid. Add the water and half of the coconut milk and bring to a fast boil. Stir, cover tightly and cook until just tender, 5-10 minutes, depending on size. Mine took about 5 minutes. Check to ensure the liquid has not boiled away and add a little more water if it is almost dry. Add the remaining coconut milk and curry leaves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired, and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Transfer to a plate and serve hot or at room temperature.

Sri Lankan Beef curry:

Cut the beef into 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) cubes or separate the ribs. Set aside. In a small heavy skillet, roast the dry spice mixture over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to
4 minutes, stirring continuously, until it smells amazing! You will be able to see that the rice is a toasted color.Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind/pound to a powder. Set aside. Chop the tamarind pulp and soak it in the hot water. Set aside
In a large, wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, green chile, onion and turmeric and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the meat and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so all surfaces of the meat get browned.
Add the reserved spice mixture and the coconut milk and stir to coat the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Press the soaked tamarind through a sieve placed over a bowl. Use a spoon to press all the liquid and pulp out. Discard the seeds and stringy bits. Add the tamarind liquid to the 3 cups of water. Add the tamarind/water mixture to the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a strong simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot.


Renata said...

Your complete dish looks amazing and your shots are stunning!

Mary said...

It all looks wonderful, and I am so glad you and your family enjoyed the dishes. Thanks for participating!

The Garlic Press said...

Your appam and beef curry look great. After reading your post I wish I'd made the carrots as well.

Koci said...

What a beautiful plate of food! I love the bright colors that the veggies add. Great job on this challenge!

Wolf said...

Your photos make me want to make the carrot dish now, even if I'd be the only one eating them}:P

My name is Andy. said...

That looks great!!