Written By Vaanika Gupta (Grade 5)
I was exhausted since I had just finished my second level of Science Olympiad examination. It was a very hot day and I was accompanied by my parents. To appreciate my efforts, we all decided to go out for lunch for a family outing. My father suggested that we try South Indian cuisine that day and narrowed down on ‘Dakshin’ which is a famous restaurant in Hyderabad.
We reached ‘Dakshin’ shortly after noon and we were the first ones to enter the dining hall. The decor around us was attractive and traditional and had a calming effect on all of us. We took a seat and our waiter welcomed us with hospitality. He then asked us what we would like to have. We ordered a South Indian meal or ‘Thali’ as it is called. There were many dishes being made live, one of them was the ‘Appam’ which is a popular dish from Kerala.
The chef kindly invited me to take a look at how he was making some of the dishes live. I was thrilled to get this opportunity and promptly agreed. Immediately, my attention was drawn towards a big flat bowl with a lid on top, which is where the chef was making Appam. The chef spread the rice and lentil batter along the sides of the vessel and then rotated it in a slow movement to let the batter spread evenly. The batter itself looks very much like the ‘Dosa’ batter – however it seemed a little less dense. After the batter is spread around the bowl, the fire on the stove is put on maximum. This quickly heats up the batter until it becomes crispy on the side. Interestingly, the Appam is still soft on the inside creating a blend of two contrasting textures in a very seamless manner. Once fully cooked, the Appam sides leave the bowl and can be easily taken out.
Appam is usually served with different accompaniments like coconut milk, vegetable stew or chicken stew. There are also different types of pickles and ‘chutneys’ which might be served. I really loved eating Appam with chicken stew although, my mother loved to have it with coconut milk. The combination of Appam (which has a mild savory taste) and chicken stew (which is a bit spicy) created a host of different flavors in my mouth. The chicken and Appam literally melted in my mouth in the most delectable way. I had a number of other South Indian dishes as well, but could not take the Appam out of my mind.
Given these experiences, I would like to try to make Appam at home and would suggest it to all my friends who want to try South Indian cuisines.
Featured Image Courtesy – FirstCry Parenting