Recipe for Vattayappam – a steamed rice cake recipe from Kerala – naturally vegan and gluten free
I first tasted these fluffy rice cakes when my ex-boss got them in her lunch box. She said these delicious little morsels were called Vattayappam. On prodding for the recipe, she said her mom made them with ground rice and yeast and that it is quite simple. Several google searches later, trying all possible spellings, I landed on a recipe given by a forum member of Forum Hub (this is shut down now), which was dug out from the Hindu archives. I also managed to stumble into a discussion on Vattayappam on the Another Subcontinent food forum. The things we do to find a recipe for a dish we have set our heart on…I tell you!
Kerala cuisine does have a variety of appams apart from this one, which I learnt while researching through several forums – Vattayappam was just one of them. There are also Kallapam, Palappam, Vellayappam, Frill Appam and more.
Finding the right vattayappam recipe
This Vattayappam recipe is a typical Kerala Christian recipe and it seemed pretty simple and armed with the potent yeast (yeast is to be used in absence of toddy). It took me several months to make up my mind to try this out because each recipe on the net had different ingredients (eggs, cumin, shallots, coconut milk and so on) in different quantities!
I am not quite game to using shallots in a sweetish bread and hence steered clear of any recipes including them. Since I did not recall my boss mentioning presence of eggs in the recipe, such recipes were out too. Finally the one I tried had simple ingredients which seemed right and JFI Rice was a perfect occasion to try it out.
Updated in 2018: Double Horse sells a Vattayappam premix, which is fairly simple to make.
- 1 cup rice dry
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 100 ml water
- 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast or use 2-3 tbsp toddy
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp raisins
- To prepare vattayappam, wash and soak the rice in water for 3-4 hours. Drain the soaked rice . Grind to a fine paste with grated coconut.
- Add yeast or toddy along with sugar. Keep this bowl covered and in a warm place and let it ferment for 6-8 hours. If you want to prepare vattayappam for breakfast, then you can keep this overnight.
- Once the batter has increased in volume, mix in salt, green cardamom powder and keep aside for 30 minutes.
- Grease a thali (rimmed dish) or the pressure cooker utensils and pour in the batter, under an inch thickness. Garnish with raisins if using. Steam the vattayappam for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes and cut into desired shapes.
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