Unni Appam originates from Kerala which is located in the south-west region of India. In malayalam (language spoken by keralites), 'unni' means small and 'appam' means rice cake (similar to Aebleskiver of danish origin). Unni appam is fluffy round rice cakes made using rice, plantain, jaggery (unrefined whole cane sugar) and ghee (clarified butter) along with optional ingredients like cardamom powder, coconut pieces or cashewnuts. The traditional unni appam uses only rice flour but I like to use a blend of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and rice flour. It is mildly sweet treat that satisfies your sweet cravings.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 cup jaggery (adjust to taste)
1 - 1 1/2 cup water
3-4 medium overripe bananas
1/2 tsp cardamom powder, optional
1/8 tsp baking soda, optional
Pinch of salt
In a large bowl, add whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, rice flour( if only using rice flour, add 2 cups rice flour with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour), baking soda and salt. Mix well.
In a pan, on medium heat, add powdered jaggery and 1 cup water. Heat until completely melted. Filter out the impurities. Pour this syrup into the dry mix.
Add the bananas and mash them until they blend well with the batter. If required, add warm or hot water to the batter until you get the desired consistency (should be slightly thicker than idli/dosa batter). Add cardamom powder and mix well.
If you choose to use coconut pieces and cashewnuts, fry them in 1-2 tsp vegan butter until golden brown and then add to the batter.
Set the batter aside for 1-2 hours for best results but if you are impatient like me, go ahead and start making them right away.
Heat the cast-iron or non-stick mold pan (appam pan) and grease the molds with oil and spoon the batter into each mold. Cook for 2-3 mins until the appam turns golden brown. Flip to the other side using a spoon or skewer till it cooks until golden brown color.
Drain the excess oil on paper towel and repeat the procedure for the remaining batter. Serve warm and enjoy!!
The appams can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days after they completely cool down. Microwave for 10-20 seconds before consuming.
Makes 35-40 appams.