Appam Vs. Idiyappam: Did You Know These Key Differences?

While South India has been largely associated with rice-eating communities, breads have also been an underrated staple in the culinary cultures of the southern states. From the flaky-crisp Malabar parotta to fluffy appams, South Indian breads are largely rice-based but vary from one another in texture, taste and appearance. Amongst the diverse varieties, some breads are eaten over a span of multiple meals – like the appam and idiyappam, although similar in their foundations, are distinctly different from one another.


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Also known as aappam, this thin rice pancake of South Indian origins, is made by fermenting rice and grinding it with coconut milk. Made in a designated pan known as appachatti – the appam is usually eaten for breakfast or dinner, and has a mild sweet flavour. Based on the changing region where appams are prepared, the batter is also fermented with ingredients like palm toddy and yeast. The appam is lacy in appearance with a crisp texture on the edges that gets fluffier as it cooks in the centre. Appams are also served with an egg cooked in the centre and known as hoppers in Sri Lanka, where it is also sold widely as street food. While the appam batter can be poured in directly into the pan, using a ladle, the idiyappams need a specific wooden apparatus for the noodles to be pressed. The appams usually utilise a few drops of oil or fat of some kind for the cooking pan to be greased whereas the idiyappams are made with zero fat.

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Your Ultimate Guide To Local Keralan Breads


Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Noolappam or idiyappam, consists of flat-pressed noodles made from a rice flour dough and passed through a wooden presser. The pressed noodles are shaped into discs and steamed, after which they are eaten by dipping in coconut milk and sweetened grated coconut. Idiyappams, unlike appams, do not require fermentation as part of the process and can also be enjoyed with fish curries, kadala (black chana) curry or coconut chutney. Idiyappams are usually eaten for breakfast or as a light evening snack, across the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and in countries like Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Unlike appams, which need to be made fresh and eaten when still warm, the idiyappams are also widely available in pre-packaged containers which require minimal steaming before consumption. The idiyappams when leftover, can also be repurposed into other delicacies like lemon sevai and kotthu appam, while the fermented flatbread is consumed in its original form, with no variations.