Palappam: You Can’t Miss This Special Kerala-Style Pancake

The humble palappam is a huge favourite not only within the Malayali community hailing from Kerala, but also among those who savour South Indian food in general. Among the best known exports from Kerala besides its spices, is the Appam. The culinary tastes of all the communities who inhabit the Southernmost and smallest state down South, may differ but they all agree that Appam is among the top three favourites dishes which can be enjoyed not just with different chutneys, like coconut chutney or gunpowder but also a variety of stews and curries.   

While the dosai or dosa as is more commonly known, and finds first mention in Tamil Sangam literature of 6th Century AD, the more delectable Appam is mentioned in the Perumpanuru in 5th Century. Not only that, veteran food critic and writer Vir Sanghvi mentions that the ‘Appam recipe has remained unchanged for over 16 centuries’. Here’s the recipe for Palappam.

Preparation time: 24 hours

Cooking time: 2-3 mins

Servings: 15-17 


  • 1½ cup raw rice
  • 1 tbsp urad dal 
  • 1 cup puffed rice
  • 1 cup fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1¼ cup water


For the batter

  • Take the rice, add urad dal, wash, clean and soak the duo overnight in 3 cups of water. 
  • Take the puffed rice, rinse well, add ½ cup water and soak for at least 10 minutes.
  • After 5 hours, drain the water from the rice and grind into a fine paste, by adding little by little water.
  • Take murmura and mix it with 1 cup coconut, again add little water at a time, and grind into a fine paste.
  • Mix the two mixtures and make one batter in the same bowl and check consistency. 
  • Add salt, cover, and keep it for 15 hours for fermenting. The batter will rise like the dosa batter.
  • Add sugar, mix it well.

For the appam

  • Preheat a cast iron wok – preferably small or midsize, and season it with a little bit of oil dipped in a cotton ball. 
  • Run the cotton ball (or a kitchen tissue paper ball dipped in oil) across the base and sides of the wok and it’s ready for use. 
  • Do not use too much oil as the batter will not stick to the wok’s side during cooking. 
  • Take a medium-sized ladle and pour the batter in the center.
  • Then lift the wok carefully by its handles using mittens, and swirl it so that a thin coat of batter sticks to the sides of the wok, and forms a properly shaped Appam (thick in the Centre and thin on the sides).
  • Cover it with a lid for a couple of minutes till the edges of the appam turn crispy and start separating from sides of the wok.
  • Gently remove /unstick the palappam from the sides and the bottom of the wok with a flat spatula.
  • Serve it hot with any curry or chutney.