Idiyappam or string hoppers as it is otherwise called is one of my favourite mallu breakfasts. I remember all those summer vacations we used to travel to Kerala and get down in the Kottayam Railway station. Our ancestral house is a good 50 kms away from Kottayam city so we go to the bus terminus for the next round of journey. Before starting we always go freshen up and have breakfast at a restaurant in the terminus, and invariable the breakfast for me is idiyappam and motta curry (egg curry). To me it meant the start of our vacation in Kerala. We no longer spend summers in Kerala and it has been at least 3 years since I visited my beautiful hometown Mundakayam but the taste of that hot and steaming Idiyappam and motta curry is still with me.
Nostalgia aside Idiyappam is a favourite with both my husband and me. Except for pressing of the idiyappam mould the rest of it is easy enough. The first time I tried to make idiyappam was after my wedding. The day I made it incidentally my husband’s friends were home and they were quite shocked to see me actually making it, because in Chennai you get precooked ones in most super markets. For all of those who buy and eat precooked packaged idiyappams I have one thing to say, you don’t know what you are missing. It might be a little difficult but I promise you it gets easier with time and the taste of fresh hot idiyappam with coconut is unbeatable. Go ahead good people try it out, I promise you will not regret it.
THEre is a complicated way of Washing and soaking raw rice for a couple of hours. Drain well and allow it to dry completely. Grind it to a fine powder and dry roast it
But if easy is what you are looking for (as I was) do the following. Take
Rice Flour – 2 cups (I use Nirapara brand idiyappam powder)
Water – 1 ½ cups
Salt – as needed
Coconut – as needed
Boil the water with a little salt. Whaen the water is boiling add the powder and stir it till the water is absorbed (a couple of minutes at the most). Keep it aside and wait for it to cool enough for you to knead it till smooth dough.
Take your idly steamer and heat it by pouring sufficient amount of water. Grease the idly plates with a tiny bit of oil and put a light layer of coconut on it. Fill the idiyappam mould with the rice dough and press it in circular movements.
Garnish the idiyappam with a little more coconut on top and place the idly plates in the steamer and cook till done. Hot, steaming idiyappam for your culinary pleasure.
Idiyappams go very well with egg curry, and chicken curry, and vegetable stew too. For children you can give it with a little milk / coconut milk mixed with sugar. Yumm