Warning: This is a very lo-o-o-ng post. If you would rather have just the recipe, then go ahead and read the “The Recipe…” section.
But if you don’t have the Vellayappam batter, I suggest you prepare that first, and then you read this post while the batter is fermenting.
So, you decided to read?
Let’s begin the show…
Scene 1 One Summer afternoon 2013. At home.
My husband announces that we have an invitation to a barbecue party at my friend Sandhya’s house in 10 days.
Sonshine stops whatever he was doing, and starts jumping up and down. He cannot contain his excitement.
My in-laws(who had come to visit us over the summer), are moderately excited.
Your’s truly, starts planning the dish she can promise Sandhya for the party.
Scene 2 A week before the barbecue party, At home.
Your’s truly still has not decided what to bring to the party. Research is on full swing.
Mom-in-law keeps asking me about the dish I am taking to the party.
Scene 3 2 days before the party. At home.
I get a craving for Vattayappam. Its a steamed rice cake typically made by Kerala Christians. It’s very unique in taste and I love it’s sponge like look and texture. I have had it at my christian friend’s homes.
So, I start my research on vattayappam. I find a recipe that looks promising. It’s from Mariasmenu. But there is no time to try it before I make it for the crowd. Mom-in-law is panicking.
I call up Sandhya, tell her I am going to experiment and if it’s a flop, then I am not bringing anything other than 5 hungry people and a super-excited kid to the party. She is supportive of my experiment though I have not revealed what I am trying to bring.
Scene 4 The day of the barbecue party. At home.
The vattayappam is a huge success. Smells good, tried a piece- tastes good. Now, everyone wants to taste. :). I hope I have enough to feed the crowd.
I can see mom-in-law relaxing now.
Scene 5 The party, Sandhya’s House.
Everybody goes gaga over texture and softness of the vattayappam. After a couple of rounds of “Ooh”s and “Aaah”s (for the vattayappam, of course), everybody enjoys it.
>Sandhya recollects that her mom also used to make Vattayappam at home. The only thing thing she remembers about her mom’s recipe is that, her mom used to make it from the Vellayappam batter.
Fast forward to Spring 2014.
Scene 6 Spring 2014. At home. Day before yesterday.
I want to figure out how to make Vattayappam from the Vellayappam batter.
I take 2 cups of Vellayappam batter and mix a sooji (semolina) porridge into it. Smells good. While steaming the vattayappam batter, the mold topples and leaves me a horrible mess to clean and a burnt steamer (Pedavan in Konkani. If you do not how to use the Pedavan, go to “How to use the Pedavan?”). I clean up the mess, wash the steamer and try making one more Vattayappam with leftover batter. I steamed it for about 20 minutes. I open the steamer and I have ended up with a sticky mess – no sponge like texture anywhere in sight. I am disappointed. But, I don’t give up.
I spend the whole night mulling over what went wrong. At 3:00AM it hits me – I have my eureka moment. I have figured out the secret of the semolina porridge.
No, I don’t rush down the stairs to try out the recipe. I love my beauty sleep.
Scene 7 Spring 2014. At home. Yesterday.
I make the Vattayappam just like I had envisioned at 3:00AM and steam it in my almost new (now burnt) Pedavan.
Voila! – a perfect, subtly sweet, spongy, better than bakery made, Vattayappam.
You can use either an idli mold or a dhokla mold to make vattayappam. Wait till the Vattayappam cools down completely before removing it from the mold.
Learn how to make Vellayappam Batter before you proceed to the Vattayappam recipe.
Vattayappam is a steamed rice cake, made of fermented yeast batter. This is typically made by Kerala Christians.
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 2 cups Vellayappam Batter
- 5 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Upma Sooji or semolina
- Raisins for garnish
- Oil for greasing
- Cook the upma sooji or semolina in 1 cup water till loose porridge like consistency. This will take about 4-5 minutes on high heat. Keep stirring continuously.
- Add sugar to the porridge.The sugar will dissolve and loosen up the porridge.
- Reduce the heat and keep cooking the porridge till it becomes thick (another 5 minutes). At this stage, the porridge would be thick and will not fall down in a smooth flow. And it will be reduced to approximately 3/4 cup.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.On cooling, the porridge will thicken a little more and this is OK.[
- Add 2 cups of vellayappam batter to the thick upma sooji porridge and mix well. You can use this batter immediately since the batter is already fermented.
- Heat water in a steamer.
- Grease a dhokla mold or idli molds with a little oil.
- Pour the batter into the dhokla mold (fill only 3/4 of the mold) and garnish with raisins on the edge.This batter is sufficient to fill two dhokla molds (approximately 7 inches in diameter).
- Alternatively, you can fill the batter into idli molds and garnish with raisins. Note that this batter is sufficient for about 10 idlis.
- Steam for about 15-20 minutes. The vattayappam is ready, when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Cool the vattayappam before you remove it from the mold into the serving plate.Cut into wedges or squares to serve.
- If you have used idli molds to make the vattayappams, serve them as is, no need to cut them.
Use only the un-roasted sooji to make the porridge.
Never stop stirring while making the sooji porridge.
Make sure the Vattayappam is at room temperature before you remove it from the mold. You can use a knife to loosen the edges.
Please note that this recipe does not work with the batter made with instant vellayappam powder that you get in stores.