Appam (Sourdough Rice Pancakes)

READY IN: 12hrs 30mins


  • 2
    cups raw rice (non-glutinous, neededmedium-grain)
  • 1
    whole coconut
  • 12
    teaspoon yeast, granules dissolved in a little
  • coconut water or hot water
  • 14
    teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1
    teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
  • 14
    teaspoon baking soda (if needed, in the event the batter does not rise)


  • Start 12+ hours in advance of mealtime.
  • Immerse the raw rice in at least double the amount of water. Soak for 4-5 hours.
  • Break open the coconut into two halves, reserving the water.
  • Grate the coconut. Put aside 4 cups for the appams. The rest can be used for making Sweetened Coconut Milk.
  • Seven+ hours in advance of mealtime:
  • Drain the soaked rice. Grind it along with 4 cups grated coconut and cooked rice to a fine thick paste. Add 1 cup of the reserved coconut-water as needed to grind smoothly.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl, at least 3 times the volume of the batter (~2 gallon mixing bowl), leaving room for the batter to rise.
  • Add the yeast and mix lightly. Mix in the salt and sugar to taste.
  • Allow to ferment for at least 6 hours at room temperature, ideally 90 degrees F. If your room is above 90, ferment less time, or the appam will be very sour. If your room is cooler, keep the batter warm in a gas oven (with a pilot light). Alternately, warm your electric oven to its minimum and let cool to 110 before putting batter inside. A yogurt maker also provides the right temperature environment.
  • Add baking soda, if needed for puff in the event that the batter did not rise much.
  • Heat a small non-stick wok, ideally a small curved bottom one to get rounded cup-like appams.
  • Pour approximately half a cup of batter and quickly but gently swirl the pan around such that only a thin layer of the batter covers the sides and a thick layer collects at the bottom.
  • Cover with a lid and cook each appam on medium heat for about 3 minute(s) or till the edges have become golden crisp and start lifting off the wok. The centre should be soft and spongy. A well-fermented batter will form small lacey holes all over the appam while cooking.
  • Repeat for each appam. It is faster to have 2 pans going at the same time.
  • Serve with Sweet Coconut Milk.