500gmraw rice(I prefer aged B.T. rice, though any other rice can be used)
100gmmaida(refined white whear flour)
50gmbeaten rice(thin flakes do best)
50gmcoconut kernel or copra
300gmjaggery(unrefined cane sugar)
50gmripe nendran banana(peeled) (see note 1)
500mlcoconut oil(to deep-fry) (see note 2)
Soak the rice in water for an hour. Wash, drain and keep aside.
Dip the beaten rice in a vessel containing around a liter of water and lift out immediately with a strainer. Set aside.
Chop the banana roughly to pieces and set aside.
Shell the cardamom and put aside.
Slice the coconut kernel or copra into thin slivers of 3 mm (1/8-inch) thickness. Chop each sliver into 1 cm (1/3-inch) wide pieces and keep aside.
Put the jaggery together with 50 ml. of water into a pan and set on low heat. Stir until the jaggery melts fully. Sieve and set aside.
Put the rice, the beaten rice, the banana, the maida, the grated coconut, the cardamom seeds and the melted jaggery together into a vessel.
Use your food processor to grind the mixture into superfine paste (in two or three batches if necessary) using the remaining water (200 ml).
Transfer to a mixing bowl and tip in the coconut slices. Stir well and let the batter rest for an hour.
Set a deep cast-iron wok on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil (see note 2).
As soon as the oil is quite hot (it should not smoke), stir the batter again. Pour in a ladleful of batter into the hot oil(125 ml.). Turn down the heat to medium.
Within a minute, you can see the neyyappam rise. The batter which had sunk to the bottom starts to curl upwards and begins to float.
Flip it over gently and fry for a minute. Flip again twice or thrice more until it has fried for a total time of three and a half minutes from inception.
Lift out and drain off the excess oil. Continue with the next one, taking care to stir the batter each time, until all the batter is finished. You will have 15 beautiful, soft and fluffy neyyappams.
You will love to bite on the bits of crunchy coconut as you chew. Enjoy!
If ripe nendran banana is not available, use any smaller banana of the yellow-skinned variety.
Neyyappams sold all over kerala in teashops are generally fried in coconut oil or other cooking oils. However, neyyappams or unniyappams distributed as prasadam (consecrated food offering) in temples are deep-fried in ghee (clarified butter). It is traditionally prepared by manually pounding the rice grown in temple fields using huge wooden mortars and pestles. These appams, while hard, are truly delicious and have a much longer shelf life. They are fried over a smoky wood fire and are dark brown in color. The aroma is indeed inviting enough to coax the gods down to earth! What about us mortals?!