Sri Lankan Pancakes
I have a thing for kitchen gadgets, my ‘everything’ drawer in the kitchen accommodates spiralizers, corers, special peeling utensils, micro graters, things that shape potatoes into swans and moustache moulds for puddings. Imagine my joy when my hopper pan arrived in the post. What’s a hopper pan? It’s the vessel, which every Sri Lankan and South Indian household possesses. It’s a squat deep wok, shaped like a deep soup bowl and it transforms rice flour, yeast and coconut milk into Sri Lankan pancakes. In fact Hoppers (Aappa) are contradictory in so many ways, slightly spongy, yet fluffy and crispy all at the same time and as vessels (think Mexican…) they’re perfect as a breakfast, brunch or light meal…in fact they’re amongst my favourite forms of streetfood. Fill them with curry, an egg, light veggie sabzi, pickle, sambol, ketchup…whatever takes your fancy. They’re salty, slightly sweet, sour (from the fermented yeast), sharp and defines Sri Lankan and South Indian food in one bite.
If you don’t possess a hopper pan then use a small frying pan and make the flat version known as Appam, widely eaten in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Whatever your preference flat or hopper shaped, tuck in to this food adventure and park the crepe!
How To Make Sri Lankan Hoppers
Makes 12 or so hoppers
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 400ml lukewarm water
- 450g rice flour
- 1tbs sugar
- 2 tins coconut milk
- 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
- Coconut oil
To make the hoppers, combine yeast and lukewarm water in a bowl and let it sit until it’s foamy for 8-10 minutes. Combine 1 tsp. salt, flour, and sugar in a bowl; add yeast mixture and stir into a batter. Cover, and let rest for about 2 hours. Add coconut milk and baking soda; stir until smooth. Chill the batter for 1 hour.
Heat the hopper pan over a high heat and grease lightly with oil add 80ml batter, and immediately swirl batter around to cover inside surface. Cook until batter begins to set, about 1 minute. Cover and cook until the batter sets and the edges are crispy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Eggs..as many as you like
Pop an egg into the middle of the hopper whilst still cooking, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the white has set but the yoke is wobbly.
Gently decant the hopper edging it out of the pan.
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 carrots grated or finely diced
- 1 courgette finely chopped
- 2 tbs rapeseed or coconut oil
- 3tbs pomegranate seeds as a garnish
- Coriander, for sprinkling
Using a frying, heat the oil over a medium heat and tan the spring onions then quickly add the carrots and courgette, cooking for 3-4 minutes until the carrot has softened. Season with salt and pepper and then partner the filling with the hopper and egg. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves.