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Palappam batter (Kerala Lace Pancakes)

Palappam or vellaappam /lace appam's / Fermented rice pancakes/Kerala Appam's, call it by any name, its delicious. Palappam is a pancake native to Kerala cuisine and is prepared from fermented rice-coconut batter and makes for a delicious breakfast. Typically served alongside stew dishes, which can be either a complete vegetable stew, just simple Potato stew or a meat based like mutton or chicken stew. Growing up, these were the showstoppers of Christmas and Easter and special days. Also it was included in special menu for guests. Now we make them atleast once a month because we love these, especially our son. These appams are extremely easy to make.
In the market, we do get ready made appam powder, and though its extremely easy to make and no planning needed, I would still like to go the traditional way because it does taste better than the ready made ones. Having said that I have used ready made ones, specially when I don't have time or haven't planned, and have unexpected visitors.
The batter is very easy to make, with just few ingredients, you can have crispy, soft appam's served with potato stew or any stew. Lets see how its done. Reference pics and video is uploaded below the recipe.

The batter making process is divided into 3 steps. 
  • Step 1 : Soak the rice (atleast 4-5 hours)
  • Step 2: Grind the rice with other ingredients into a fine paste and make the batter
  • Step 3: Keep it for fermenting for few hours and then make the appams. 
Since the rice has to be soaked and the batter has to be kept for fermentation, there is little bit of planning involved in this process. What I generally do is, plan this 1 day in advance. So in the morning I soak the rice and by evening I grind it and make the batter and keep it to ferment overnight. This way, we can have delicious appams next day for breakfast. Whichever time you choose, make sure you have 5 hrs soaking plus 2 + hours for fermentation in mind. 

This recipe is a traditional kerala style Paal Appams or Rice Pancakes and hence would seem to be the longer way of making the batter, compared to the quick, easy instant ones. But the one extra step in making this batter makes it super soft & tasty. 

Recipe Updated on 17th July 2021

See Notes: **
Ingredients: (Makes about 10- 15 Appam's)
1 cup = 250 ml **
  • 1.5 cups raw rice (soaked for 5 hrs) **
  • Water for grinding
  • 3/4 th cup grated coconut 
  • 1/4 th cup sugar
  • 3/4 th tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast 
  1. You have to start this recipe one day ahead as mentioned above.  
  2. Rinse and soak the rice in water for 4-5 hours. I generally use Ponni raw rice or Sona masoori rice
  3. Once soaked, drain the rice and add it to a food processor or mixer jar 
  4. Add in 1/2 cup of water to this and grind it for about 3-5 mins (till its coarse)
  5. From this take about 2-3 Tbsp of batter in one saucepan, and add 3/4 cup of water
  6. Keep this saucepan on medium heat and keep stirring till the batter becomes thick and resembles a paste like consistency. Make sure to keep on medium heat and stir continuously to avoid burning.
  7. Once done, keep the thick paste like batter aside for cooling (See Video for ease of understanding)
  8. Now, while that is cooling, lets get back to the rest of the batter we have in the grinder jar - To this, add the coconut, sugar and salt
  9. Add just another 1/2 cup of water to grind the rice in to a smooth batter. Grind rice in batches, if necessary. (Do not add more water than mentioned)
  10. Once the rice, coconut, sugar are made into a smooth batter, add in 1/4 Teaspoon yeast, and the thick paste (which we had made & kept for cooling) ** (See Notes)
  11. Grind again for 5 mins or until smooth. Altogether, I added around 1cup of water
  12. Pour this batter into a big vessel/bowl. (See Notes)
  13.  Cover the bowl with a lid and leave to ferment for 8-10 hours or overnight. **
  14.  When the batter has fermented we are ready to make palappams. Try and do not mix the batter much. Just one or two swirls is enough to ensure soft appams.
To make these Appams/ Pancakes: 
  1. Heat pancake pan (traditional appachatti) over medium-high heat.
  2. When the pan is warm, add 1/3 cup or a ladle batter onto the center of the pan. 
  3. Use your both hands to hold the handles of the pan, and swirl the batter towards the sides of the pan. This will form a thin lace design on sides. 
  4. Place the pan back over heat, cover with lid, and leave to cook for 1-2 minutes or until the center of the pancake is cooked through.
  5. Make sure pan is on low-medium heat
  6. Repeat until all the batter is used up. 
  7. Serve these palappams with your favorite side dish. 
  8. We usually serve it with Chicken StewEgg Curry/Roast or any stew of your choice. 
Also check out other easy Breakfast Recipes on the blog as well as other Kerala Recipes 

  • The cup which I use is a 250 ml cup. This yields about 10 -18 Appams. You can use any cup of your choice, but make sure to measure coconut in the same cup as per measurements mentioned in recipe 
  • You can double the amount exactly for more batter 
  • Appam batter is good to use for about max 2 days, if kept in fridge. So make just enough
  • The thick paste mentioned is what makes super soft appams with crispy edges. Try and not avoid the step
  • Make sure to add this paste only once it is completely cold
  • Use good quality yeast and make sure its not expired, or else it won't ferment well
  • Make sure to keep batter in a big vessel, to avoid overflowing of batter once fermented
  • Fermentation of batter completely depends on the weather. Keep it in a warm place for fast fermentation. I usually keep it in oven or microwave if its cold outside. 
Hope you will try this recipe and let me know in comments how it went for you. 

If you like this recipe go ahead and share it, like and subscribe :) 
If you happen to make this do tag me on @lynnskitchenjournal and pin it on Pinterest 

Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comments are valuable to @lynnskitchenjournal


  1. If not nasmatit,cn I use dosa rice

    1. If not basmati, you can use any raw rice. Dosa Rice is Raw rice and should work fine. Do let me know how it turned out for you


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