Nei Appam or neyyappam as its called is made during Karthigai Deepam in all South Indian households as a neivedhyam. It is usually made by soaking rice for few hours and grinding it into a batter and then sweetened by adding jaggery to it. The batter is then deep fried in ghee itself and hence it got its name, as “Nei” means “Ghee” (clarified butter). But now-a-days, no one deep fries the appams let alone entirely in ghee. All have switched to using kuzhi paniyaram pans. I had wanted to try out the instant version of this appam by using processed rice flour as we do soak the rice and grind them. It did turn out with soft and pillowy appams and it was not hard at all as I thought.
- I used 1 full, small poovan variety banana. if you are using long variety banana like robusta use just 1/2 of the fruit.
- The jaggery i used was clean, so i used it as it is. if yours have any impurities, then heat 2-3 tbsp of water in a bowl. add the jaggery and let it dissolve, filter it and then use the syrup for grinding.
- I added a pinch of salt as it enhances the sweetness of the appam.
- If you are dieting or calorie conscious and do not wish to cook with ghee but still want to enjoy its flavor, mix 1/2 to 1 tsp of ghee to the batter and mix well and use oil for greasing the pan and cooking the appam.
- If you do not have the paniyaram pan, you can always deep fry them in oil. just pour a small ladle full of batter into hot oil and cook till golden brown, flip it over and when cooked, drain onto a kitchen paper.