Friday, April 15, 2011

Vattayappam / Vatteppam (Steamed Sweet Rice cakes)

I am a different kind of cook. I feel like that. What do you think?
I can  make a simple recipe complicated and make a complicated recipe sound simple. Not true except in this case. I haven't been taking part in the monthly ICC for some time now. Reason being forgetting to do it on time. When Srivalli, who by the way organizes this asked me about this cake, I realized I had less than 2 days to make it so that I could post on 15th of this month. Original recipe narrated by Srivalli can be found here. I however deviated from the recipe by couple of miles I should say. Firstly, I didn't soak and grind the rice. Secondly, I came up with a very easy step to do it without complicating the process and without compromising the taste. You see, I love yeast and to a certain extent, I can say I do understand yeast. And having baked many bread recipes made me pull this off.

One Year Back - Sago Murukku
Rice flour - 1 1/2 cups (approximately. By weight 7.2 Oz)
Sugar - 1/2 cup + 1 TBSP
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup (from the can)
Water - 2 cups or more divided use (See Notes)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Instant yeast - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom - 5 - 6 pods crushed into powder
Sweetened or Unsweetened Shredded coconut - 3 - 4 TBSP (See Notes)

Measure rice flour in a large bowl. Take 2 TBSP of this flour and make a thin paste / roux with 1 cup of water. Take it in a sauce pan and heat it stirring constantly until it becomes gelatinous and starts leaving the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat. To this mixture, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and stir. Check to see if it is luke warm temperature. To the rice flour bowl, add salt, 1 TBSP of sugar, yeast. Pour the cooked rice flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Slowly start adding warm water about 1/4 cup at a time to make a thick idli consistency or pancake consistency batter. Set aside in a warm place to ferment about 4 - 6 hours.

Towards the end of fermentation time, you should be able to smell the yeast and when you stir the batter down, you should see lot of holes in the batter. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, cardamom powder and stir.
Toast the coconut flakes in a dry skillet until golden and fragrant. Set aside. This batter is enough to make an 8" round cake. But I wanted to try two ways one way by steaming in the pressure cooker and the other by baking in the oven. I divided them between ramekins and steamed 3 ramekins and baked in 2 square ramekins. Pour the batter into greased (I used vegetable oil spray) pan and sprinkle the toasted coconut on the top.

To steam cook:
Place the pan in the pressure cooker and steam it without using the weight for 20 - 30 minutes. You can turn off the heat, open the lid when it is safe to do so and check for the doneness of the cake by inserting a toothpick. If still not done, close the pressure cooker lid and continue to steam for another 5 minutes or so.

To bake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the pan in the oven and bake until done. Since I used the square shaped ramekins, it took about 30 - 35 minutes. Since this has absolutely no fat and rice flour doesn't have gluten, it started getting small cracks on the top. That is when I tented them with aluminum foil and baked till they were done. Kind of similar to boston brown bread method I should say. Check with the toothpick and bake further if needed.
Once cool, run a knife and remove from the mould.

Enjoy. Pin It


  1. Beautiful rice cake one of the best presentations I have seen yet.Love the toasted coconut touch.Looks simply mouthwatering. Awesome clicks too.

  2. You have got very nice, spongy appams. I have seen recipes using rice flour too. Liked your version too. Short and easy with guaranteed spongy appams

  3. Beautiful...these have come out so spongy.

  4. Spongy cakes looks fabulous, i prepared them from the scratch,ur short and easy method sounds truly interesting..

  5. wonderful spongy cakes....lovely....

  6. Neat improvisation! we sure loved this cake!

  7. wow, it has come out so well and I love your presentation and idea of cooking them in small bowls :)

  8. very nicely done....u did it in a few hours i should say, instead of overnite soaking!...a neat trick! They look perfect!
    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

  9. You do love baking, no doubt about that.. I think you are probably the only one who baked the rice cakes for this challenge. You indeed are a different kind of a cook.. :)

  10. So very well done.I do have a question though,how did the baked version taste was it similar to steamed one in consistency and taste.

  11. Champa those appams look so porous and spongy..very nice that you used rice flour and got an easy way..will have to try this method too..looks like last year this time you did ICC too..:)

  12. Very creative Champa. Your recipe is definitely quick and simple. Lovely pics.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  13. Thanks everyone for leaving a comment.
    Tastewise, baked one was same but a bit dry compared to the steamed one. But having said that, the texture wise the baked one came out more like a cake with uniform pores. I was in a hurry to show the difference. I do however think that by adding a bit of baking soda, baked version will come out better.

    Usha, thanks for reading the entire content.

  14. Thank you Champa for taking time to let me know how the baked version turned out.


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