My 314th recipe, “Idiyappam | String Hoppers”, an easy to make and super delicious South Indian steamed rice noodle. Made simply from rice flour, it becomes the perfect vehicle to mop up delicious curries like Veg Kurma or enjoy it sweet along with sweetened coconut milk for breakfast / tiffin.
Though we are almost towards the end of January, technically, this is still the first recipe for 2017. So I wanted to make a recipe which should be real easy to make, uses minimal ingredients, tastes delicious and yet something which is healthy for you. This recipe perfectly fits the bill.
Idiyappam is one of those dishes which has been my favorite right from childhood. My mom used to serve it with sugar and grated coconut for breakfast. As a kid, I used to absolutely love it. It was so soft and literally melted in my mouth. Also, the noodles shape made it even more fun eating it. Making idiyappam for breakfast was one of the easiest way my mom employed to get me eat breakfast without any qualms. The scenario has not changed any bit now. Idiyappam still remains close to my heart. However, I now enjoy it along with spicy curries as well, as much as I love eating it sweet.
I have been wanting to post this recipe for a longtime now. However, the idiyappam press I purchased a few years back had larger sized holes. When I made idiyappams with it, the strands were so thick and I did not really like it. I kept searching for a while in Indian stores here, but was not successful in finding a good one. So when my mom visited me a few months ago, a good idiyappam press was what I had asked her to bring along from India. Now, I am happy that I could make myself some perfect idiyappams with thins strands of noodles, just like how it should be.
Idiyappam is just a few ingredient recipe with the key ingredient being rice flour. If you want to make the recipe the authentic way like how my mom and grand mom used to make, you will have to start with raw rice. The rice would be soaked in water until soft and then fan dried to the right moisture level. Then the rice was taken to a flour mill, where large machines were employed to grind the rice into a smooth flour. My mom would then use this freshly made rice flour to make idiyappams and the taste would be just sublime.
However, we do not have to go through all the pain now. To recreate this recipe, all you need is a good pack of rice flour. Rice Flour is now a days readily available packaged in supermarkets. And then to the flour just a little water and a bit of salt, oil for flavoring. Then it is as simple as squeezing the dough through the idiyappam press and then steaming it in an idli cooker. Even though the recipe is pretty straight forward, to get your idiyappams to be soft and light, there are a few essential tips to follow. That was the very reason why I decided to make a separate post for this recipe.
- Water - 2 Cups (*refer to notes)
- Oil (preferably Gingelly oil) - 1 tsp + more as needed
- Rice flour | Idiyappam flour - 1 1/2 Cups
- Salt - 1/4 tsp
- First, add the oil to the water and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, turn off the flame.
- In a separate bowl, add the rice flour, salt and mix well. Add about 3/4 Cup of the hot water to the rice flour. Stir with a spatula. Now, continue to add the water little by little to the rice flour and mix well until a soft, smooth and non-sticky dough is formed.
- Once you are able to handle the dough by hand, knead it nicely for 1-2 mins. Grease the inside portion of the idiyappam press. Grease your palm with oil, take a portion of the dough, smoothen it out in your palm and fill it in the press. Similarly, grease the steamer plate. Gently press the idiyappam dough onto the steamer plate, as shown in the pic.
- Steam the idiyappam for about 5 mins, until cooked through. Let the idiyapam to cool down a bit, before gently removing from the steamer plate and transferring to a serving plate.
- Enjoy hot with a side of spicy kurma or sweetened coconut milk.
- I needed only about 1 1/4 Cups of water for 1 1/2 Cups of the flour.
- If your dough is dry, pressing will be difficult and the idiyappam will turn out tough.
- If your dough is watery, the idiyappam strands will stick to each other while cooking.
- Do not overcook the idiyappam, or else it will become tough / rubbery.
- If making a large batch, keep the dough covered with wet cloth.
- Though I have not personally tested / recommend the following product from amazon, you can refer to this link for getting an idea about idiyappam press.
- Suggested Side Dish for Idiyappam:
Savory Kurma or Sweetened Coconut Milk (Coconut Milk + Sugar + Cardamom pods)