KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — Move over pancakes, the appam is a much better way to perk up your mornings. Popular with the Sri Lankans, the appam is a special pancake made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk.
Madhur Jaffrey who is well regarded as an authority on Indian cuisine describes the appam as a love child of the French crepe and English muffin.
So, you have crisp lace-like edges paired with a plump spongy centre scented with coconut milk. It’s usually cooked in shallow bowl-like pans known as appachatti over a hot fire.
Generally, there are two versions served at the stalls here. One known as paal appam has a soft undercooked centre where coconut milk is added into the centre when it’s still cooking in the pans. This creates a softer centre with a richer taste.
The other version has a honeycomb doughy texture that is slightly firmer. Usually, this version is served with a little metal bowl filled with sweetened coconut milk for you to dip your appam. You can usually order your appam plain, enhanced with a sprinkle of brown sugar or cooked with an egg for additional protein.
Om Shakti Chelo Appam Stall, Lorong Ara Kiri 3, Lucky Gardens, Bangsar, KL. Open: 12pm to 10pm. Closed on Sundays.
The ruling queen of appams is found at this stall behind TMC. Be patient, as they slowly cook each appam in the mini pans. You will be rewarded with appam that has a soft coconut rich centre and crispy edges. If you prefer a sweeter version, opt for the brown sugar variant that has a caramelised kick as it is enhanced with a sprinkle of brown sugar. The stall also does a great selection of kuih including a delicious kuih ketayap where the rice flour pancake is paired with freshly grated coconut and gula Melaka syrup.
Love Mom Restaurant,12D, Lorong Menalu, Taman Chi Liung, Klang. Open: 7am to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 7am to 1pm (Saturday and Sunday). Closed on Mondays.
It will be worth your time to search out this place that is popular with the Klang folks. Run by Aunty Parames, who is half Sri Lankan, everyone drops by for their appam fix. You can’t stop at just one, so be prepared to eat more of these delicate pancakes with their oh-so-creamy centres till you are satisfied. For lunch, there’s a selection of eats with a home cooked taste to choose from to pair with chapatis or rice.
Restaurant Yarl, No. 50, Jalan Padang Belia, Brickfields, KL
Here’s a place that everyone pops by for their Sri Lankan fix from breakfast to lunch time. Even though this place serves unusual fare like puttu mayam, puttu goreng or even just steamed puttu with mashed bananas, they also make excellent appams. These lace doily-like pancakes are cooked upon order, where you have a choice for the coconut milk to be cooked in the appam or served on the side as a dip. Go for the version where the coconut milk is cooked with the appam and you will be happy with the soft wobbly centres.
Restoran K.R. Mani Curry House, Jalan Ipoh (next to Tadika St James), KL. Open: 7am to 11pm.
This stall located next to the Tadika St.James along Jalan Ipoh is popular for its Indian fare available the whole day. Walk in from 4.30pm onwards and you will spot every table has an obligatory appam that is available till 11pm. As the stall is quite small, there’s an extension next door in the open air car park. Here the appam tends to be the spongy version that you dip into coconut milk. It’s delicious when paired with a glass of their excellent teh tarik. They offer plain, brown sugar and egg varieties, whereby the egg version tends to be slightly overcooked. Nevertheless it’s a nice savoury touch to the pancake.
A Li Yaa Island Restaurant & Bar, 48G&M, Medan Setia 2, Plaza Damansara, Damansara Heights, KL.
This Sri Lankan restaurant serves appam with choices like the plain, sweet and egg version. Unlike the other places, this appam has a deeper bowl-like shape that means you get a higher crispy shell ratio. The center of the appam is slightly undercooked with the addition of coconut milk. Enjoy the sweet version sprinkled with brown sugar or the one with a perfectly cooked bull’s-eye egg. For dessert, the luxe Fire Bomb where the appam is doused with brandy and lit up, makes a spectacular side show that is sure to wow your dining companions.