Wednesday, August 17, 2011



…yaaa, I’m enjoying it right now while writing this blog. Next-day reheated Tropical Carrots and Shrimp Curry are still good – I put it over plain rice for my take-from-home lunch. For additional healthy note I liberally sprinkled sesame seeds on top, I always have jar of toasted sesame seeds in my freezer.
So, back to business – here it is, my first accomplished Daring Kitchen challenge: appam with Tropical Carrots and Shrimp Curry. IMHO, appam come out good, tasty, though a bit yeasty flavored as for me. It’s something I enjoyed making but would probably never do again because of two-day processing which is not too practical in my full time professional occupation situation. Tropical Carrots and Shrimp Curry is totally different – loooved it and will be cooking again.. and perhaps again… and again.
Blog-checking lines: Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving
1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
about ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)
Carrots with Tropical Flavors
Servings: 4 as a side dish
1 pound (½ kg) carrots, about 5 medium, peeled
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
about 8 fresh curry leaves
2 tablespoons (30 ml/15 gm) minced seeded green cayenne chiles
3 tablespoons (45 ml/27 gm) minced shallots
2 teaspoons (10ml) rice vinegar (I used lime juice)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/6 gm) salt
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml/1 gm) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) coconut milk
¼ cup (50 ml) water
coarse salt, optional
cilantro (coriander) leaves to garnish
Shrimp in Coconut Milk
Servings: 6
This is a creamy, spicy and delicious shrimp dish. When you cut the shrimp in half lengthwise, they curl like corkscrews.
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) mustard seed
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml/½ gm) fenugreek seeds
10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
2 cups (480 ml/480 gm/½ lb) thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons (10ml/8 gm) minced garlic
1 teaspoon (5ml/4 gm) minced ginger
2 fresh green chiles, split lengthwise
2 teaspoons (10 ml/10 gm) tomato paste
Ground masala
● 4 teaspoons (20 ml/7 gm) ground coriander
● ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/1½ gm) paprika
● ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) cayenne
● ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) black pepper
1¼ teaspoons (6¼ ml/7½ gm) salt
¾ cup (180 ml) coconut milk
1 ½ pounds (750 gm) medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined and sliced in half lengthwise if large

Let’s start with boring, almost black-and-white picture. As everything is at the beginning. Rice is sitting and soaking in tap water for 3 hours (I’m free and I’m watching Master Chef episode meanwhile)

 2 teaspoons of sugar, ½ cup warm water and 1 ½ teaspoon of dry easts created this wonderful puff.

Show’s over and here is where the fun begins. Soaked rice, cooked rice, yeast mixture are thrown into the blender and ground for about 5 (or 7 or 10?) minutes. After that I decide it’s not smooth enough and pull out big guns - my hard working, never-fail tool – handheld mixer. I use it for mashed potato, mojito, fruit puree, and so on, and on and on. Almost instantly it makes my batter smooth and silky.

Looks good, isn’t it? I found that batter is really feels good when you touch it with your fingers, white, velvety, almost speaking to you.

I guess it’s ready to stay overnight on my counter for fermentation.

Wow, it’s acting, I mean rising fast.

Better be safe than sorry – I’m moving it to bigger jar.

All set up. Good night to you, batter. Be good.

Good morning! Fermentation gone wild. A moth was the first victim of this cooking challenge. Well, we’ve suffered some losses but I, being wise, made double batch so I still have most of material, i.e batter, left.
That’s it. Ready to be cooked. Sorry, not right now dear. Go to fridge and wait until I come from work, cook you and eat you.

It is final batter, taken from the fridge and boosted with coconut milk and some salt. Looks fantastic.

Everybody is hungry and waiting for dinner. This makes easier to delegate some tasks…

Carrots are shredded with one of my favorite tools..

Curry leaves – these have very warm, some kind of disturbing aroma – took me a little bit of effort to find in Indian shops.

Carrots are almost done. It didn’t take long to cook, whole dish was ready in about 10 minutes (ok, maybe 15 at most).


Close-up view – even yummier.

Ginger is awaiting for garlic to be peeled and minced. I actually took shortcut and used fine shredder for garlic (as I always do) because my kids yelling for food louder and louder. Everything is ready to start cooking shrimp curry.

Oops, those bamboo leaves sitting on my kitchen island got under camera lenses accidentally, but they are so beautiful that I decided to fit this pic in.

What a color. Curry is ready for shrimps to dive in.

Tomato paste with coconut milk created incredible orange color.

Here comes a shrimp. I decided to save some time and not to split shrimps in half as Mary recommended.  I’m bad and always trying to take shortcuts wherever possible. Please forgive me.

Not quite ready yet, couple more minutes.

I HAVE TO taste it, right? At this moment, my youngest is giving up and steals some shrimp. He made a good point that his growing body cannot wait anymore.

I have to cook appams quickly, I mean QUICKLY before the shrimp curry is devoured.

First one is going through quality control under my kitchen soffits – perfectly lacy, good to go. Who’s first to try?

So…I’ll mount carrots or shrimps (or both!) in a middle and then what?!
What is the right way to eat it? I was trying to find it out on a web – no luck, no picture of human actually eating appam whatsoever, none.

 I decided I won’t make pictures of us eating it for understandable reasons.

Perfect appam sponge, looks like a bee's nest.

Tropical carrots turn out really good – not much left (on a background). Now it’s nice and quiet, no hungry voices anymore, kids like it. Me too, especially carrots.  Shrimps are good also.

I guess I like it crunchier. Actually appam looks like my homeland well-known from childhood thin blintzes, though they made of wheat flour, quick in preparation and cooking and taste differently. We ate’m just with sour cream and preserves, or honey, or stuffed’m with array of thing starting from sweet cottage cheese and ending up with minced cooked meat. Good stuff too. But differrent.
By the way, to satisfy my sweet tooth, I had to end my dinner with appam sprinkled with coconut milk and sugar – what a treat! I’ve got this idea somewhere from the net. So appam turned out to be very versatile meal – start with savory and finish with sweet variation.

Next day, carrots and shrimp leftovers go right onto rice for my take-at-work lunch. Sesame seeds added for some additional nutritional value.
Thank you, Mary, for very adventurous (and tasty!) dish. Carrots definitely go straight on my permanent home menu list as it falls under my Permanent Menu requirements: healthy, tasty, fast.

I’ve been nice and asked my fancy-shmency rice cooker to make some rice while I’m watching my show. This rice will feed my family today while I’m busy with first-day appam preparation. 2 tablespoons of cooked rice (below) are waiting to be added to soaked rice and executed in blender later on.

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