Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Does this look like Orappam ? Want to learn more about this snack from YOU !

Orappam...An attempt out of curiosity!

I know that would have been a more appropriate title for this post but my curiosity and desire to learn more about this old world snack from Kerala, got me into thinking that I might be able to catch the attention of some experts out there who would enlighten me with some info about this snack, we have never heard of or tasted in our lives.

The moment I read the name it sounded magical and I was sure, it’s something from the old world. Sarah’s words painted a nostalgic and realistic picture of her grand mom making it for her in her childhood and drew me closer to it and tickled my curiosity, ever since I spotted this recipe in her blog, along with the raisin pickle I tried sometime back.

Finally I decided to give my favourite companion laziness a break and satisfy Ms. Curiosity atleast for once ! Though it took only 10 months to really shake me off of my laziness, I finally made it !

I halved the measurements and followed Sarah’s recipe blindly. As we sank our teeth into it and the taste buds got acquainted, we started telling each other, “ …….mm……a taste very familiar yet unknown……a taste of childhood yet vague……..a taste and smell recognizable from our mothers and grandmother’s kitchens yet new …..

As one of her readers has rightly commented , it truly captures that quintessential taste and smell of Kerala’s traditional snacks and for some reason, I felt it is a distant relative of Vattayappam made with jaggery. I had strong temptations to substitute brown sugar with sharkkara or sharkkara paani ( jaggery/melted jaggery) but without having any prior point of reference for the level of sweetness or the consistency of batter or even a picture to refer to, I decided to stick to the recipe this time. Soon I realised that even with substitutions, Sarah was successful in developing that recipe and still bring out the traditional taste predominant in Kerala snacks.

Thanks Sarah for such delicious treats from your blog!

Did I tickle your curiosity? Go ahead and give it a try ? :) If you re like us, you can’t just stop with one slice!!

I would love to know more about this snack……

Is the ones in the pictures close to the real deal?
Did I get the texture and colour right?
Is it a specialty of any particular region?
Is it made during any particular festival time or a regular evening snack?
Have you made this at home? If so, I would like to hear your stories, memories and ofcourse, how you make it at home.

If you can throw some light on this, please take a moment to drop a line here in the comment section or mail me . I really appreciate your time and effort.

Thanks in advance!

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Umm..Its difficult to say till U can taste it I guess.But I remember this being made at home..even recently for my wedding as well...That was some collective effort of a lot of people and my inlaws were quite amused by it since they havent eaten it before(So Im guessing its not from Ernakulam side and must be more towards travancore side)
    It involved a long process and I remember the aunt who made it saying that the mixing should be done in 'kanal purathu'...thats what they did atleast for my engagement..
    I do remember having it only during festival time..But then we were never into elaborate evening snacks..So cant comment for sure.
    And I think you do use sharkkara paani in the original.
    The consistency looks the same.So Im guessing you got it right.And apparently its called 'oru appam' since its done at one go and everyone in the family ahs to dig in from that piece.(Im not sure of this info..its hearsay).We made couple of em in small sizes..soo..

    Phew..thats all I know about orappam..:)

  2. I have heard about it and there was an article in Vanitha magazine sometime back. I'm sorry I cannot be much of a help. My cousin had asked me long back for this recipe (that's the first time I have heard abt it :P ).It seems her dad wants her to make it for him (cos that's the only dish he can connect with to his childhood ).I really hope someone can answer all your questions :)All the best! ♥

  3. I really like old world recipes from Kerala......Thr speciality is creating multiple levels of taste by using absolutely basic ingredients(rice coconut jaggery)...They might hv been a little labour intensive with modern gadegtory I m sure we cn russle them up with ease....

    It would do culinary world a lot of good if few of us could compile such erstwhile recipes by tlkng to our ammachis,ammumas and patummas.....wen kerala cuisine metmorphised itself into manchurians,puffs and parottas....orappams gt buried deep below.....I think its high time we resurrect such long lost recipes in our kitchens....

    Kudos to you tht being in USA u r conjuring up such amazing recipes in ur kitchen.....we cn all tk insipration from here rarely goes beyond Eastern Curry masala and ready to make powders...

  4. this is something i have only a vague memory of.

    as for the recipe you had asked for, unfortunately i don't have it with me. if i remember right, the recipe was from a book called 'veettammakku oru kaithoozhi'.
    my sister had flicked my mother's copy of that book. i'll check with her and let you know.
    writing about it i feel like having a full duck roast all by myself :-)

  5. The moment I read your post title, I thought of Sarah.
    I remember making this orappam (not so common or famous in Trivandrum, I think, where I hail) last year and it came out looking similar to your picture one.

  6. Orappam is a Central Kerala Recipe!..

    Just Like Madakkappam,Unniappam, Neyyappam etc, Orappam falls under the Menu of "Naalu mani palaharams"..and hmmm Not a breakfast shot as far as I know...

    Ingredients of orappam is much different from Vattayappam,as Orappam calls for "varutha" pacharipodi, eggs, ghee, sarkara, cake jeerakam, Jathikka etc where as the former is more of a Rice bread(fermented with yeast, sweetened with Sugar)

    Moreover the cooking methods of the two differ as well.
    V.Appam is steam cooked and Orappam is baked.

    The Great Cook Mrs KM Mathew has her traditional version(close to Sarah's) in "Nadan Pachakarama"...the book I Treasure, since handed over personally to me by her as my Wedding Gift!..

  7. i only know kinnathappam and kalthappam.. this is news to me. with rice, coconut and jaggery, u can't go wrong though!

  8. This something completely new for looks very much like the appam we make on maundy thursday...

  9. hi i think another name for this is "kinnathappam" & its common among muslims.. during Ramzan season they make a lot.

  10. i love your recipes a lot & tried most of them ..i read your blog everyday like i read my mail ..from which part of Kerala are you from ? mail me i like to be your friend ..i am in Florida .

  11. What a yummy looking cake is that?I am definitely trying this out today.No idea though about its history.Sorry.And yes, as someone mentioned earlier congratulations on the good work at reviving traditional recipes.

  12. Updates..

    1)Orappam is a delicacy of Catholics in Kerala.

    2)Since Catholics are confined in Thrissur,Paravoor,Ernakulam,KTM..can be mentioned as a Central Kerala Recipe.

    3)Orappam was made in Catholic homes until a few years ago for Christmas and Easter and is more of a wedding give away("Kalyana Palaharam" shared among the core family members)these days.(Just like Vattayappam,Mavunda, Kozhalappam etc, a give away for Jacobites)

    4)This has a deep brown hue(due to the addition of "sarkkara pani"...and supposed to be a little moist(ghee, eggs,the fat in the coconut-milk make it so)... should look somewhat like "Pachoru".... Orappam is generally sliced like "Halwa" and served on a flat tray.

    ...I havent tried or tasted Orappam...can send you the recipe in Nadan Pachakarama, if you are interested..

  13. Wow this looks so good! Pefectly sliced! I have never had this till now. Nice to know about this traditional snack. Also from the description and comments I should say addition of jaggery would definitely add up the taste..but I agree with you..its a little tricky to add it, not knowing the quantity!

  14. It looks like kinnathappam.My amma used to prepare it with rice flour,jaggery.We also add dried mango seeds powder in it.


  15. Jina, well, you know a LOT !!Trust me, this was exactly the sort of account I was looking for it's woven into family functions ......and the fact that they made it for ur engagememnt for the groom's side shows how much of significance and class is given to this snack!! It's like part of a family tradition. From ur account and Sarah's descriptions, one thing I find in common is the use of coal and the labour intensive part..with so much of effort, it is hard to make it for an evening snack..........I wish I knew ur aunt or atleast was part of ur engagement :)....... If I am not asking too much , pls keep this in mind and next time u speak to this aunt of urs or mom, pls try to get more info on this......and what would be more ideal is an article about this , in ur your blog, with family anecdotes and stories and how it was made for ur engagement....that would be a very priceless piece of info u can give us and the next generation , as the readers would find it more personal with so much of family element in is difficult to find such info these days, especially online, please, if time and place permits, think of a this piece of writing...:) Am sure many would find it very very interesting. if you dig thru ur engagement album, u might even find a pic of this humble orappam in some corner ;)Thanks a lot for penning down this much info here :)

    Ria, when a dad makes a comment like that , it means this was really a tasty snack of the yesteryears....!!Sad that we don't know many of these stuff....yeah, vanitha seems to be doing a good job in that area...last time , I made a similar post , a blogger sent me some scanned copies from an issue where they featured lots of such old world snacks....thanks anyway :)

    Anon, that was a very interesting comment , especially with a touch of sarcasm :D you re so right about creating multiple levels of taste with the trio: rice+ many snacks to list out with the same trio but so different yet similar in some way...and metamorphosis is inevitable and good too, provided WE make the right balance by preserving a slice of the past and handing it down to the next gen...just like how our parents did...gave us unniappam one day and still let us have those meat puffs , the next day from the nearest bakery, ..:) Thanks a lot for dropping by and making us smile in the morning itself :) and compilation of erstwhile recipe, I am in ...joining me? :)

    Bindu, atleast u have a memory to go back to :) and hey, no hurry, take ur time to flick that copy from ur sis :P just kidding....wish she still has that book...:)

  16. Upsilamba, thank you very much for your message...was really surprised to hear from u mainly 'coz i did think of mailing you with this same doubt when I read ur comment in hers but later dropped the idea thinking I shouldn't disturb anyone to satisfy my curiosity and craziness;) so i was really glad to get ur comment..thx a lot :)

    Bharathy, your second comment makes sense and thanks for so much of info. yeah, considering the labour involved, it must have been a part of festival and wedding fare..... sarah's recipe does give you a moist one . Again , thx for taking time and effort to share these info and thx for the offer too, but my friend has already promised to send me a copy of the same.....Also the reference to vattayappam in my post is about a snack made at home from the leftover appam batter and melted jaggery, and deft'ly not the classic pristine white airy vattayappam which I wouldnt even dare to compare with this one...both are worlds apart for sure!

    Mallugirl, thats exactly what i thought when i read her recipe can something go wrong with that combo....and i knew I was on the right track the moment i started boiling coconut milk with cashew....believe, the aroma was soo good :)

    Mathew, i have tasted two tiny slices of pesaha/indari appam only once, that too a couple years back for the fist time....and i liked it too....Liz, the girl who contributed chicken biryani recipe to us had sent me the recipe for this pesaha appam too , before last easter...but I couldnt get to it at that time...may be next year, oru kai nokkam :)

    raji, i havent tasted the north kerala style kinnathappam , so dont know....very happy to know that you enjoy this space...thx a lot for the feedback...:) me from the central kerala

    Poornima, yes, sort of a "naadan" cake :) hope u like the taste...and all the credit should go to sarah for developing a recipe that comes close to her granny's version and sharing it with us...else i wouldnt have known that such a thing existed...!

    Pooja, yeah...if a dish is completely new to me, i usually stick to the recipe given the first time I try...that way i get an idea what to target for the next time i make substitutions....but even with brown sugar, it tastes yum..u just cant stop with one :)

    Deepthy, as i said earlier, i have never tasted the north kerala kinnathappam...towads the central kerala, it;s a different style of prep....i have heard the ones from kannur and malabar area is very tasty...thanks a lot for dropping by!


  17. mishmash, you have a wonderful site here. the amount of time you put into compiling these recipes, top of the line pictures and of course the nostalgic and lively writeups make this site a unique and wonderful reference for anyone looking for Kerala recipes. Thanks a bunch for the effort you put into it. I have made a few of your recipes and they have come out delicious every time. Have not eaten 'orappam' but it looks yummy. Do keep up the good work and thanks for keeping this space!

  18. This is something completely new to me, i must say very different sweet, would love to try this sometime, i hope you find all your answers!

  19. orappam!!! drooling at the very thought of it..this is one dish i plead my mom/grandma to make on my trips back to india..though laborious with the old world style of baking on coal..the taste makes it totally worth all the trouble :) I am from trivandrum and it comes as a surprise to me that this dish isnt known in other parts of kerala...

  20. At first, it looks a little like burfi, but the second photo distinctly shows a crust with a soft, yet set center. Of course, I have no knowledge to satisfy your curiosity, Shn, but I would love to try it. I'll bet it is ultra sweet and dense. : }

  21. I have tasted orappam, my sister's mother-in-law ( she is from Changanacherry) would make it and it is very, very delicious. Don't know the exact recipe but know it is mainly coconut milk and rice flour and baked on top of 'kanal'for a long time.
    It is very soft ( almost pudding like) and you can slice it and taste is unbelievable.

  22. Lan, I should thank you for leaving such a warm and sweet comment and also for writing about maga thera :)

    Parita, m..getting closer!

    Deep, each time i get such comments with taste memories, i yearm for it more and more...and i want to have the version on kanal itself :) i hope u can talk to ur mom/granny to get us more info on this!

    Susan, yeah, as i looked more and more at that pic, i felt it looked like one of those indian sweets...this is not ultra sweet, i would say perfectly balanced..:)

    maya, u have no idea how much i want to taste the original version now, after reading thru some comments....soft and pudding i got an idea about the consistency.....i wish i found someone who can make this on top of kanal....!!! thanks a lot for dropping by and sharing ur experience :)


  23. As promised I did make it.Came out well except the top was a bit dry.Wonder what I did wrong?Did not affect the taste though! Thanks aagin.

  24. Poornima. really happy to know that u tried and was happy with the taste clue about the crust part...i think mine was a bit dry too but then i thought thats how it is when baking....the one u see in my pictures is the reversed side...anyway, pls let Sarah also know that u tried her recipe and liked the taste sure she would be happy to get ur feedback :)

  25. Hi Guys,
    "Orappam" is originally came from Kollam earlier known as Quilon. This is baked in "Manchatti" on "Kanalpurathu".( "Kanal" will be placed on the top of the covered lid as well while baking).This Kanal baked Orappam makes only in special occasions & festivals in Kollam. Orappam looks little more brown than your picture.I hope i made it clear.

  26. Thx, Amaya for clarifyig my doubts....yeah, after reading some of the comments, i had a feeling that the original should be lil more darker than mine, with the use of our naadan sharkkara....and i used light brown sugar...manchatti and kanal, am sure this is something to be tasted....thx again!

  27. Thanks again and yes I will write to Sarah and thank her too.

  28. Hi guys
    My husband is from Kollam and my MIL used to make Orappam whenever we visited her. But sadly, I never got to learn how she made it and she is no more. But I do know she'd make it with "kanal" both below and on the lid of the aluminium vessel.
    Thanks for yr recipe. I'll try and make it and see whether it will taste like my MIL's.

  29. Hi,

    This brings back childhood memories. My ammama used to make it regularly. The final appam would be white (as white sugar was used) with a crusty browm layer on top. It should be very moist. My ammama cooked it on an open fire and also put hot coals on top so that it was cooked from both sides. Cooking this in the oven works but is not as tasty.

    This is difficult to cook at home as the final stages of stirring requires alot of effort as it becomes very thick almost the same consistency of halwa.

    I would really love to eat this again as it is one of my favourites. I will hopefully try this again as my first version a few years ago was okay but not as good as my ammama. This is a common dish in Varkal but like alot of old recipes the original version has been changed over time. However this appam should not be brown in colour as gud is not used. The outside becomes a crispy brown colour but this is due to the oil crisping it up during the cooking stage. Hope this is useful.


  30. Dear Mishmash,

    I was genuinely pleased and pleasantly surprised to see an entry for Orappam during my web search.

    I have very vivid memories of home cooking and Orappam was an inevitable part of Xmas goodies. The way I remember it,it was baked in "uruli" with coconut shell ambers on top and bottom cooking the mixture at an even, slow tempo. The end product used to have a dark brown crust; soft middle and a toasted bottom. It was moist with ghee and I know that lots and lots of coconut milk went into its making. Making of Orappam was a ritual -a day-long process- and all women and most children of the household got involved in the process.

    I am a native of Trissur. Indeed it is a christian specialty and there were ladies (appakarikal) accomplished in the art of making it.

    Oh how I miss those days....

  31. Yes, i made the orappam today and it came out very well, same like how mom made. Very nice. Shall send you the recipe soon.- Reena

  32. Deena, do u mind sending a picture too along with the recipe?


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