Sunday, August 29, 2010

Uzhunnappam - A local specialty from the scenic village of Kodanadu

A guest post by Soja Suresh, from the Readers Corner...

I might be repeating myself but I can’t help emphasising this point that it is always the people behind food and the taste memories associated with the same that gives most dishes a character and uniqueness of its own. As we try to replicate those dishes, either to savour a comforting memory or to connect to one’s roots, whatever be the drive, the whole experience of recreating those flavours and taste is deeper and meaningful, especially when you cook such dishes for people very close to your heart and such recipes get a substance of its own.

Here is one such example shared by my reader, Soja Suresh who has been trying to perfect her skills in recreating a traditional special from her mother-in-law’s kitchen and to be on par with her husband’s taste memories. According to her, Uzhunnappam is a very popular palaharam/snack in her husband’s place Kodanadu, a picturesque place in central Kerala. This can be described as a roasted flat bread, traditionally made in an Uruli, a wide bell metal vessel over burning embers and she also mentions that there are some people who put coal on top of the lid as well which sort of creates an atmosphere of baking. Read on :

Hello Shn,

I am Soja now residing at Kodanad . a village near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district. This is my husband’s place. I had made a comment about your kinnathappam and had enquired you about mailing recipe of uzhunnappam which is a traditional food item of this area. So now I’m on that mission. I came to know about this “palaharam” only after reaching this place after marriage. This is a special dish made by my mother in law on special occasions. Everyone here are fans of this appam and also anything made by my mother in law. She is no more ;but we have inherited the methodology of this great dish from her (though each time I try out this thing there would be the same comment from my husband “ammayude pole ayittilla!”) Nowadays comments have become a bit weak ; I think “ente prathikaranam bhayannittakam” or “ammayude pole ayittundakam!” This is usually made in an uruli over kanal aduppu but my co-sister makes it on non stick pan over the gas stove. Since I’m always longing for my husband’s good comments I still make it in uruli.


  1. 3 cups roasted rice powder(raw rice powdered and roasted)
  2. 1cup black gram dal(whole uzhunnuparippu)
  3. ¾ cup grated coconut
  4. 5 to 6 shallots for grinding
  5. 2 pinchCumin seeds (jeerakam)
  6. 2cloves garlic
  7. 20 to 25 shallots for slicing
  8. About5 to 6 tablespoons of thinly sliced thengakothu
  9. 3 stems of curry leaves
  10. Salt as required
  11. ½ glass of coconut oil for roasting the appam

Roast the black gram dal in a frying pan (oil not necessary) till red in colour.. Powder it in a grinder.(Otherwise you can soak the fried dal in water and grind to a paste). Grind together the above mentioned ingredients from 3 to 6.Fry the shallots till golden brown . Also fry sliced coconuts, and curry leaves. In a large vessel mix together rice powder, powdered or ground dal, ground coconut paste, fried shallots, thengakothu, curry leaves and salt . Add water to the above mixture to make a batter of the consistency similar to unniappam or thick dosamavu.

Leave the batter to get soaked for 2hrs since we are using roasted rice powder. [ I occasionally use raw rice powder; ie.before roasting.The powder should be coarse{puttupodiyude pakam}. ] When poured it should be thick like unniappam batter. After 2hrs. place the uruli on the kanal aduppu with a small firewood burning in the aduppu. Pour about 2 ladles of coconut oil to the uruli and when it becomes medium hot you have to pour about 3 ladles of the batter to the oil. Spread it in circular shape like that of dosa but should be very thick; about 1cm. thick in the middle and then tapered to 1/2cm along the edges. Now you have to cover this appam with a lid and to leave it for some time on slow fire until it’s inside gets done ; take care not to get it burned. After some time toss it upside down so that the other side also gets done . You can toss it three or four times till it gets done and also both sides must get “moriyanam” a bit. Some people here use red hot charcoal on top of the lid (similar to baking). After it is done it’ll be reddish brown in colour and when it is cool slice it in radial direction from the center .It’ll look like plum cake pieces. Tastes best along with “nadan” chicken curry. Very delicious.

Note:For trial it is better to take coconut oil and batter in small quantities and after practicing to spread the batter and to toss it you can make bigger appams in size. The thing is that if only the appam is bigger in diameter then only you can make it thick and then only will it be tastier. Cooking process is similar to frying a thick egg omelette.

Soja gave me a detailed recipe and promptly replied to mails to clear even the silliest doubts of mine. My mother, during her stay here in US , brought Soja’s recipe to life in my kitchen, giving it the smell and taste , sans Uruli and coals. She made this in a non-stick pan and we used split and skinned black grams/Uzhunnuparippu. We enjoyed it with some spicy chicken curry as she suggested. Based on our experience, one thing I can say confidently is that slow cooking is the key here and you need to be cautious with the consistency of the batter too.

Soja, my heartfelt thanks for being so generous in sharing such a local specialty and getting this village beauty its well deserved attention.


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  1. very unique recipe.Good to know about such, interesting recipes.
    will tryit out soon

  2. Shn, that a honour looks so tempting..thanks for sharing this with us and to your Soja Suresh for being so nice to share such treat with us!..

  3. hi, This recipe looks and sounds so great, I wish I could eat it too. Once again an awesome recipe from u shn, and thanks to Soja also.
    take care
    hugs to little king also

  4. Ohh I hv visited Kodanadu few years back on my way to has an elephant sanctuary...never knew it hs local delicacies as well....Namade kochu Nalikerathinte naatil naalayiram vibhavangal !!!

  5. wow nice one. never had this thanks for sharing

  6. Interesting recipe.Never heard of this one before!

  7. Interesting recipe.Never heard of this one before!

  8. I do hope the gems of culinary tradition we have in India aren't lost forever - Kudos for doing your bit to preserve them!

  9. Wow, there must be so many of these indigenous recipes hidden all oevr, thanks to you and your very smart reader for sharing it with the rest of us. your pictures are divine. My husband recently returned from india after attending a series of weddings, and he stated that many of the caterers now have an item "vattayapam and mutton curry". Now I am wonderign if it really was vattayapam or something like this instead ...=)

  10. Sumi, hope to get ur feedback :)

    Srivalli, thanks for dropping by :)

    Rekha, a little hug form little king to u as well :)

    Anon, I was also aware about the elephant part only...never knew it had such hidden jewels :)

    Jaisy, Poornima & Miri, Thank you guys :)

    Ann, thanks a lot for coming by..I do follow ur blog but never had the chance to leave a comment...i do enjoy ur wondeful blog..and as for the new combom, infact I have heard about this combo earlier...its been there for sometime, so perhaps, ur hubby is right :)


  11. Sounds great! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.


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