Serves a Crowd

Rice crepes stuffed with spiced poached pears (stuffed aapams)

September 15, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 12
Author Notes

It never ceases to amaze me how the simple acquisition of a new kitchen gadget can spur crazy recipe ideas!, In this case, it was a total impulse buy of a miniature shallow wok known as an 'aapam' pan while on holiday in India.
Backtracking several dozen steps... "what in the world is an aapam?.. its a crepe made with rice & water (& salt or sugar for seasoning)
' Aapam' - (the first syllable rhymes with the 'Aa' of a sneezy 'aachoo' while the 'pam' rhymes with the word used to describe a good-for-nothing individual or the slang for a homo sapiens derriere! ) are a signature dish of the Chettiars of Southern India. A prosperous community of bankers and traders, their dal & coconut based dishes are vibrantly spicy & characterized by notes of pepper, star anise, cinnamon & cardamom. & I believe their meat dishes are to die for!
Rice & crepes usually do not usually occur in the same sentence unless the rice is fortified with a protein (like egg) to hold the starch together within the crepe. The time tested technique to overcome this hurdle is listed below with the recipe.

The pears are poached in a liquid spiced with traditional chettinad spices, star anise & cardamom.

PS: The aapam pan is simply a shallow miniature wok , slightly concave in shape. The aapam thus cooked on the pan has a fluffy pillow of cooked batter in the center, surrounded by a lacy edge. —Panfusine

What You'll Need
  • poached pears.
  • 3 anjou or concord pears
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4 cardamom pods (intact seeds only)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Aapam crepes
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • stick of cold butter to grease the pan
  • 2 cups water
  1. poached pears.
  2. peel the pears & remove the stringy central core & the seeds. Quarter & then slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, star anise & cardamom seeds & heat to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has reached a boil, Add the pears, lower the heat to a simmer & gently cook the pears till soft but not mushy. Add the lemon & set aside to cool.
  1. Aapam crepes
  2. Wash & soak the Basmati rice in adequate quantity of warm water for about 3 hrs till its softened.
  3. Transfer the soaked basmati with as little water as possible to a blender jar & grind completely into a very smooth (& extremely thick) paste (it'll have the consistency of wet concrete). Add a cup of water to dilute the paste & give it a whirl in the blender to dislodge the thick rice paste. Transfer the batter into a container. lightly scraping out the sides of the jar.
  4. Add the second cup of water to the blender jar & completely wash out the remaining rice sticking to the sides, lid & blades of the jar. Transfer this liquid to a separate container & SAVE.
  5. Transfer this washed out rice liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil. The liquid will take on a syrupy appearance, due to the starch swelling up (similar to what happens when you cook oats). Remove from the stove & strain this liquid into the batter. Stir to eliminate lumps. The consistency should be like that of crepe batter. (should have a yield of about 3 cups (~ 24 oz) of batter.
  6. Add the confectioners sugar (adjust to your personal level of sweetness), baking powder & the lemon zest and stir in.
  7. Heat a 6 inch nonstick skillet over the gas.
  8. Rub the melted butter over the surface of the skillet to season it. Wipe uniformly over the hot surface using a paper towel.
  9. Using a (1 oz) coffee scoop spoon, pour 2 scoops of the batter ( stir the batter well before using each time, the rice tends to sink to the bottom) into the skillet. Using the wrist, swirl the batter around the base & the sides of the skillet to coat evenly. Cover & cook over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes till the edges begin to brown & leave the surface of the skillet & the batter in the center of the pan has set into a 'pillow'. Gently dislodge the crepe from the sides of the skillet & slide it onto a serving plate.
  10. Spoon the poached pears onto the center of the crepe, Drizzle with extra poaching liquid if desired. Fold over & serve warm.
  11. Repeat steps 7-9 for the remaining batter.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hardlikearmour
  • Devangi Raval
    Devangi Raval
  • boulangere
  • Panfusine
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

6 Reviews

hardlikearmour April 5, 2012
I love how paper-thin these are!
Panfusine April 6, 2012
They get that way because of the really thin batter & swirling them around in the non stick frying pan.
Devangi R. April 5, 2012
I have never tried appam...
boulangere September 15, 2011
Wow, these look wonderful. How would you suggest changing them for a savory application? Welcome back, hope you enjoyed your vacation.
Panfusine September 15, 2011
Thanks Boulangere, I had a great hectic vacation, need a vacation to recover from this vacation!

cut the sugar & zest & add a pinch of salt to taste instead. this is the traditional savory aapam base. Its so versatile you can pair it with just about anything, from traditional South Indian gravies to Thai green curry!, Pauljoseph should have a treasure trove of recipes to pair with savory aapam
boulangere September 15, 2011
Thank you so much. The savory ideas sound so rich in possibilities. I know what you mean about the vacation to recover from the vacation. The jet lag coming back just hammers me.