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
anjou or concord pears
cup brown sugar
star anise pods
cardamom pods (intact seeds only)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
cup basmati rice
1/3 - 1/2
cups confectioners sugar
teaspoon baking powder
tablespoon lemon zest
stick of cold butter to grease the pan
- peel the pears & remove the stringy central core & the seeds. Quarter & then slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- 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.
- Wash & soak the Basmati rice in adequate quantity of warm water for about 3 hrs till its softened.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the confectioners sugar (adjust to your personal level of sweetness), baking powder & the lemon zest and stir in.
- Heat a 6 inch nonstick skillet over the gas.
- Rub the melted butter over the surface of the skillet to season it. Wipe uniformly over the hot surface using a paper towel.
- 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.
- Spoon the poached pears onto the center of the crepe, Drizzle with extra poaching liquid if desired. Fold over & serve warm.
- Repeat steps 7-9 for the remaining batter.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pancakes, Sweet or Savory
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pears