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Palappam or Hoppers – Fermented Rice and Coconut Pancakes

If  you never had Palappam, you are in for for a treat.  Imagine  crepe like  bowls, crispy and  lacy  on the  sides  and  a  bit  spongy  towards  the  middle.  These  are  known as Palappam in Kerala  while  across  the   ocean in Sri Lanka a  similar recipe  is  used  to  make Hoppers.  Whereas  Hoppers are usually  topped  with  eggs   Palappams  are  served  plain.

Palappam , the lacy pancakes from Kerala made with fermented rice batter
Palappam  is  made   with a   fermented  rice  batter making  it  a  good option for  gluten  free diets. Traditionally  the fermentation is  started by using   the  fresh sap of  coconut  palms locally known as  Kallu or  Toddy.  Another  popular  starter  is  coconut  water.   Fresh sweet  young  coconut  water  is  set  aside  undisturbed. In a  couple  days  the  natural  yeast  take  hold  and  you will notice  bubbles  appearing. The  amount  of  time  it  takes  for the  yeast  to establish depends  on  the  ambient  temperature  and  the  sugar  content of  the  coconut   water.  This method  has  its own unique  aroma  which  is  not  quite matched by the packaged yeast.

As rice is  gluten  free  a  little  bit  of  cooked  starch  is  added to  give the  pancakes  it  body and  structure.  The   recipe  here  uses  raw  rice  flour   and  coconut  milk  and just  relies  on  the  overnight  rise  (or  4  hours  under   warm  conditions) to get  the   fluffy  batter.

Palappam , the lacy pancakes from Kerala made with fermented rice batter

Easy Palappam With Yeast

By Syama
Palappam is  a lacy  pancake  that  is  often  shaped  like a  bowl .  The  sides  of  this  pancake  are  lacy and  crunchy while  the  center  is  soft  and  spongy. It is  made  with  fermented  rice batter and  can  easily be  made into a  vegan  version.  
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Fermentation Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours
Course Breakfast, Dinner
Cuisine Indian


For the Roux

  • 1 Tbsp Idli Rava / Sooji See notes
  • 1 C Water

For Starter

  • 1/2 Tsp Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 C Water

For Batter

  • 2 C Raw Rice Flour (250 g)
  • 1 C Water
  • 1/2 C Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • Water - as required .


  • Mix the the idli rava ,or sooji with 1 cup of water to make a lump free mixture. Bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Warm 1/4 C water to 110°F or just warm enough to touch . Dissolve 1 Tbsp sugar in the water and sprinkle the yeast on top . Set it aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast .
  • Take the rice flour in a large mixing bowl. To this add the cooled roux and the yeast solution. Slowly stir in 1 C water to form a lump free thick batter. Set aside overnight (for 8 to 10 hours) until fermented well. The batter is ready when it has doubled in volume and a lot of bubbles appear on top.
  • Mix in the coconut milk and salt. The batter should be a loose, but not watery. When poured using a ladle it should flow out as a stream and not in dollops. Add a few more tablespoons of water if necessary to thin the batter. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Heat the Appachatti or a small wok over medium heat. Grease well. Pour 1 to 2 scoops of batter in the center and swirl the pan to coat the sides . Cover and cook for a minute until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  • Remove to the serving patter. If needed keep warm in an oven . These are beast served hot.


Idli rava is fine broken rice and sooji is de-husked broken wheat. If not available pulse 1 to 2 Tbsp of rice in a blender and use the coarse powder.
For a gluten free version use idli rava or cooked rice.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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Here is  the  recipe in pictures –

Making Palappam

The  first  step is  making  the  roux .  For  this mix  in the the   sooji  / idli rava   with 1 C  water   avoiding  lumps .  Heat the  mix  stirring  occasionally  until  it  comes  to a  full boil. This  helps  the  starches  to absorb  as  much moisture  as possible.  Turn off  the  heat  and  set aside to cool .   If  Sooji or idli rava is  not  available  use  double  the  quantity of  rice  flour or use 1 C  cooked  rice  mashed with a  little  water .

Mix 1 tablespoon  sugar  in 1/4 C  warm  water (warm to  touch – 100 to 110 °F) and  sprinkle  the  yeast on top. Set  aside  for  5  to 10  minutes. The  yeast activates and  the  mix  becomes  frothy.  Take  the  rice flour  in a  mixing  bowl, add the  yeast  mixture  and  the  cooled  roux  to  this.   Slowly pour 1 C  water  and   mix   to make  a  fairly thick batter . Cover  and  set  aside  to rise overnight.  The  batter should  double in  volume. If in a  hurry   double  the   yeast  and  set  aside in a  warm place  to  ferment.  This  will still take   about  1  to  2  hours.

The  fermented  batter   should  be  bubbling  well  on top.  To  this add the coconut  milk   and  salt.  Mix well. The  batter should be  medium thick .  This  is  the  time  to add  more  sugar  if   desired. When  poured  using a  ladle the batter should flow down in  a  stream  and  not as big  dollops.  Set  aside  for  30 minutes  to an  hour.

The Appa Chatti  is a small wok   with  handle. It  usually  comes  with a  fitted  lid.  If  Appa Chatti is  not  available use a  wok  with  lid. Heat  the  Appa Chatti over  medium flame.  Grease  the  pan well. Once  hot  wipe  off  the  excess   oil .  Pour 1  ladle full  batter  in the center hot pan .


Hold  the  pan  by it  handle/s  and  rotate  swiftly to  spread  the  batter on the  sides . Cover   with a  lid  and  let  it  cook over  medium heat  for  a  minute .  Remove the  lid  to see if  it  is  cooked  fully .  When  cooked  the   side  of  the  pancake  begins  to tun golden  brown  and  the   center  is  set.


Remove  from the  pan  and  serve  hot.


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Palappam , the lacy pancakes from Kerala made with fermented rice batter

Recipe Rating


Friday 2nd of October 2020

Thanks Guys, Your Recipe Was Too Fantastic. Me and My Family Loved it. I Will definitely Share your Rrecipe with my friends.