Hoppers (Sri Lankan pancake)#BreadBakers
Theme : Pancakes
Imagine a whole day dedicated to pancakes. Most people love pancakes. When I say pancakes there’s such a huge variety out there that its unbelievable. Right from fermented batter to quick batters. I could eat pancakes everyday, but have to control myself because of all the butter and honey or maple syrup. Pancakes without butter taste dry. However, what I’ve made for this theme, hoppers can be eaten without any guilt as they are gluten free and hardly have any sugar in it.
For Christians Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent. Lent is the 40 day period of fasting before Easter. Usually ingredients like sugar, fat, flour and eggs had to be used up before the fasting period began. So the most obvious way to use them up was to make pancakes.Nowadays Pancake Day is enjoyed by all whether Christian or not. It gives one an excuse to indulge in pancakes.
Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm and a member of the Bread Bakers team decided that we should make Pancakes to celebrate Pancake Day. Before I go into my choice of pancake, please take time to visit Wendy’s blog. Besides some exciting and simple recipes she has a whole list of books year wise that she recommends one can read. I usually find reading lists very useful as sometimes I don’t have the foggiest idea what I want to read! I’m actually quite a sight at a bookshop. So many books and I just wouldn’t know which one to pick. So usually I carry my list on my phone, just in case I come across a good bookshop. On occasions that I have picked a book that was not recommended, they’re still on the shelf half read! Yes I have a tendency to pick up boring books.
For the pancake theme, I decided to make Hoppers. Hoppers is nothing but appam or pancakes from Sri Lanka. They are made from a fermented rice and coconut batter. However these pancakes are not flat at all. They are in the shape of a wide bowl. To get that shape the batter consistency has to right and most important you should have a hopper pan or a small wok to make them.
One of the flatbreads served during my daughter’s wedding was appam or hoppers. Its since then that I’d wanted to try making them at home. However, I didn’t have the pan and then most times you forget about the bookmarked recipes till some event comes up. I’m glad that most of the forthcoming themes have been planned months in advance. Knowing that I wanted to try making hoppers at home, I made sure I bought the hopper pan or thachhiya from India when I was there in Dec/Jan.
The first hopper I made as a trial and hubby got so excited. He simply loves them. He started looking for a curry to go with it. I wanted to make eggs in them… typical Sri Lankan breakfast but he wanted some curry. I put the batter away in the fridge and made the hoppers next day with some egg curry. Hoppers can be served with egg, curries, stews, or make them into a dessert by serving with some fruit and fruit sauce. A simple mixture of fresh grated coconut with jaggery too is served as a sweet treat.
During my research for the perfect and easy recipe, I came across one that had way too much sugar, some added sourdough bread(not starter!), some added boiled rice, some methods were just too confusing. I got a bit frustrated that a simple everyday staple of Sri Lanka cannot be so complicated. Then I stumbled upon this video. Check it out before you begin to make hoppers.
With the measurement given below you can make many hoppers. I’ve just indicated that it serves 4-6 people as they will not stop at one. Each person may consume 3-4 with a curry. This batter was just too much for 2 people. I froze the remaining batter to use it for breakfast pretty soon.
|hopper with egg|
HOPPERS (SRI LANKAN PANCAKE)
Serves 4-6 people
2 cups rice flour
3 cups coconut milk
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
¾ – 1 cup water
2 tsp dry active yeast
- Heat about ¼ cup water from the measured water till its Luke warm.
- Add sugar and stir.
- Sprinkle the yeast over it. Cover and let it ferment for 10 minutes.
- The mixture should be frothy. If not then the yeast is too old.
- Add the yeast mixture and coconut milk to the rice flour.
- Whisk it well so that no lumps are left and you have a smooth thick batter.
- Add salt and water little by little. Whisk it well. The batter should be a little thinner than a pancake batter.
- Cover the batter and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 3-4 hours. The batter will become frothy and will be double in size.
- Gently, mix it. If the batter is too thick, add little water.
- Heat a small hopper pan(wok, thachhiya) over medium to low heat. If you’re using a non stick one no need to oil it.
- Pour a ladleful or ¼ cup of the batter into the centre of the pan.
- Swirl the pan around so that the batter coats the sides of the pan.
- Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Cover and cook for a further 1-2 minutes so that the middle spongy part of the pancake or hopper gets cooked.
- Th hopper is ready when the sides begin to brown and it starts to pull away from the pan.
- Serve hot hopper immediately with a curry of your choice.
- If the batter is too thick it will not be easy to swirl it and coat it on the sides of the pan. Always do a test run to see if you can swirl the batter around easily. If not add little water.
- You can drizzle a tiny amount of oil on the sides so that the sides become really crispy.
- Its best to serve hot hoppers as cold ones don’t taste that good. The sides tend to go soft.
- As the batter ferments further it becomes thicker and you may need to add some water.
- Many sites recommend that you cover the pan after a minute or two. I found that when I did that the condensation made the sides go all soft. Its just best to let them cook over medium to low heat without the lid. However, you will need to use the lid if you cook and egg with it.
- To serve hoppers with eggs for breakfast, after swirling the batter around the pan, break an egg over it. Cover and cook till the white of the egg is done. Serve with sambol and kiri hodi a typical Sri Lankan Coconut curry.
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#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.