Yela appam (Rice bread in banana leaf)

Sorry for the long silence for the past several weeks. I was away on vacation in Kerala, India and I just got back to London .

I decided to share my favourite snack recipe from my home state Kerala in memory of my vacation.  Whenever I go back home I always get inspired to make this dish which uses all the local ingredients available everywhere, Banana leaves, Rice flour, Jaggery (Indian brown sugar) and sweet delicious fresh grated coconut. YELA APPAM which means LEAF BREAD and that is what it is, rice bread filled with sweetened coconut (or some times Jackfruit pulp) wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf.

South Indians have been cooking with the banana leaf for centuries. I recently read that the history of YELA APPAM dates back to 15th century AD. And that even more prompted me to post this recipe.

Even though it is served as an evening snack back at home, my family adores this dish when I make it as a Sunday breakfast. You can use parchment paper, aluminium foil or cling film instead of banana leaves – it works well but I am sure you will miss the delicious aroma of steamed banana leaf when you open the hot steaming parcel…

YELA APPAM (Rice bread in banana leaf)

  1. Rice flour                                1 cup
  2. Boiling water                         1¼  cup
  3. Salt                                          ½ teaspoon
  4. Brown sugar (Jaggery)         100 g (adjust the sweetness accordingly)
  5. Water                                     ½ cup
  6. Grated coconut                      2 cups
  7. Cardamom powder               ¼ teaspoon
  8. Banana leaf (cut into rectangles)
  1. Using a wooden spoon mix rice flour with boiling water and salt. Leave to cool. Knead with wet hands for a few minutes and make lime size balls and keep aside.
  2. Boil the brown sugar with water to make sugar syrup, add grated coconut and cardamom powder. Cook until all the water is evaporated,  leave to cool.
  3. Keep one rice dough ball on top of banana leaf and spread to a circle of diameter 10-12 cm with wet hands.
  4. Keep a spoon full of sweet coconut filling in the middle and fold the leaf over and press around the edges of the rice dough to seal the edges.
  5. Steam over a steamer for 15- 20 minutes or until the rice dough is cooked.