Pesaha in malayalam language means ‘Passover’. Pesaha Appam sometimes also called as Indari Appam is an unleavened bread served with Pesaha Paal on the night of Maundy Thursday. It is prepared only on Passover (once in a year) with utmost care, reverence, and considered very sacred; an intensive labour of love. On this day, we celebrate the last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples and this tradition of Passover meal is followed by many Christians across Kerala.
The tradition of pesaha appam and pesaha paal re-kindle beautiful childhood memories. My mum would begin to make the appam, starting with a prayer; taking great care of each and every ingredients and also the utensils which go into preparing it. Since it is an unleavened bread, the batter was not allowed to be fermented. Mum also notes that cardamom is not added to the pesaha paal coz it should not taste like payasam. As always, I would help her in peeling shallots, garlic and grating coconut (I was not allowed to eat the coconut while grating). After attending the church service, my dad, being the head of the family would lead the prayer, cut the appam, dip it in the paalu (milk) and serve it to other family members starting with the oldest to the youngest. Nothing was wasted; the left-overs were eaten on Good Friday morning.
Pesaha Appam and Pesaha Paal, a tradition of unleavened bread and drink celebrating the last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples.
recipe courtesy : my mum
total time : 2 hrs, serves : 2 appams, cuisine : kerala, author : gloria
For Pesaha Appam :
1 cup rice flour (roasted)
salt to taste
1/4 cup split white urad dal
1 cup fresh coconut (grated)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 nos garlic flakes
5 nos shallots
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1. Place rice flour, salt into a large bowl. Keep aside
2. Dry roast split white urad dal lightly on low heat till golden brown for few minutes. Transfer it into a vessel, adding enough water. Soak for 2 hours; drain and grind it into a smooth paste.
3. Grind coconut, cumin seeds, garlic and shallots into a coarse paste, adding little water, if required.
Now, Combine urad dal paste, coconut mixture and rice flour-salt by adding 1/2 cup lukewarm water to make a viscous batter.
Grease a stainless steel plate with oil; pour the batter and spread it evenly. Now, make a small cross with coconut palm leaves blessed by the priest on Palm Sunday and place it on the centre.
Steam it in an Idli or Idiyappam steamer for 20-25 mins or till a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out clean on medium heat. The remaining appam can be prepared without the cross. Serve it with Pesaha Paalu.
For Pesaha Paal
1 cup thick coconut milk (first extract)
2 cup thin coconut milk (second extract)
3/4 cup jaggery (or as desired)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
2 tbsp rice flour (dissolved in little hot water)*
Take a saucepan. Place the broken jaggery pieces along with water and melt it completely, strain and discard off any impurities. Cool slightly and bring it back to the stove-top.
Add the thin coconut milk (2nd extract) and allow it to come to a gentle boil, stirring continuously on low heat.
Now, add the rice flour paste* and thick coconut milk (1st extract). Continue to stir for 2 minutes or until it gets thickened.
Finally, add the spice powders and mix well. Can also place a small cross with coconut palm leaves in the centre. Switch off heat.
My observations/notes :
– while dry roasting urad dal, take care not to burn the dal
– the batter is slightly lumpy and not smooth
– the consistency of the batter should be slightly lesser than the idli batter
– can also bake it at 200º C/400º F in the oven
– the spice powders and the sweetness can be increased as per preference
– we do not get coconut palm leaves here hence replaced with bay laurel.