Yes, it’s deep fried, yes, it’s coated in all purpose flour, but Pazham Pori is worth it and I want you to take my word on this.
The bananas used for Ethakka Appam is Ethappazham (the raw version of which, Ethakka, is used to make the famous Kerala banana chips!). It won’t taste the same or as good if you use any other kind of banana. Its also called Nenthram Pazham but I can’t seem to find a more representative English translation for Nenthram pazham except plaintain.
On to the how-to now.
Ethakka Appam / Pazham Pori Recipe
Serves 2 : About 8-10 pieces
1 Ethapazham / Nentham pazham / Ripe plaintain (the riper and blacker the skin, the better)
1 cup all purpose flour or maida
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
A pinch of turmeric powder
About 3/4 cup water (more or less)
Coconut oil to deep fry
How to Make Pazham Pori
1. Place the flour in a wide bowl.
2. Add sugar, salt and baking soda. I used brown sugar but white sugar works perfect too.
3. Add about 1/2 cup water and adjust as you go, to make a batter that’s slightly more watery than dosa batter. It shouldn’t be too thin, otherwise, the appams will be too oily.
4. Add in a pinch of turmeric powder. This is only meant for the colour bit and doesn’t change the taste or flavour in any way.
Some people add jeera to ethakka appam. I personally don’t like biting into them but feel free to add it in if you want.
5. Cut the plaintain into half and then slice each half midway vertically. Further slice each of the quarters into 2-3 thin pieces. Dunk these into the batter.
6. Heat the coconut oil until its all bubbly. You have to use coconut oil for the authentic taste. Anything else is a blasphemy so don’t tell me if you used vegetable oil or *shudder* olive oil.
I used a super small kadai so that I need only very little oil and that reduces wastage.
7. When the oil is just short of smoking hot, add in the banana pieces coated with the batter.
8. Fry until golden brown and drain on paper napkins.
9. Serve Pazham Pori warm with tea.
The ethakka appams get soggy and the coating gets chewy and soft once cold so this is best served warm. But when I was a kid, I used to wait till it got cold and chewy