In the 21st century, Chinese food has started dominating over other traditional foods we eat and noodles are one of the food items that is loved mostly by any street food lover. But did you know that India also had its version of noodles?
In the 1st century AD, one such food existed which is still eaten in South Indian states and known as Idiyappam. The name idiyappam derives from the Tamil and Malayalam word idi (meaning beat) and appam, (meaning pancake). This dish is also, frequently, called Nool Puttu, originating from the Tamil and Malayalam word nool, meaning string or thread.
Idiyappam is a common breakfast and dinner item traditionally steam cooked and looks a lot like Rice Noodles. There are two different ways of preparation for Idiyappam. The traditional method starts with soaking and grinding the raw rice into a smooth batter along with salt. Then the ground batter is cooked with few teaspoons of oil in a pan – this is to remove the water content from the batter. Some methods even call for steam cooking the batter in Idli pans as for making Idlis. Once the batter is cooked they are allowed to cool down and then a wooden or metal Idiyappam Press, with tiny holes at the bottom is used to squeeze out the Idiyappam. Small handy Idiyappam Press or big ones with stands called Santhangai Press are used for the purpose. Idiyappam prepared with Steam cooked batter can be served as such. Alternatively, if the batter is not steam-cooked press the Idiyappam and then steam cook the Idiyappam in a steamer for 8-10 Minutes.
Over the years the method of preparing has slightly changed. But the basic ingredient remained the same i.e the Rice. Finely milled rice flour is used for preparing Idiyappams these days instead of grinding the soaked rice. Preparing Idiyappams with ready-made Rice Flour is considered to be easier than the conventional method of soaking, grinding, cooking, etc., Some versions prepared using Wheat Flour, Ragi Flour, etc., can also be found.
This comfort food has taken an important place in Indian Cuisine. Considered healthy, light, and easy in terms of cooking, eating and even it is easily digestible. Serve it with your choice of Curries, or simply serve it up with Coconut Chutney. If you enjoy eating sweets, Idiyappams tastes great with sweetened Coconut Milk flavored with Cardamoms. Or simply serve it up with freshly grated Coconuts and Sugar, Palm Sugar or Jaggery.