Due to being away since June, I’ve sadly missed out on a few Daring Kitchen challenges this summer, but was able to do this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Luckily for me, the friends I’m staying with have appetites for every cuisine along with a well-equipped kitchen that I could use.
Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.
Everything about this challenge was totally new to me because I’ve had Indian food, but not South Indian/Sri Lankan. I spent Saturday afternoon driving around Cleveland trying to find the ingredients, and more or less succeeded!
The dishes I chose to make to accompany the appams were the Carrots with Tropical Flavors and the Shrimp with Curry Sauce. Both of these involved the use of curry leaves, which I was luckily able to find at a great Indian grocery store. I have to say that the carrots were my favorite dish and I’d definitely be into making them again! The shrimp curry was also good, but using frozen shrimp wasn’t the best idea. Some hadn’t completely thawed which thinned out the sauce, and of course fresh shrimp just would have tasted better. It’s just quite a bit more expensive here than it is in Texas!
We can’t forget about the main requirement of this challenge… I’ve been so intrigued by the appam recipe ever since first reading the challenge: a flatbread made of ground rice, yeast, and coconut milk? I couldn’t not make this! It requires some planning ahead though as the rice and dough need 11-15 hours of resting time. I opted to let the rice soak overnight as opposed to 3 hours just so I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.
My finished appams didn’t look like those in the photos Mary provided with the challenge. Perhaps this had something to do with my improvised way of cooking them: I used a flat griddle, which resulted in appams that looked more like pancakes than crepes. (I also could probably use a lot more practice…) They still tasted really good!
And just because I couldn’t resist, I decided to make a popular Kerala dessert: Semiya Payasam! It is milk-based with roasted vermicelli noodles, golden raisins, and cashews, sweetened with sweetened condensed milk and spiced with freshly-ground cardamom. It reminds me of rice pudding, but is more like a soup that can be eaten warm or cold.
Thanks to Mary for picking such an interesting challenge! I love cooking dishes that are completely new to me, especially when they turn out to be tasty. And of course, thanks to Leslie for letting me use and abuse your kitchen and especially for doing most of the clean up!