Soak the raw rice in water for about 4 -5 hours.
If using active dry yeast– When you are ready to grind the rice, soak the yeast in warm water and sugar. In about 10-15 minutes the mixture gets frothy.
Instant Yeast can be added directly to the batter, without soaking/blooming.
Grind the coconut.
Drain the water and grind the rice in the mixer adding water gradually. We need a fine paste.
Add the cooked rice and and Instant yeast or the frothy yeast mixture ( if using active dry yeast) and mix well.
Transfer to a large steel or plastic container and keep covered for 3-4 hours till the mixture ferments well and doubles up.
Add salt and sugar to the fermented batter and mix well. Add some water if the batter is too thick. We need a runny sort of batter. Runnier than a dosa batter.
Appams are made in a small shallow kadai called appa chatti.
Heat the appa chatti and put a drop of desi ghee or butter. Wipe clean with a tissue paper. The chatti should not be too hot else the batter won’t stick.
Pour a ladle full of batter ( about ¼ cup) in the centre of the chatti.
Holding the pan from the handles, take it off the heat and swirl the batter all the way around to form a circle. Try not to swirl after the first layer. There will be more batter in the centre and the edges will be thin.
Increase the heat and cover and cook for a minutes.
Lower the heat and cook another minute if you like white appams. Make sure the centre is cooked.
With a wooden spatula lift the appams from one side. In fact I just life it with my hands. It leaves the pan easily.
Serve with vegetable/egg/chicken stew and coconut milk.
The leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.