Syrian Christian Kalathappam Recipe

The Syrian Christians of Kerala mark Maundy Thursday with indri appams, kalathappam and Pesaha paal. Meris Cherian writes about her family tradition here.

Recipe: Ammachi’s Kalathappam
(Makes 1 appam)

1 1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup urad dal, gently roasted and soaked for 30 min
1/2 cup coconut, grated
1/2 tsp cumin
5-6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shallots, peeled and sliced
1 sprig curry leaves
Coconut oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
Coconut slices, to top

Recipe for Syrian Christian speciality for Maundy Thursday, Kalathappam

Grind the soaked urad dal together with the cumin, grated coconut, garlic cloves and water. 
In a separate bowl, season the rice flour with salt. Add the urad dal mixture into the rice flour, with enough water to make a coarse paste. Set aside for 30 minutes. 
In a pan, fry the shallots, curry leaves, and coconut slices in coconut oil until very light brown. 
Add the fried ingredients into the prepared batter and mix well. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the batter into a greased baking tray and bake for 45 minutes. 
To cook on stove top, heat a pan and sprinkle coconut oil. Once the oil is heated, pour a ladle-full of batter into the pan. 
Place the curry leaves, coconut slices and sliced shallots, and press down into the batter. 
Once the sides start browning, turn the appam over. The appam is done when it turns light brown. 

For the Paal
300 g jaggery
1 cup thin coconut milk
1.5 cups thick coconut milk
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (chukku)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp rice flour
Water, as needed

In a pan, melt jaggery with 1 cup of water over a medium flame. Strain it once melted. 
Over low heat, add in the thin coconut milk, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Add in the think coconut milk, and stir for another 10 minutes. 
Mix in the rice flour, cumin powder and dry ginger powder, a little at a time, stirring constantly until the concoction thickens into a syrup that coats the back of a spoon.

Using homemade roasted rice flour gives the paal great flavour and colour.  If using canned coconut cream, use one whole can. 


All images by Meris Cherian.