December 26, 2010

Rose Cookies

Christmas is baking time in most homes and seasonal favorites are baked and stacked in containers, packed in dainty little bags and tied up with tinsel to give a friend or neighbor.  In India, it is also time for some sweets and savories that are traditionally made for Christmas.  One of these all-time favorites are Rose cookies or Achappams, as they are called in the southern Indian state of Kerala.  It may have gotten its name because it resembles a flower.  In Malayalam (the native language of Kerala), 'achu' means mold and 'appam' is any fried sweet, and because the flower-shaped mold gives it the shape - it is called Achappam.  They are delicious - very light and crunchy, mildly sweet, although families make achappams according to their preferred taste.  Some use coconut milk while others use regular milk and yet others use sugar syrup instead of plain granulated sugar.  Rice flour is commonly used, and sometimes rice flour is mixed with all purpose flour to make the batter.  Achappams adorn tables laden with other delicacies and everyone enjoys them.

Back home in India, it is a teatime snack and often given to school kids when they return from school as a snack or simply enjoyed at any time.  I made them occasionally and my family enjoyed it.  After moving to the US, I seem to have made Achappam an annual affair at Christmas, and decided not to break my tradition this year. 

December 24th was a holiday and so I spent the day making some goodies.  I made some achappams and graham cracker treats (the next post).  Making achappams is a tedious job because you can make only one or two at a time, but they fry up very quickly and it takes only a few seconds to ruin them if you burn them.  So, you cannot leave the stove at, are you ready for some achappams?  The mold must be very hot so that the batter will stick to it and help form the shape of the flower.  As it fries it drops into the oil and is ready in a few seconds.  Here is a picture of the flower-shaped mold.

Rice powder - 1 ½ cups
All Purpose Flour- ½ cup
Sugar - ½ cup
Coconut Milk - 1 ¼ cup
Eggs - 2
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Salt - ¼
Oil for deep frying

Beat the eggs, and add sugar and coconut milk. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Mix in the other ingredients to make a thick batter.  Heat the oil and dip the mold in it. The mold should be very hot . When the mold is hot, dip 3/4th of the mold in the batter and then dip the mold into hot oil. After a few seconds slightly shake the mold so that the Achappams separates from the mold. If you shake too vigorously the Achappams may break or they may not hold their shape.

Fry both sides on medium heat until light golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Continue in the same way with the remaining batter. Store in airtight container. Enjoy it with a cup of tea.

1 comment:

  1. The pictures of achappams reminds me of the taste, picture of the mould reminds me of the achappams coming out of the mould while frying. This was definitely one of my favourite snacks when I was a kid.