Saturday, April 25, 2009

Baked Neyyappam (Banana Muffins with Cardamoms, Coconut, And Cashews)

Baked Neyyappams
Here is the recipe for Baked Neyyappam, a favorite of Amma's. This recipe is dedicated to my mother Jaya because she enjoyed the eggless banana muffins that I made for her. They reminded her of the 'Neyyappams' and she wondered if we could add all the traditional flavors - cardamoms, Indian Jaggery, and coconut. Thus was born the "baked neyyappams". We had fun experimenting and we often added cashews.

Traditional appams are cooked just like the Scandinavian abelskiver in a pan of the same name that looks just like the Indian "appa karai" or "paniyaram pan". Amma was amazed that the Scandinavians eat "appams" too :D.

Appams are made for celebrating life - from birth ceremonies of new infants to memorial ceremonies called Shraddham and everything in between. They are also another well-loved offering for festivals and auspicious occasions.

Amma loved that the baking process cuts down on preparation time and the amount of ghee used for frying - we could enjoy baked neyyappams more often without worrying about fats and cholesterol. I remember how our grandfather (Amma's father) would recite the old Malayalam proverb every time we had neyyappams -"neyyappam thinnal randundu karyam, vayarum nirakkam, meyyum minukkam" which translates as 'neyyappam accomplishes two things, filling the belly and shining the body", the body-shining part being done with the ghee left on your fingers after eating the said appam - Waste not, want not!

Although there is no substitute for the traditionally made neyyappam, these are pretty tasty :-)!

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Ghee + a little extra for the muffin tin
1/4 cup Cashews, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Coconut
1 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat or Unbleached Flour (Atta or Maida)
1/2 cup Rice Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
7 Cardamom pods, seeds freshly ground
3 ripe Bananas, mashed
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon or Orange juice
1 cup Brown Sugar/Indian Jaggery, ground
about 1 cup Milk, any kind

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F while you are preparing the batter.

Heat the ghee in a small pan and cook the cashews until pale gold; add the coconut and cook stirring until pale gold. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the flours, ground cardamom seeds, salt, baking powder, and soda in a bowl.

Mash the bananas well and stir in the lemon/orange juice. Stir in the sugar/jaggery and the coconut mixture.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture with small additions of the milk until "just mixed" (do not overdo this part). You should have a thick batter.

Spoon the batter into a muffin tin well smeared with ghee and bake for about 20 minutes.

Test with a wooden skewer or a knife to see if the muffins are cooked; if the skewer comes out sticky, cook for a few more minutes until they are done.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Remove from baking pan to cool completely on a rack before storing in an airtight container.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Liked your website and Thank you for this healthy idea..I like neyyappams and really want to try this healthy version. Did you mean 3 big bananas or small ones??..Pls advise..Thank you...

Geetha said...

Thank you Anon for stopping by and leaving your compliments. Three medium sized bananas or their equivalent amount should work well. Try it out and let me know how you like the results. Happy cooking! -Geetha

Supraja said...

I tried it out and they came out awesome. The dough was thicker than usual muffin batter due to lack of egg and such so I diluted with milk- turned out perfect!

Geetha said...

Hello Supraja, Thank you for the comments; glad to know the muffins turned out great! Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Hi Geetha, I stumbled upon this recipe while I was searching for a Neyyappam and I am glad I did!Awesome recipe! I tried it out and they came out pretty good! Everyone in my family loved it!:-) Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe!
I have one question though, Why are your recipes (well, some of them) doesn't have pictures?! Just curious! :-) Thanks again.

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, first, thank you for stopping and leaving compliments :-). When I am cooking, I get involved and don't often have a free hand or moment for the camera; hence not too many pictures.

Neetha Gangadhar said...

Hi Geetha,
Thank you very much for this baked Neyyappam recipe.. I am pregnant and was craving for the neyyappam but didnt want to fry it.. you saved me from my craving.. this is awesome and easy to make.. was able to make the appams and I am not tired at the end of cooking .. :) Thank you again..

Geetha said...

Hi Neetha, glad to be of help :-). I wish you a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful little addition to your family at the end of it! Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Should the dessicated coconut be put as is, or should we grind it before adding it to the neyyappam mixture?

Geetha said...

Anon, you can directly stir in the finely grated dessicated coconut into the batter - no need to grind unless the coconut shreds are big. The coconut may be toasted dry or after hydrating. The coconut is hydrated by soaking in a spoonful of water for a few minutes. Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Hi Geetha,
My family and I absolutely love appam, but prefer it without banana. Is there any way this baked neyyappam can be made without bananas
I enjoyed going through your blog.

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, Of course you can make neyyappams without any bananas - If you are not averse to adding other fruit, ground or mashed apples, pears, pineapples, etc. will work instead of bananas. If you do not want to add any fruit, you might need to increase the sugar by about 1/4 cup and the milk also by about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more. Try it out and let me know how that works. Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick reply, Geetha. Actually I did try out your recipe (with the bananas), and I baked it in the mini muffin tray. They came out very tasty, however I felt I was eating banana muffins :) Must be a mental block, due to the presence of the bananas. Will certainly try it again, without any fruit, to get the real taste of neyyappam, and will let you know. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Geetha, I tried the recipe again, this time without the banana, and increasing the brown sugar and milk as per your suggestion. I also reducded the atta by 1/2 cup and increased the rice flour by 1/2 cup, and it turned out excellent. I felt that by doing that it tasted less of muffin and more of appam. Thanks again for the recipe and suggestion. Will certainly try out more from your blog.

Geetha said...

Dear Anon, I am very happy to hear that the appams worked well. :) Glad that your experiment was a success - this is the way that our forefathers (well actually fore-mothers usually)cooked - they improvised and made do with what they had. I too experimented with a banana-free muffin that turned out excellent ... will post it soon. Happy cooking!

Shanti said...

Thanks much for this recipe. I love appams but have given up making them because of the amount of fat in them. When I saw this recipe, I was thrilled - although seeing the 1/2 cup of ghee sank my enthusiasm a bit.
I skipped the nuts/ghee completely, instead adding 1/3 cup oil to the bananas along with 1/2 cup of milk (for muffins I use 1 cup milk). It turned out great.
Thanks for the tip to bake it for a very short time - that was crucial for the soft texture.

Geetha said...

Hello Shanti, Thank you for leaving your comments. I am glad you were able to tweak the recipe to your satisfaction. This is an old recipe my mother and I developed originally years ago. I have posted a more recent recipe for appams with only a very small amount of fat - here is the link if you like to try it:http://www.geethaskitchen.com/2013/03/baked-appams-dynamite-spiced-muffins.html Happy cooking!

Sudha V said...

Hi......I would like to try these, but can I omit or substitute the wheat flour to make it gluten free?

Geetha said...

Hello Sudha, wheat flour can be omitted to make these. Use a gluten free flour according to manufacturer's direction. Just so you know, original appams were made with rice flour only.

Happy cooking!