Don't you just love the name already? Hoppers or appa are a typical Sri Lankan breakfast. Or for any time of the day.
Thin pancakes with crispy edges made from rice flour, coconut milk and palm toddy (or yeast). Wonderfully versatile they work with eggs, curries, chicken and vegetables. My favourite is an egg nestling in it.
Sometimes simple is best, so this morning we enjoyed egg hoppers on the balcony overlooking the madness that is Colombo. Perfect to set you up for a day of palm trees, sunshine and the beach (sorry). I'm sure they'll be just as good when I'm back in freezing London...
Here's how to recreate a little bit of Sri Lanka at home. Recipe is adapted from Sri Lankan Cooking, by Douglas Bullis and Wendy Hutton.
Ingredients (makes 5 egg hoppers and 5 plain hoppers)
250 grams rice flour (or plain flour)
30ml palm toddy or 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
350ml coconut milk
Salt, for seasoning
Coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying
5 eggs, at room temperature
Combine the rice flour, toddy or yeast, sugar and half the coconut milk in a medium sized bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel, leave to rise overnight or for 6-8 hours.
The batter should have doubled in volume. Add the remaining coconut milk and season with salt. It should be the consistency of thin paint. If it's too thick add a few tablespoons and mix well.
Heat a greased hopper pan over a low heat. Any high-sided small hemisphercial pan with 2 handles will do if you don't have a hopper pan.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan, swirl the pan so that the batter coats the full surface and up the sides.
Crack an egg in the centre.
Cover the pan and cook until the white of the egg is cooked through and the hopper is crisp and browned on the bottom. This takes approximately 4 minutes. The photo below is after 2 minutes.
Remove and serve. You could also try with curries, vegetables, cheese. I'm doing my best to try all the different types, for research purposes of course...