Pesaha Appam and Paal
Pesaha Appam (Indari Appam) and Paal
Pesaha Appam (Indari Appam) is the unleavened special bread made only once in a year, on Maundy Thursday, by Christians in Kerala. A cross is made on the Appam with blessed Palm leaves to denote the holiness of the day. Indari Appam or Pesaha Appam is prepared in Christian households on Passover day in commemoration with the Jewish Passover tradition and for reviving the memory of Last Supper, which Jesus Christ celebrated with His disciples. The head of the family cuts the Pesaha Appam and dips it in Pesaha Paal and serves to all the family members. Till recently, I thought only Syrian Christians made Indari / Pesaha appam, but my Latin Christian friends enlightened me that they too prepare Pesaha Appam on Maundy Thursday.
Pesaha Appam is prepared without fermenting; ie., without any yeast unlike the Palappam, Kallappam or Vattayappam. The Pesaha Paal is made of Jaggery and Coconut milk and everyone dips the bread in the Paal and have during the ceremonious meal.We also observe Kozhukatta Perunnal and make Kanji on Good Friday. It is a very holy tradition that I follow religiously every year. The recipe I have here is collated from both my mommies’ (my mom and mil). I make Pesaha Appam as per my mom’s recipe but with lesser amount of garlic and onions to avoid the pungent taste. The Pesaha Paal I prepare is as per mummy’s (my mil) recipe, which is special. I have observed that according to region, the preparation is different, although everyone makes unleavened bread without yeast.In some regions, they add coconut pieces (thengakoth) for special effects and Banana pieces are served in some regions to have with Pesaha Paal. You may try all these variations and stick to the one that best suits you.
It is really joyful to follow the traditions and every mother should take care to enlighten their children to follow and take part in these traditions, so they hold all these special moments of love and togetherness in their heart and continue this tradition. Also check my Easter special recipes, that include Kuttanadan Duck Roast, Special Fish Molee, Mutton Stew, Nadan Beef Fry and Veal stew and other special dishes. As you all get ready for the Easter services, may God’s unconditional love fill your hearts and homes with Joy, Hope and peace.
Ingredients for Pesaha Appam:
|Rice Powder (Appam/ Idiyappam)||: 1 ½ cup|
|Grated Coconut||: 1 cup|
|Small onion||: 2 – 3 nos.|
|Jeerah (cumin) Powder||: ½ tsp|
|Garlic||: 2 cloves|
|Urad Dal||: one handful (½ cup)|
Ingredients for Pesaha Paal:
|Jaggery||: 250 gms ( 1 ½ balls)|
|Coconut Milk||: from 1 small coconut|
|Matta rice/ rice||: one small handful|
|Jeerah/ Cumin seeds||: 1 tsp|
|Dry Ginger / Chukku||: 1 very small piece.|
|Cardamom (optional)||: 1 no.|
Soak Urad Dal in water for half an hour. Grind the coconut to a fine paste, grind Urad Dal and all other ingredients together.
Boil water, add salt and add the very hot water to rice powder (Appam/ Idiyappam podi) and mix well like you do for Idiyappam (a little more loose).
Add the ground coconut and the other paste to this and combine well to form a thick consistency. Grease a plate and spread the thick batter evenly on the plate and place the cross (made of blessed Palm leaves) on top. Do not keep the batter for long. You need to steam it immediately.
Cook in a steamer/ Appachembu for 10 -15 minutes.
For Pesaha Paal, melt the Jaggery in 1 glass water. Strain and keep in a sauce pan. Wash the rice and drain. Toast the rice in a dry kadai, together with Jeerah and dry ginger. Stir till the rice pop up.
Grind this to a fine powder. Combine the melted jaggery and coconut milk in a steel pot and stir well. Mix the grounded rice powder in little coconut milk, sieve and add to the mixture and stir well till it thickens. Make a cross with the blessed palm leaf and put into this paal. Lastly add the powdered cardamom and take off from the heat.
The head of the family should cut the Appam and dip it in Pesaha Paal and serve to other members after prayers. God Bless!!
- The unleavened Bread or Pesaha Appam is to be cooked immediately after mixing. Do not keep it for long, as it will ferment.
- You can add more small onions and garlic as per your taste.
- For Pesaha Paal, add 1 tbsp rice powder instead of frying and grinding the rice and mix with hot water to thicken the Paal.
- Pesaha Appam and Paa lshould be made in a new plate/ pot or a plate/ pot which is kept separately for this occasion.
- Cardamom is optional.
- You can cut banana (yelakki/ Njalipoovan) and serve with Paal.
Have a blessed Maundy Thursday!! Please share this recipe with your friends and family to keep up the tradition. May God’s abundant mercy and love surround you and your family always! God Bless!