Activated charcoal is widely considered a superfood. It is said to have been in use in ancient India, even though nowadays it is perceived as a foreign ingredient. I want to explore such ingredients by using them extensively and innovatively in Indian dishes. Kalappam is one creation made with activated charcoal.
For Appam Batter
- 200 gm Pooni rice
- 9 gm activated charcoal
- 5 fenugreek seeds
- Salt to taste
- Oil for greasing pan
- 200 gm coconut milk powder
- 150 gm potatoes, diced small
- 150 gm cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 100 gm carrots, diced small
- 100 gm beans, chopped
- 100 gm onions, sliced
- 25 gm ginger, julienned
- 2 tbsp refined oil
- 1 tsp whole black pepper
- 10 whole green cardamoms
- 8 green chillies, slit
- 4 sprigs curry leaves
For Basil Pesto
- 80 gm basil leaves
- 30 gm Parmesan
- 20 gm pine nuts
- 40 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves
- Salt to taste
- Wash and soak rice with methi seeds in enough water for 8 hours.
- Grind the rice into a fine paste and keep it in a dry, warm place for another 8 hours to ferment.
- Add the activated charcoal to the fermented batter, season it and mix well.
- To make the stew, heat oil in a vessel, temper with whole black peppercorns, green cardamom and curry leaves.
- Toss in sliced onions, ginger juliennes and slit green chillies. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add all the vegetables and adjust seasoning.
- Mix the coconut milk powder and water and pour in the mixture.
- Let the stew simmer on low flame until all the vegetables are cooked through.
- In the meantime, grind up all the ingredients for pesto together into a paste.
- Once the stew is ready, stir in a tablespoon of the pesto and mix well.
- To make the appams, heat a cast iron kadhai well. Grease it with oil.
- With a ladle, pour batter into the pan and give it a swirl so it spreads out evenly in the kadhai. Cover it.
- When the appam starts leaving the sides, take it out and serve with pesto stew.