Spinach and Aubergine Curry with Appam

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Well, another amazing challenge! This one was fun and above all, really delicious. Mat, who always leaves half a plate of even his most favoured food, ate all his and even started on my leftovers! Now that’s a good review!

I chose to make a creamy coconut spinach and aubergine curry to go with the appam flatbreads. This was served with lemon and rosemary rice.

I will DEFINITELY be making this again!

I will share the recipes as I made them.

For the Appam:


Servings: Makes 15.

1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
about ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)


1. Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours to overnight.

2. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.

3. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. It will not be completely smooth and will be very thick – that is how it should be.

4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry–they are mild tasting when cooked!

5. Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.

6. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.

First attempt – epic failure!

7. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.

For the Curry:

Adapted from here

Serves 4


  • 2 lbs aubergine’s (about 2 large), cubed
  • 1/4 cup/65ml white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • oil or cooking spray
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green chili, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2tbsp minced or finely grated fresh ginger
  • 6 dried curry leaves or 10 fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g sachet creamed coconut
  • 300g frozen spinach
  • 100ml soy yoghurt

In a large bowl, mix vinegar, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt together then add the aubergine and toss to coat well in the marinade.

Heat a large deep frying pan and add a little oil or cooking spray, fry the cubed aubergine, (reserving the leftover marinade) over a high heat until golden and slightly charred – you may need to do this in batches. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any oil, if using.

In a large saucepan, add some oil or cooking spray and add the onion and fry for a few minutes over a high heat until just turning golden, add the remaining ingredients apart from the aubergine, spinach, coconut and crème fraiche and turn the heat very low.

Put the spinach into the bowl with the leftover marinade and microwave for a few minutes until defrosted fully. Boil the kettle and add the creamed coconut to a measuring jug, fill to 100ml with the boiling water then add the crème fraiche to bring the liquid to 200ml. Add the liquid and spinach to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat then add the fried aubergine and stir well, then lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened to your liking and piping hot. Serve with rice and appam.

Nutritional Benefits

No cholesterol
Very high in dietary fiber
High in iron
Very high in manganese
High in magnesium
High in potassium
Very high in vitamin A
Very high in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C
This entry was posted in Daring Cooks, Mains, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Spinach and Aubergine Curry with Appam

  1. Pingback: Fast Indian Curry and Garlic and Coriander Naan | Poppy's Patisserie | Bunny Kitchen

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