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Pesaha Appam/Inri/Indri appam and Pesaha Pal recipe in Kottayam style

Written By Kottayam Kitchen on Friday, March 27, 2015 | March 27, 2015

                                                                  Pesaha 2017

                                                                    Pesaha  2012


Pesaha means Passing over,On that day,Kerala Christians prepare unleavened bread with raw rice or rice  powder and a special jaggery- coconut milk as a dip for appam.INRI the term comes from the presence of cross in this appam and in some places its called as Indri appam.
We follows all catholic principles and feast at home.So after marriage, back in US, I made this appam and pal with my friend  for the first time in 2012.In 2013,we joined with our friends for Pesaha.In 2014 i was back at home for Pesaha with my parents,brothers and relatives and my lit one.Yes,Dion's first Pesaha n Easter.It was a memorable day for me as i reached home after two years.In 2015 I have prepared  appam in Dallas and in 2016 i was again back at home.In 2017, i prepared this appam(Pic shown here)in Dallas and this year I will be preparing  this  on coming Thursday(This appam and pal should prepare only on Maundy Thursday).
Usually in my father's family we used to celebrate all occassions,Onam,Christmas and Easter in each siblings house(my father's) as a rotational manner.But only celebration at tharavade with Echachan n Ammachi(daddy's parents) is Pesaha.In our family,its women's privilege to prepare this appam in a traditional way along with ammachi's instructions.
This appam and pal is prepared with extra care.My mother and her sisters(my aunts) combine together and make this appam.I was so happy to being around among them as a helper for grinding coconut and other tiny helps.I was insisted to do such things.Also in our family,an adult male is having the charge of placing the plate with batter in steamer and making of two crosses with blessed palm leaves which we receive from church Osana,Palm sunday after a small prayer.(i didn't hear this custom from any one.But,this is strictly following in our family)After preparing appam and get ready  things for Pal, we go to  church for Lord's Supper or we can call it as Maundy Thursday special Holy Mass.
After Holy mass,our family unites together at tharavade for appam murikkal starting with family prayers.The eldest member of the family used to cut the Pesaha appam and distribute it to the family members along with Pesaha Pal.In our family,Echachan cut the Appam and everybody line up age wise and collect appam and pal from echachan after greeting him.
In our family appam is also preparing in the form of Ela appam or Ela ada.This is in high demand on Good friday since,we are on fast with only 1 meal and having this Ela appam or left over Pesaha appam for break fast and dinner:-) Also in our family special bakery bread is also using along with Pal.
Here is the recipe for a small family:4-5 members

Pesaha Appam

Ingredients Needed

White Rice                 - 1 cup
Urad Dal(uzhunne) - 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut        - 1 .5 cups
Small Jeera               - 1  Teaspoon
Shallots                      - 4 nos
Garlic                          - 1 or 2 small(Dont add more)
Water                         -1/4 cup or add as needed
Salt - as needed

  • Soak Urad dal and rice  in water for 2 hours and grind it to form a smooth paste with little water.
  • Grind grated coconut,jeera,garlic and shallots with little water and make a good paste.
  • Mix Rice + Urad dal and coconut mix in a big bowl and forms a good thick batter  with salt as needed.Keep this batter for  10 minutes or  steam it directly after preparing batter.
  • Apply some oil or butter to the desired pan/plate/tin and transfer the batter to the plate.Keep the cross(made up of blessed Palm leaves) and two small turmeric pieces(on both sides,bottom side of the cross which indicates two thieves who crucified along with Jesus).I don't know whether this is doing in all places.(placing turmeric for thieves).But its there in our family:-)
  • Steam this batter for 15 - 20 minutes in Steamer by using a special plate with lots of hole.In Malayalam its called as appachembu or you can keep this plate in automatic rice cooker,same as we do for steaming plantains.Cover the batter with banana leaves or aluminium foil in order to avoid the water vapor.
  • Remove the plate from steamer after 20 minutes,check it with a tooth pick and allow to  cool.
  • Cook the remaining batter same like this or in banana leaves.(Don't place cross in all appam)

For  Pesaha Pal

Ingredients for 5 adults
Coconut - 1  (Grated and make 1st,2nd and 3 rd milk)
Jaggery - 400 gm(make syrup by melting with 1/4 cup water and strain it) or use more if you need more sweet.
Jeera - 1 pinch
Dried Ginger - 1 piece
Roasted rice powder - 2 Tb sp

  • In a pan,melt jaggery with  little water.When it is completely melt, strain it. 
  • Add 3 cups of medium coconut milk in heavy bottom vessel and stir continuously.
  • For thickening the paal, mix  2 Tbsp rice powder in little hot water and add to pal and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add melted Jaggery syrup and mix well.
  • When it gets Thickened, add thick coconut milk and stir well. Do not boil once the thick coconut milk is added.
  • Add cardamom powder,dried ginger powder and jeera powder with lit salt and mix well.
  • Switch off flame and keep aside.Add  prepared cross into this pal.

For working womens(moms),You can prepare everything on previous night(wednesday night)
Prep for Wednesday night
  • Prepare  coconut milk from gated coconut and store in refrigerator or else  use Maggie Coconut  powder or coconut milk tins as available in Indian shops.
  • Melt and strain jaggery syrup and  store.
  • Make  ahead all powders cardamom,ginger, and jeera.
  • Peel shallots and garlic and store in refrigerator.
Thursday evening after work(Try to reach litle earlier than usual time)
  • First Soak 1/2 cup urad dal when you reach home.
  • Use Rice powder instead of raw rice,so you can avoid that soaking step.Make dough same like we do for idiappam with hot water(For 1 cup roasted  rice, add 1/2 cup hot water(add liitle more water only if needed). 
  • Grind shallots and garlic in small mixxie jar to a fine paste.
  • Grind coconut coarsely,dont make it as paste.
  • Then finally grind Urad dal into fine paste.
  • Mix everything together in a big bowl(rice dough+ urad dal paste+ coconut + shallots and  garlic paste and all dry powders as needed.Check taste and add lit salt as needed.
  • Prepare appam in steel plate coated with oil or butter in   Idli  steamer  or use your rice cooker steamer.
  • Cover appam with foil to avoid that water vapor.
  • Steam for 15 minutes or until the toothpick looks clean when inserted.
  • Then get ready for church and prepare pal after Holy mass.That won't take much time since we already prepare everything on previous night itself.
Extra Notes
  • If you have more people in family make double or triple  this recipe.
  • Also those who are away(abroad) from family try to make this appam and celebrate with friends,so that you won't miss anything back at home.
  • For working womens(moms),You can prepare everything on previous night(wednesday night).
  • Usually in our home,Pal is making 30 minutes prior to the Appam murikkal ceremony.Just make sure everything is ready for that 1 hour before itself.
  • In our family,we are cutting the Pesaha appam in the same plate.If you want to replace the appam to another good plate,keep the plate in cold water for some time,and replace it another plate for serving.
  • You can use any  good quality roasted rice for making this Pesaha Appam.
Hope you all enjoy this detailed explanation.
I would like to hear from you all about your traditions and preparation  methods in comment section.
Have a wonderful Pesaha 

Happy Easter in advance.
Will update with more Easter recipes in the following days.

Kottayam Kitchen

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