|Alternative names||Sevai, Santhagai, Putu mayam, putu mayang, string hoppers|
|Region or state||Tamilnadu|
|Associated national cuisine||Tamilnadu,Kerala|
|Main ingredients||Rice flour|
The Idiyappam Tamil: இடியாப்பம் is a rice noodle dish originating from South India and Sri Lanka. It consists of rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed. The food, popular in Sri Lankan cuisine, also spread to Southeast Asia, where it is called putu mayam in Malaysian and putu mayang in Indonesian. Sometimes, it is called string hoppers in English.
According to food historian K. T. Achaya, Idiyappam and Appam were already known in ancient Tamil country around 1st century AD, as per references in the Sangam literature. The words Puttu, Idi and appam are all originating from Tamilnadu and these words are to be found in ancient Tamil literature. The cuisine of Kongu region in Tamilnadu has a variation of this with a name Santhagai and included in wedding ceremony rituals of the region.
The origins of these dishes may stem from South India and Sri Lanka, northern and eastern Sri Lanka, where a similar rice flour noodle is served with sugar and coconut, and sometimes banana too, and is known as idiyappam.
Idiyappam is a culinary speciality throughout Tamilnadu, Kerala, Sri Lanka and southern areas of Karnataka. It is also a culinary staple in Sri Lanka. The name idiyappam derives from the Tamil word idi, meaning 'broken down', and appam, meaning "pancake". Pronounced as e-di- ap-pam The dish is also, frequently, called noolappam or noolputtu from the Tamil/Malayalam word nool, meaning "string or thread". In coastal areas of Karnataka like Mangalore and Udupi it is also termed semige or semé da addae in Tulu, it is eaten with Tuluva chicken and fish curries called Gassi, and also a coconut milk dish called Rasayana. It is also a common breakfast item in Malaysia, where it is called putumayam, typically served with brown sugar and grated coconut.
It is made of rice flour or ragi flour (Finger millet flour), salt and water. It is generally served as the main course at breakfast or dinner together with a curry (potato, egg, fish or meat curry) and coconut chutney. It is served with coconut milk and sugar in the Malabar region of Kerala. It is not usually served at lunch. In other parts of Kerala, Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, it is mostly eaten with spicy curries. Using wheat flour in its preparation gives it a brownish hue.
Mix rice flour with hot water, optionally add ghee, season with salt. Knead into a smooth dough. Fill an 'idiyappam' press or a sieve with the dough and press the noodles onto banana leaves or directly into an idli steamer. Add a little grated coconut if desired. Steam for 5–10 minutes. The idiyappam is served with coconut gratings and coconut milk.
The process for making putu mayam consists of mixing rice flour or idiyappam flour with water and/or coconut milk, and pressing the dough through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. These are steamed, usually with the addition of juice from the aromatic pandan leaf (screwpine) as flavouring. The noodles are served with grated coconut and jaggery, or, preferably, gur (date palm sugar). In some areas, gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) is the favourite sweetener. Putu piring is a Malaysian version of putu mayam in which the rice flour dough is used to form a small cake around a filling of coconut and gur or jaggery.[unreliable source?]
In Malaysia and Singapore, putu mayam and its relatives are commonly sold as street food from market stalls or carts, as well as being made at home, and are usually served cold. In Indonesia, putu mayam is called Putu mayang and is served with palm sugar mixed with coconut milk.
This dish may be eaten for breakfast with a vegetable stew or aviyal, or a fish curry, etc. The same liking for serving the slightly sweet putu mayam, putu piring, or cendol with savoury dishes also occurs in Malaysia and Singapore. Idiyappam is typical of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other southern Indian states, as well as Sri Lanka. A very finely ground, commercial iddiyapam flour is sold as a sort of "instant" way to make all of these dishes.
Media related to Idiyappam at Wikimedia Commons