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Pesaha Appam & Paal

Written by Linu Freddy

The Pesaha Appam and Paal make up the Passover Meal for us Christians. This dish is prepared and eaten in memory of two important events in the Bible, one each from the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the old testament, it is the passing over of the Angel of Death from Jewish homes in Egypt while in the new testament this dish signifies the Last Supper. But to me, the Pesaha Appam and Paal means a whole lot more. As a child I never liked this appam since it neither had any taste nor was it sweet (being unfermented). But my father would always insist on having at least a bite of this in memory of the events that passed by eons ago. For that matter, there were a wole lot of stuff I didnt like as a kid starting with beef fry(I know, blasphemy!), kappa and red fish curry. The list is indeed endless! Another important thing was that I didnt understand a word of our church service and found it too long and boring!
But there came a time some years back when I lost my father after a brief illness. And I really didnt knw how to handle the overwhelming sense of grief. For somebody who didnt like talking abt this loss, it was even more traumatic. Luckily for me, we have this custom of being on lent for 50 days after an immediate family member dies and it is advised to attend church every one of these 50 days. And to avoid myself from thinking about my father, I actually started listening to the long service and found (to my utter surprise) that more than half of the service deals with death and after life. About how we should continue praying for them so that they can have a peaceful time till the second coming of Jesus. Somehow, at the end of this long 50 day period, I was left with a better understanding of our prayers and more importantly, the need to trust Him come what may. It sure did help me from loosing my wits altogether at such a trying time. And after this lenten period was over, I devoted myself to start liking everything my father loved so that everytime I did something he loved, I am reminded of him. Same goes for the dishes he loved to eat. I have learnt to love every dish he liked, right from kappa and fish curry to beef. And whenever it gets too hard to bear, I just whip up something that my father would have loved, to banish those blues! The pesaha appam is one such dish and I cant bear not preparing it for Passover and I hope and pray that my children pick up these traditions and cherish them long after I am gone!
Pesaha Appam
250gm fine rice powder
30gm urad dhal (ground nicely)
30gm garlic
30gm shallots
30gm cumin seeds
200gm grated coconut
300ml hot water
1 teaspoon salt
How To
Ground together garlic, shallots, cumin seeds and grated coconut and keep aside. Mix the rice flour and urad dhal well. Add the ground mix and combine well. Lastly, add salt and hot water and mix well to get a thick batter. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Pour into round shallow pans and make a cross with palm leaves in the center and steam for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from fire and allow to cool. Serve with pesaha paal.
Pesaha Paal
60ml coconut milk (1st extract)
375ml coconut milk (2nd extract)
1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder
400gm jaggery
100ml water
1.5 tablespoon fine rice flour
50ml water
Salt to taste
How To
Melt the jaggery in 100ml water. Allow this to boil for a couple of minutes before straining. Combine this strained jaggery syrup with the second extraction of coconut milk. Add the cumin, ginger and cardamom powder and boil for 10 minutes. Now add the first extraction of milk and keep on low flame for 5 minutes. Make sure this does not boil after the second addition of milk. Mix the rice flour with 50ml water to form a paste and add it to the syrup and allow it to thicken. Add salt and remove from fire. Serve with Pesaha Appam.
Source: Syrian Christian Favourites cook book

About the author

Linu Freddy

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