Rice Crepes Stuffed with Spiced Poached Pears (stuffed Aapams)

 

It never ceases to amaze me how the simple acquisition of a new kitchen gadget can spur crazy recipe ideas!, In this case, it was a total impulse buy of a miniature shallow wok known as an 'aapam' pan while on holiday in India. Backtracking several dozen steps... "what in the world is an aapam?.. its a crepe made with rice & water (& salt or sugar for seasoning) ' Aapam' - (the first syllable rhymes with the 'Aa' of a sneezy 'aachoo' while the 'pam' rhymes with the word used to describe a good-for-nothing individual or the slang for a homo sapiens derriere! ) are a signature dish of the Chettiars of Southern India. A prosperous community of bankers and traders, their dal & coconut based dishes are vibrantly spicy & characterized by notes of pepper, star anise, cinnamon & cardamom. & I believe their meat dishes are to die for! Rice & crepes usually do not usually occur in the same sentence unless the rice is fortified with a protein (like egg) to hold the starch together within the crepe. The time tested technique to overcome this hurdle is listed below with the recipe. The pears are poached in a liquid spiced with traditional chettinad spices, star anise & cardamom. PS: The aapam pan is simply a shallow miniature wok , slightly concave in shape. The aapam thus cooked on the pan has a fluffy pillow of cooked batter in the center, surrounded by a lacy edge.

What you will need

3 anjou or concord pears

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 star anise pods

4 cardamom pods (intact seeds only)

1/2 cup water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup basmati rice

1/3 - 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon lemon zest

stick of cold butter to grease the pan

2 cups water

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