Idiyappam (String Hoppers) with South-indian style Pepper & Ginger soup

Idiyappam (String Hoppers) with South-indian style Pepper & Ginger soup

Idiyappam with south-indian style pepper and ginger soup
Idiyappam and soup
This is one recipe that I need to give total credit to my mother-in-law (single biggest plus of joint-family). I learnt from her both of these dishes. Idiyappam and soup is a staple at our house, we have it at-least once a week. It is super-easy and super quick to prepare. I was for quite a long time intimidated by Idiyappam, by this silly stringy thingy until I learned to make it. In restaurants, Idiyappam is usually served with Vegetable Korma or sweetened coconut milk. I initially scoffed at the combination of Idiyappam and soup during my early married days, like Men in Black dubbed in tamil – funny but strange. I have to say I’ve grown to really like it. Dip the soft idiyappam in the fiery hot soup for just a moment before popping it into your mouth and then wait for the black peppers to hit the back of your throat – boom.

Gives quite a pungent kick. You’ll need getting used to this flavour combination though, a bit like A.R.Rahman songs, the first few times they’ll seem unexciting until you hear them over and over and you grow to love them.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Serves: 3-4

Idiyappam Recipe

Rice flour – 3 cups
Salt to taste
Boiling hot water


1.      Add salt to rice flour and mix well.

2.      Add boiling water a little at a time to the flour and mix with the back of a wooden spatula. Keep adding and mixing till all the flour is incorporated and you have a soft dough. It should be soft to touch, moist but non-sticky. It should be moist, a dry dough would make the idiyappam taste powdery. Keep it covered with a lid. The consistency of the dough is critical to the texture of the idiyappam. This is it.

3.      Fill the Idiyappam press with some dough and start piping from the centre making slightly overlapping circles and working your way out to the outer edge of the idiyappam plate. Don’t worry if your circles aren’t proper circles, are squiggly. I don’t. Make sure the idiyappam plate is fully covered and evenly covered. Repeat the same piping process to cover all your idiyappam plates.

4.      Stack the idiyappam plates in its holder. Place a steel vessel big enough to hold the idiyappam set-up with 1 cup water on high and place the entire set-up inside the vessel. Make sure the water level is well below the lowest idiyappam plate. Cover with a tight fitting lid. The idiyappam should be done in 5 mins. You can check by wetting your finger and then touching an idiyappam, if it is non-sticky it is done. Be careful of steam burns when you test for done-ness.

5.      Remove the idiyappam holder from the vessel. Remove each idiyappam plate, invert and tap the plate on the rim of a bowl to loosen the idiyappam from the plate and into the bowl. There you have it. Fine soft Idiyappam just like in hotels. Serve with soup or vegetable korma.

South Indian style Pepper and Ginger soup

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves 3-4


Onions – 2 medium sized chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized chopped
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp for tempering
Curry leaves – few for tempering
Coriander leaves chopped – a handful for garnishing

Dry-roast Masala

Ginger – 2 inch
Black pepper corns – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Cumin – 1 tsp


1.      Dry roast the ginger, black pepper corns, curry leaves and cumin and powder.

2.      In a pot, boil 6 cups water, add onions, tomatoes, turmeric powder and coriander powder and let boil for 5-10 mins till the vegetables are cooked through.

3.      Add the powdered masala, give it a good stir and let boil for 7-10 mins till the raw taste of the pepper vanishes. This is a thin soup, so add water if the soup has reduced too much.

4.     For the tempering, heat oil in a kadai (skillet) and when hot, add cumin and curry leaves. Pour the soup into the kadai and stir. Switch off and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with idiyappam.

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