March 26, 2013

Pesaha / INRI Appam with Paal (Traditional Unleavened Bread for Maundy Thursday)

Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter to commemorate the Maundy or Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of the Holy Week, followed by Good Friday and is always between 19 March and 22 April (inclusive), with these dates falling on different days depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is used liturgically.

Pesaha Appam is the unleavened Passover bread made by the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala (India) to be served on Passover or Maundy Thursday night and has its origins from the ancient Jewish tradition of making unleavened Passover bread. It is made from Rice, Urad Dal and is not fermented with yeast, in its preparation. Traditionally, Pesaha Appam is served in a ceremonial manner on Passover night in Syrian Christian households where the head of the family cuts the appam, dips it in Pesaha Pal (Passover milk), and serves it to family members for supper.

Makes - One 7" round appam 1/2" thick or 5" round almost 1" thick

For Appam
¼ Cup - Urad Dhal
3/4 Cup - Roasted Rice flour (Refer Notes)
3/4 Cup - Coconut
½ Tsp – Jeera Powder
1 small clove - Garlic
1 - Shallot (optional)
Ghee or coconut for greasing the dish
For Paal / Kurukk

1 Can(14oz)/ 400ml - Coconut milk or Fresh thick coconut milk
3/4 Cup - Karripetti / Jaggery
2 Tbsp - Rice flour
1 pinch - Dry Ginger powder (Chukku)
1/4 Tsp – Cardamom powder

For Pesaha Appam
  • Soak the Urad dal in water for 2 hours
  • Add the Urad dal, coconut, shallots, garlic and jeera into a fine paste and transfer it to a bowl.
  • Mix the batter with rice flour and add just enough water to bring the batter to the same consistency as Idly batter
  • Pour the batter into a greased dish. (If you have fresh banana leaves, line the dish with the leaves and pour the batter over it)
  • Place the Palm Cross over the appam. 
  • Steam it for 15-20 minutes or until done.
For Pesaha Paal
  • In a nonstick saucepan, melt Karripetti / Jaggery in 1/2 cup of water. After it melts strain it.
  • Add coconut milk, rice flour, ginger powder and cardamom powder to the melted Karripetti / Jaggery
  • Transfer it to heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
Notes and Tips
  • You can use the homemade roasted rice flour(varrutha arri podi) or commercial appam/iddiappam podi
  • Adjust the amount of jaggery or karipatti in the pesaha paal to achieve the desired level of sweetness
  • If you dont have jaggery or karipatti, try using brown sugar
  • You can increase the amount of jeera in the appam to your taste. I personally like to keep those flavors mild so that it is not overpowering when eaten with the Pal.
  • Use a very small clove of garlic 



  1. I love appam but this is a new kind that I saw for the first time. Thanks for explaining the ritual!

  2. Great recipe Shema. Now that I'm based in the UK, I'm trying hard to keep some old Syrian Christian traditions alive in my new homeland. I'll have to give this a go. Ann x

  3. Look fantastic.. simply superb... amazing clicks...

  4. Loved the click and some very interesting and tempting recipes!

  5. I am trying yours today Shema !But I think you missed the adding rice powder part to the appam batter.

  6. Dee, I have corrected it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention

  7. Very interesting and unique, I would love to make something like this next year. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I recently learned about appam. I'd love to taste this!

  9. I havent had this type of Appam before. gorgeous clicks Shema.

  10. Chechi...tried ur recipe and it came out really good. ....U inspired me to celebrate maundy Thursday for the first time after marriage. ..
    Thanks heaps....


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