Chippi Appam or Mussel Stuffed Rice Dumplings Wrapped in Banana leaf

It was pure bliss devouring this phenomenal dumplings…

I lack words when it comes to describe the taste of this dish, it’s truly an exquisite! Growing up in a family like mine where there is a blend of different South Indian cultures and cuisines, I always had a chance to taste different types of South Indian cuisine; for instance: Malabar, TamilNadu and Kerala. Even though most of the ingredients used in these cuisines are almost the same, they all got a totally distinct flavor and taste. I absolutely admire Malabar cuisine, all their dishes are rich and I haven’t come across a single dish which I actually disliked, all of them are just fabulous.

Mussel stuffed rice dumpling is a very popular appetizer in Malabar cuisine. They got a few totally unique ways of making mussels, this is just one of them. Elayappam or Rice dumplings with sweet stuffing (Jack fruit or Mung dal) in it which are wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed is a popular snack in Kerala cuisine. This appetizer is quite similar to elayappam, but stuffed with roasted mussels.

I’ve mentioned many times in my blog about my deep love for mussels and for all shell fish, I feel satiated when I say that over and over. My favorite way of devouring mussels are by frying them, so for making the mussel roast I first shallow fried the mussels and made the roast with it. I used rice flour seasoned with some spices to make the dough. Stuffed the dough with the mussel roast and wrapped it in a banana leaf. Steamed the dumplings in a bamboo steamer for about 5 minutes.

Mussel stuffed dumplings were tender and the stuffing tasted heavenly, the earthy flavor imparted by the banana leaf enhanced the taste of the dumplings incredibly.

“Chippi” means mussel in Malayalam (Kerala’s official language)

In North America, you could find frozen banana leaves in most of the Asian super markets and in some Indian stores.

Mussel Stuffed Dumplings or Chippi Appam

Makes: 7 dumplings

Ingredients:

For making the Rice Dough:

  • Rice flour- 1 1/2 cups
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Grated coconut- 1/4 cup
  • Ground fennel- 1 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Ground turmeric- 1/4 tsp
  • Salt- to taste

For making Mussel Roast:

For marination:

  • Mussel, medium size- 25
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Ground pepper- 1/4 tsp
  • Ground turmeric- 2 pinches
  • Salt- to taste

Shallow Frying:

  • Oil- for shallow frying

Making Roast:

  • Oil- 3 tbsp, used for frying mussel
  • Red onion, chopped small- 1 large
  • Ginger minced- 2 tsp
  • Garlic, minced- 2 tsp
  • Green chili, cut small- 1
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Tomato, chopped- 1
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Fennel- 1 tsp
  • Ground Coriander- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt- little

Other ingredients:

  • Oil- for greasing the banana leaves
  • Banana leaves

Instruction

Step 1: Shallow frying Mussel:

  • Marinate the mussel with the above mentioned ingredients for marination.
  • Heat a frying pan and add enough oil for shallow frying (don’t have to add too much oil)
  • Add the mussels in oil and shallow fry it, don’t over fry it till it turns crispy.
  • Transfer on a paper towel and keep aside.

Step 2: Making Mussel Roast:

  • Place a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add the same oil used for frying the mussels.
  • Add onions and little salt, saute till it turns tender.
  • To the onions, add minced ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves.
  • Cook till the onions starts to get caramelized.
  • Add the chopped tomato and let it get mashed.
  • Add all the masalas: ground fennel, ground coriander and garam masala, combine well.
  • Put the shallow fried mussels to it and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • If the mixture is too dry, add little water to it and cook.
  • Remove from the heat and keep aside covered.

Step 3: Making dough:

  • Tip: For making soft and better tasting dough, use roasted rice flour: if you are using store bought rice flour, roast it in a pan or oven ( 350 F) till it starts to turn light golden. Be careful not to over roast it or burn it.
  • Boil the water in a saucepan.
  • Add grated coconut, salt, ground fennel, turmeric powder and garam masala to it.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add rice flour and combine it using a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool down for a few minutes.
  • You should start kneading, when the dough is still warm.
  • Knead it for 3 minutes until it’s well incorporated.
  • If the dough is hard while kneading, sprinkle little hot water to it.
  • Keep aside, covered with a damp towel.

Step 4: Stuffing and Wrapping the dumplings:

  • If you have a long banana leaf, cut it into 4 parts or so.
  • Wash the banana leaf well under running water.
  • Place it over low flame of your stove to wilt it, so that it won’t tear apart.
  • Wipe the leaves with a paper towel.
  • Grease the banana leaf with little oil.
  • Take a small ball out of the prepared dough.
  • Place it on the banana leaf.
  • Using your hand, flatten it to a round shape, don’t make it too thin. You could use little oil to flatten the dough.
  • Place 1 tbsp or so of mussel roast over it. Don’t over stuff it.
  • Carefully close the dough and paste the edges.
  • Gently press a fork on the edge of the dumpling to make the marking (optional).
  • Wrap the stuffed dumpling with banana leaf, keep aside.
  • Place the wrapped dumpling in a bamboo steamer and close it with its lid.
  • I used bamboo steamer to steam cook, you could use regular steamer or keep the dumpling in a bowl covered with aluminum foil.
  • Add 1/2 cup water to a large wide pan, place it over medium heat.
  • Place the bamboo steamer over the hot water and let it steam cook for about 6 minutes.
  • After 6 minutes, carefully open the steamer and using a spatula to take the dumplings out and place it on a plate.
  • Repeat this till you have steamed all the dumplings.
  • Serve hot as an appetizer.

Tips:

  • You can make the stuffing with shrimp or chicken as well. Follow the same recipe.
  • Using this recipe, you can only make 7 dumplings, double the amount for making the dough so that you can use all of the mussel roast.
  • If there is any mussel roast remaining, you can have that along with any rotis, chapatis, rice etc.

 

Chippi Appam or Mussel Stuffed Rice Dumplings Wrapped in Banana leaf
 
Ingredients
For making the Rice Dough
  • Rice flour- 1½ cups
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Grated coconut- ¼ cup
  • Ground fennel- 1 tsp
  • Garam masala- ½ tsp
  • Ground turmeric- ¼ tsp
  • Salt- to taste
For making Mussel Roast
For marination
  • Mussel, medium size- 25
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Ground pepper- ¼ tsp
  • Ground turmeric- 2 pinches
  • Salt- to taste
Shallow Frying
  • Oil- for shallow frying
Making Roast
  • Oil- 3 tbsp, used for frying mussel
  • Red onion, chopped small- 1 large
  • Ginger minced- 2 tsp
  • Garlic, minced- 2 tsp
  • Green chili, cut small- 1
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Tomato, chopped- 1
  • Garam masala- ½ tsp
  • Ground Fennel- 1 tsp
  • Ground Coriander- 1½ tsp
  • Salt- little
Other ingredients
  • Oil- for greasing the banana leaves
  • Banana leaves
Instructions
Step 1: Shallow frying Mussel
  1. Marinate the mussel with the above mentioned ingredients for marination.
  2. Heat a frying pan and add enough oil for shallow frying (don't have to add too much oil)
  3. Add the mussels in oil and shallow fry it, don't over fry it till it turns crispy.
  4. Transfer on a paper towel and keep aside.
Step 2: Making Mussel Roast
  1. Place a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the same oil used for frying the mussels.
  3. Add onions and little salt, saute till it turns tender.
  4. To the onions, add minced ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves.
  5. Cook till the onions starts to get caramelized.
  6. Add the chopped tomato and let it get mashed.
  7. Add all the masalas: ground fennel, ground coriander and garam masala, combine well.
  8. Put the shallow fried mussels to it and cook for a couple of minutes.
  9. If the mixture is too dry, add little water to it and cook.
  10. Remove from the heat and keep aside covered.
Step 3: Making dough
  1. Tip: For making soft and better tasting dough, use roasted rice flour: if you are using store bought rice flour, roast it in a pan or oven ( 350 F) till it starts to turn light golden. Be careful not to over roast it or burn it.
  2. Boil the water in a saucepan.
  3. Add grated coconut, salt, ground fennel, turmeric powder and garam masala to it.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, add rice flour and combine it using a wooden spoon.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool down for a few minutes.
  6. You should start kneading, when the dough is still warm.
  7. Knead it for 3 minutes until it's well incorporated.
  8. If the dough is hard while kneading, sprinkle little hot water to it.
  9. Keep aside, covered with a damp towel.
Step 4: Stuffing and Wrapping the dumplings
  1. If you have a long banana leaf, cut it into 4 parts or so.
  2. Wash the banana leaf well under running water.
  3. Place it over low flame of your stove to wilt it, so that it won't tear apart.
  4. Wipe the leaves with a paper towel.
  5. Grease the banana leaf with little oil.
  6. Take a small ball out of the prepared dough.
  7. Place it on the banana leaf.
  8. Using your hand, flatten it to a round shape, don't make it too thin. You could use little oil to flatten the dough.
  9. Place 1 tbsp or so of mussel roast over it. Don't over stuff it.
  10. Carefully close the dough and paste the edges.
  11. Gently press a fork on the edge of the dumpling to make the marking (optional).
  12. Wrap the stuffed dumpling with banana leaf, keep aside.
  13. Place the wrapped dumpling in a bamboo steamer and close it with its lid.
  14. I used bamboo steamer to steam cook, you could use regular steamer or keep the dumpling in a bowl covered with aluminum foil.
  15. Add ½ cup water to a large wide pan, place it over medium heat.
  16. Place the bamboo steamer over the hot water and let it steam cook for about 6 minutes.
  17. After 6 minutes, carefully open the steamer and using a spatula to take the dumplings out and place it on a plate.
  18. Repeat this till you have steamed all the dumplings.
  19. Serve hot as an appetizer.
Notes
You can make the stuffing with shrimp or chicken as well. Follow the same recipe.
Using this recipe, you can only make 7 dumplings, double the amount for making the dough so that you can use all of the mussel roast.
If there is any mussel roast remaining, you can have that along with any rotis, chapatis, rice etc.

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