Sri Lankan Hoppers

November 03, 2018
Sri Lankan hoppers are a fantastic Sri Lankan breakfast. They are a type of bowl-shaped pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk, cooked in small round pans, they tend to come out crispy round the edges, thicker at the bottom.  Hoppers are usually accompanied by a bowl of Seeni sambol and pol (coconut) sambol. Making hoppers can be quite tricky and time consuming. After all making hoppers without a proper Hopper pan is even tricky. This hopper recipe is an easy recipe and you would love making hoppers everytime.



(makes around 20 hoppers)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup roasted rice flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1 cup warm water for the yeast
4 tea biscuits/Marie biscuits/corner pieces of bread
3 tbsp sugar
1 small egg (or half of a large egg)
1 tsp salt or as per taste 
500ml of very thick coconut milk (I used canned) 
Enough thin coconut milk/ cold water for the hopper batter ( this is approximately, use little at time to thin the batter)




Directions

1. Dissolve instant yeast with warm water and sugar. Put the biscuits in this and let it soak and rise for about 30 minutes.
2. After the yeast has risen, pour it to a large saucepan or container(as the batter will be fermented) along with egg, salt, all purpose flour, roasted rice flour and thick coconut milk and mix well using your hand. Then add the thin coconut milk little by little and mix well whisking with your hand or with a whisker. 
(Using whisker will incorporate air in to the batter and will help in getting holes in the hopper crust)
3. Whisk the batter until it becomes lumps free and smooth. The consistency shouldn't be too runny nor too thick.
4. Cover the batter and keep in a warm place for about 8 hours to rise. (If you are living in a colder country, the batter should be kept at least 12 hours)
5. Once the hopper batter has risen, you can see bubbles in the batter. Carefully stir the batter.
6. Heat a hopper pan over medium to high heat. When you place the hand over the pan, you should feel the heat. (When you pour the batter you should hear the sound)
7. Slightly grease the pan with oil. Swirl batter in the pan. (Do not cover for 20 seconds. Let the steam escape and holes form in the crust)
8. Cover and let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes in medium heat, until the edges of the hoppers are golden. (Open the lid in the middle to make the steam escape once)
9. Carefully loosen hopper with a knife or a rubber spatula and serve hot! 

How to make different hoppers

  • Egg Hoppers : Heat hopper pan over medium-high heat. Slightly grease the pan with oil. Swirl batter in the pan and let it cook for few seconds. Then crack an egg in the middle. If you like you can sprinkle some salt or pepper. Cover and let cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the edges of the hoppers are golden.. Loosen hopper with a knife and serve.
  • Jaggery Hoppers : Heat hopper pan over medium-high heat. Slightly grease the pan with oil. Swirl batter in the pan and let it cook for 2- 3 minutes. Then Sprinkle some grated Jaggery in the middle. Cover and let cook for a minute until the edges of the hoppers are golden. Loosen hopper with a knife and serve. I like the Jaggery pieces to be crunchy. So that I add the grated Jaggery when the hoppers are 90% done. 
  • Cheese and Onion Hoppers. Heat hopper pan over medium-high heat. Slightly grease the pan with oil. Swirl batter in the pan and let the hopper cook for about 2 minutes. Then sprinkle grated cheddar cheese. Cover and let cook for a minute or until the edges of the hoppers are golden. Then add the chopped onions to the melted cheese. Loosen hopper with a knife and serve.

Notes:
  • I used a non-stick hopper pan, so that it was easy for me to remove the hopper. If you are using a new aluminium hopper pan, removing hoppers could be quite tricky. You have to season aluminium pans before use. This seasoning can be done by frying and egg with sesame oil, two or three times. 

  • Proper fermenting is very important. If your hopper batter is not properly fermented, hoppers will not turn out as expected. 

  • Heat control also plays a big role in getting perfect hoppers. Hoppers should be cooked in medium to high heat. If the heat is too high, the hoppers will begin to curl from edges.

  • Always keep the hopper batter covered. Let the batter rise until you make the last hopper. 

  • While making hoppers, if the batter turns out to be very thick, add a little thin coconut milk and stir well. 

  • Another essential tip is the thickness of your coconut milk. Very thick coconut milk with less water will give you perfect hoppers. I used canned coconut milk which is very thick and it is very easy. Do not use powdered coconut milk. 

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