In Tamil, the term Surulappam means rolled (or curled) flat fried bread. In this case, the bread happens to be a pancake. It also has a sweet stuffing of fresh coconut, sugar, and freshly crushed cardamom, which gives it the most exquisite taste and flavour.
My mother used to cook surulappam for breakfast, and I used to long for those breakfasts because they were that delicious! But she used only water to prepare the batter, almost like the French crêpes, which I found to be a bit chewy. Later on when I began to make them myself, I added milk and baking powder to give the surulappams a soft and fluffy texture.
While the Western world serves crêpes as dessert, we serve them only as breakfast or snacks.
The surulappam is a high energy and medium protein vegetarian breakfast item. The high energy is provided by the sugar and the maida used. Therefore diabetics should avoid eating surulappam with this coconut stuffing. The milk added to make the batter furnishes a very high quality protein. The coconut also provides energy, which is not significant at the amount used and compared to the sugar.
- 2 C Maida (Plain/Refined Wheat Flour)
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 600 ml Milk
- 1 T Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Vegetable Oil
For the stuffing
- 1 C fresh Coconut scrapings
- 3 T Sugar, or to taste
- 3 Green Cardamoms, freshly powdered
- Sift the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. Add salt.
- Make a well in the centre and pour a little of the milk.
- Mix with a wire whisk. Repeat with the rest of the milk till a smooth batter is obtained.
- Allow it to rest.
- Mix the coconut scrapings, sugar, and the powdered cardamom.
- Heat a non-stick skillet. Pour 1/3 C of the batter and swirl the skillet so that it covers the entire surface of the skillet.
- Turn down the heat and allow to cook till the surface becomes dry.
- Dot the surface with a few drops of ghee.
- Turn the pancake over and allow to cook till light gold flecks appear.
- Turn the pancake over again. Place on it 1-1 ½ T of the coconut stuffing.
- Fold one side of the pancake over the stuffing, then the other.
- Turn over the surulappam (folded pancake) and allow to cook for 3 seconds.
- Remove and place on a serving plate.
- I prefer to make the pancake in a non-stick skillet so that a very small amount of ghee/oil can be used.
- Do not spread the batter on the skillet using a ladle like you would do for a dosai. The texture of the pancake will not be even.
- I turn the surulappam over and cook for a few seconds so that the extra heat applied will dissolve the sugar in the moisture of the coconut and a syrup will be formed which improves the taste.
- Instead of the cardamom power available in the stores, I use freshly crushed cardamom, which gives a strong and exquisite flavour.