The shrivelled old paati had an aappa kadai at a street corner in Lakshmi Puram, Madurai.
Her aappams were the best in the world to me. She made a mildly sweet karupatti aappam that was so delicate that it came apart by the time it reached your mouth. The aappa kadai is not there anymore; every time I pass by the street, I feel sad. So when I heard that a new aappa kadai was in town, I hoped to find aappams at least half as good as paati’s there.
A long list of aappams
Nalas Aappa Kadai has 13 varieties of aappams. This includes the plain, egg, egg masala, bulls-eye, chicken kheema and mutton keema aappams. Then there are the kids special aappams such as rangoli, butter paneer, cheese, cheese cashew, gingelly cheese and flower aappam.
All of which, according to head chef V. Muthu, are easy on the stomach. “Aappam is healthy. It’s enjoyed by adults and children alike,” he says.
A native of Tirunelveli, chef Muthu has worked at all branches of Nalas. He is here to share his expertise with the staff at their Coimbatore branch.
An expert at making aappams, Muthu has over 20 years of experience in the industry. He started off as a helper in the kitchen who washed dishes and mopped the floor.
All of Nalas’ aappams, explains Muthu, were ideated by his boss, the managing director.
Work at Nalas starts early in the morning. The first thing they do is soak rice to make the aappam batter. The batter is ground at around 9 a.m. and at 11.30 a.m., the first aappam for the day is made.
The nice thing about Nalas’ aappams is the variety. Who would’ve thought of kheema aappams? Smeared with minced meat and a mild masala, the aappams are delicious.
Soft as a cloud
Biting into the butter paneer aappam is “like eating clouds” as my fellow diner put it. It is pure indulgence with all the butter.
But it is the cheese cashew aappam that takes the experience to a whole new level. It comes with cheese, a generous sprinkling of powdered cashews and sugar.
Muthu says that in a month’s time, they plan to introduce gold aappams!
The ground floor of the restaurant has the good bargains where combo meals are served. It is called Express Aappa Kadai.
The combos start at Rs.44 , and there is a variety of combinations such as veg aappam with coconut milk, kal dosai and salna, two aappams and kadalai curry, two aappams and chicken chettinad, and so on.
Upstairs is their fine dining restaurant, with every thing from soups (try the drumstick soup), starters (chicken sukka and prawn in curry leaves are a must-try), Andhra, tandoori, Arabian, Chinese, Chettinad and south Indian delicacies.
There are kulchas and parottas, grilled and barbeque chicken.
While my Madurai paati’s karupatti aappam was not there on the menu, the cheese cashew aappam more than made up for it.
Nalas Appa Kadai is located at No.986, Sathy Road, Gandhipuram. For home delivery, call 81242-22888, 81243-33888.