Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

hopper a curious English word formed from the Tamil word appam (also aapa, appa, appe), itself thought to be derived from the Sanskrit apupa, meaning fried dainty. The name hopper, one of a number of Anglo-Indian adaptations of Indian words, refers to a pancake-like speciality of both S. India and Sri Lanka, but was particularly prevalent in the latter country.

Madhur Jaffrey (1985) gives the following vivid description:

I have often said that if a French crêpe were to marry a crumpet or an English muffin, they would probably become the proud parents of appams. Appams are a special kind of pancake made out of a leavened rice batter. They are thick, soft, white and spongy in the centre and crisp and lace-like along their golden edges.