Homemade String Hoppers (Idiyappam)
A Staple of Sri Lankan Cuisine
String hoppers are not only a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine, it seems that they recently have gained some momentum as an international culinary trend.
What are string hoppers? String hoppers (Idiyappam in Sinhala, spelled ඉඳියාප්ප) are small steamed pancakes made out of rice or ragi flour. The flour is pressed into noodle form, which gives string hoppers their unique shape.
I must warn you: String hoppers isn’t something you can easily make at home if you don’t have access to the right instruments. The preparation of string hoppers isn’t very difficult, but it requires the use of a special device, the string hoppers machine or idiyappam vangediya in Sinhala. It’s like a gun that shoots tiny noodles. You will also need forms to steam your string hoppers (called idiyappam thattu), but there’s some room for improvisation here.
Reasons for the increasing popularity might be their unusual look or the fact that string hoppers just go so incredibly well with almost everything Sri Lankan cuisine has to offer. Whether it’s a curry, a chutney, a stir-fry, kiri hodi or a sambol as pictured above, it will taste even better when eaten with idiyappam. In this recipe we will use rice flour. There are also ways to make string hoppers with wheat flour, which takes a bit more work to prepare. Simply send me a message if you’d like how to make them with wheat flour.
500 g rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1. Heat a big pot of water until it’s boiling.
2. Take the pot off the fire and add one cup of unheated tap water.
3. Mix the flour and the salt.
4. Slowly add the water while using a wooden spoon to mix it. Be careful not to add too much water too quickly. Stop adding water once the mix gets the consistency of a slightly thick paste.
5. Use the string hoppers machine to form thin noodles and spread them in a circlewise motion on the forms.
6. Put the forms one by one into the steamer, make sure they’re arranged well so they won’t stick to each other.
7. Steam for 6-7 minutes.
string hoppers preparation: rice flour spread on idiyappam thattu forms in the steamer