Indari Appam and Pesaha Paal

Indari Appam or Pesaha Appam is unleavened bread and Pesaha Paal refers to Passover Coconut Milk made on Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) among the Kerala Syrian Catholics. Holy Thursday falls on the day of the Jewish Passover. The Malayalam term for Passover is Pesaha.

Pesaha Appam – Unleavened Passover Bread

According to the Holy Bible (Exodus Chapter 12 &13), the first Passover was instituted by Lord through Moses and Aaron. On Passover day, God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. It was known as “The Festival of Unleavened Bread”.

According to the New Testament, Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples on the day before he was crucified. After washing his disciples feet, Jesus broke bread and gave it to his disciples and also offered the cup of wine. Thus Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the “Last Supper”.

Hence on Maundy Thursday, Catholics commemorate the Institution of the Eucharist.

The tradition of making Pesaha Appam and Paalu on Pesaha would have come from the early Jews who came to Kerala. The Jewish tradition is preserved in the consumption of Pesaha pal (passover coconut milk) instead of wine on the night of passover along with Pesaha appam (unleavened passover bread).

Pesaha Paal – Passover Coconut Milk

This is our first Easter in US and I asked my mother in law for the recipe for making Indri Appam and Paal. I guess this is the traditional Kerala Knanaya Catholic way of making Appam and Paal.


  1. Rice Flour – 2 cups (It doesn’t have to be roasted)
  2. Grated Coconut – 1 1/4 cup
  3. Uzhunnu (Urad Dal) – A handful (soaked in water for a few hours)
  4. Shallots (Kunjulli) –  5 or 6 pieces
  5. Garlic – 2 cloves
  6. Cumin (Jeerakam) – 1/2 tsp
  7. Salt – to taste
  8. Water – as required

Preparation Method

  1. Take rice flour in a big vessel and add a pinch of salt.
  2. Grind the soaked uzhunnu parippu with little water to form a fine paste and add it to the rice flour.
  3. Grind shallots and garlic to form a fine paste and add it to the rice flour.
  4. Grind coconut and 1/2 tsp jeera to form a coarse paste.
  5. Mix everything together adding little water to form a thick batter. Add more salt if required. The consistency of the batter should be slightly less than that of idli batter.
  6. Keep the batter for around 2-3 hours but no longer or it will ferment.
  7. Grease a steel plate or line it with Banana leaves and pour the batter and spread it evenly (I used Aluminum Foil for lining the vessel). Make a cross using the Palm Leaves from Palm Sunday and place it on the middle of the batter. This Appam with the cross is known as Kurishu Appam.
  8. Steam it for around 15 minutes in an AppaChembu or Idli Cooker.
  9. With the remaining batter, you can make appam in the same way without the cross.


  • You can dry roast the urad dal (uzhunnu) for a few minutes before you soak it. This is how my Mother does it.
  • Again another tip by my mom. It is preferable to use roasted rice flour since it enhances the taste.
The batter for Pesaha Appam

The batter for Pesaha Appam

Kurishu Appam

Kurishu Appam ready for steaming

Ingredients for Pesaha Coconut Milk

  1. Coconut Milk – 3 Cups
  2. Sharkara (Jaggery) – 1/4 kg (Use Black Jaggery for a dark color)
  3. Rice Flour – 1/4 cup (Try to use Roasted Rice Flour)
  4. Powdered Dry Ginger (Chukku) – 1/2 tsp
  5. Powdered Cardamom (Elakka) – 1/4 tsp
  6. Powdered Cumin – 1/2 tsp
  7. Black Sesame Seeds (Ellu) – 1 tsp

Preparation Method

  1. Melt jaggery by boiling it slowly in around 1/2 cup of water. Filter the syrup.
  2. Take coconut milk in a saucepan. Keep it on low heat and bring it to a boil stirring continuously.
  3. Add jaggery syrup to the coconut milk and stir for a few minutes.
  4. Dissolve the rice flour in little water and add it to the above mixture so that the mixture thickens. Keep stirring so that there are no lumps.
  5. Add the powdered spices (dry ginger, cumin and cardamom) and finally some sesame seeds to the milk.
  6. You can add small pieces of the palm leaves to the Pesaha Milk.
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25 comments to Indari Appam and Pesaha Paal

  • nisy mathew

    thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Jojy

    Thank you very much for this valuable recipe. Here is a suggestion. We add some njaalipoovan pazham cut like chips just after cooking of the Pesaha Paal is over.

  • Sini

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I can make it this Maundy Thursday!

  • Anu James

    I was searching for this recipe. Back home, Pesaha Appam used to be a tradition every year. I am waiting to try this recipe.

  • Molly

    Tried this recipe last year and it was really good. Going to make it this year also. thank you

  • […] Kerala Maundy bread, made from unleavened rice-flour flavoured with onion, garlic and salt. Before eating, it is dipped in a bowl of sweet coconut milk and jaggery sauce. This represents the bitter-sweet nature of Maundy Thursday. The small cross is fashioned from a Palm Sunday leaf. […]

  • Tina

    If using rice,instead of rice flour how long we need to soak and what should be the measurement?

    Hi Tina,
    Sorry for the delayed reply. I really don’t know how to make this recipe with raw rice. Back home, everybody makes it with roasted rice flour. Probably, you can try it with soaked rice just like we make Palappam. You will need to soak the rice for at least 6 hours before grinding. Please let me know if you try it.


  • Jina John

    Your recipe has been a great help for people like me who live outside Kerala. Thank u so much.

  • manju

    Thank you Jisha for this recipe. I have been making Indari Appam every year because of your recipe.

  • Laya sbu

    Thank you.This year I will make pesaha appam and pal with guidence of this recipe………….

  • Teena

    My parents don’t use jeera for indri appam.Thank u for the recipe!

  • Jeyes

    Thank you for this recipe both appam and paal turned out great !!

  • […] some help from Anish, who took me up on the suggestion to ask questions.   We hoped to enjoy some Pesaha Paal (Keralan Matzah), but Anish told us that only the nuns know how to make it and they only do it on […]

  • Dr.Annie Ninan

    Thank you ,looking forward to use this next year.

  • jinse joy

    thank u very much for the recipe.

  • Vanitha Thomson

    … I’m from Karnataka married to a malayali… Dint know to prepare this appam which is not practiced in my native … Thank u for ur recipe… So that I can give surprise to my husband…

  • saiji

    In pesaha pal do not use cardamom,cardamom using only payasam recipes or other sweet recipes Adding cardamon it resembles payasam. Pesaha pal is not payasam

  • This maunday thursday, i am going to try this, thats tomorrow

  • George

    We dont use any spices in the pal i guess because the pal is not considered equivalent to payasam.

  • Bindu

    We don’t use cardmom in the milk.It gives taste same like payasm.All other things same like knanaya people does.thanks for the recipie

  • Beena Chowallor

    I tried it came out well!! thanks for posting.

  • DaChalisseryvis

    Thank you very much for the receipe and God bless you

  • Davis Chalissery

    Thank you for the receipe and God bless you.

  • Laveena

    Good recipe, exactly what I was looking for, I couldn’t memorize what we were doing home. Thank You

  • manju

    Thank you for this recipe. I ttied both the recipes and they came out really well.

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