Made using a batter similar to crepes, Sri Lanka's crispy-edged rice flour hoppers are formed into edible bowls and filled with toppings ranging from onion sambol to a simple steamed egg. This recipe comes from writer S.H. Fernando, Jr., author of Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking (Hippocrene Books, 2011).
- 1 tbsp. dried Maldive fish chips or coarsely chopped dried shrimp
- 3 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 3 cups rice flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 1⁄2 cups coconut milk
- 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
- Canola oil, for pan
- Eggs (optional)
To make the onion sambol, puree dried fish, chiles, onion, lime juice, and salt, to taste, in a food processor until smooth; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. To make the hoppers, combine yeast and 1 3⁄4 cups water heated to 115° in a bowl; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Combine 1 tsp. salt, flour, and sugar in a bowl; add yeast mixture and stir into a batter. Cover, and let rest for about 2 hours. Add coconut milk and baking soda; stir until smooth. Chill batter for 1 hour.
Heat a hopper pan or an 8″ nonstick skillet over high heat and grease lightly with oil; add 1⁄3 cup batter, and immediately swirl batter around to cover inside surface. Cook until batter begins to set, about 1 minute. Cover, and cook until set and edges are crispy, about 2 minutes. (If you'd like to add an egg, crack it into the center of the crepe before covering pan.) Remove hopper from the pan and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hoppers with sambol.