Pesaha / Indri / Inri Appam and Paal

You can see the updated version of this recipe (step by step pictures included) here.

Easter is almost here and those who are on lent will be desperately counting the days.Usually Easter is celebrated in the months of March and April, which is the school summer vacation time in India. I’ve very fond memories of Easter during my early school years and the most important one is the Pesaha appam murikkal (breaking of unleavened bread) on Maundy Thursday. During my early school years we celebrated the Pesaha appam murikkal at my amma’s place, in Cochin itself, and for Easter, we used to go to my appa’s place at Changanacherry. Now those of you who don’t have any clue about Maundy Thursday and Pesaha appam murikkal chadangu, please read on.

Maundy Thursday is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It  has a great significance in Christian faith because of three major events happened on that day. Those events are:

Maundy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist. Jesus had his last supper with disciples on this day. According to the old testament, this supper was the Passover Meal – a meal at which Jews remembered the covenant (agreement) God had made with them when they were released from captivity in Egypt.  At the supper, Jesus passed round the bread to his disciples and said “this is my body, take it and eat it” and gave the cup of wine and said “this is my blood, take it and drink it”. This was done to mark God’s NEW covenant, and that, whenever we ate or drank in this way we were to remember Jesus and what he did for us. This is the basis of the Holy Communion service in a Christian Church (sometimes called the Eucharist, Lord’s supper or Mass)

During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. He performed this humble task to remind them that they were to serve each other with love just as he had loved them. Even today this ritual is followed on Maundy Thursdays, where Priests wash the feet of 12 parish members, representing the twelve apostles.

Also, the night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. During the rest of the night and through the night up to Good Friday, he stood trial under the High Priest, Herod, and Pontious Pilate, before being crucified on the Friday morning.

Back home in Kerala, on Maundy Thursday morning, we go for mass, during which the priest wash the feet of parish members and also start the preparations for the Good Friday & Easter. In the evenings, we have appam murikkal, which is celebrated to commemorate the last supper of Jesus. We make special unleavened bread (which is known as Indri or Pesaha appam) and Paal (jaggery drink/dip), in which the appam is dipped for the occasion. The entire family will come together for the appam murikkal. The eldest member will lead a short prayer and then distribute the appam and paal to all members in the family.

The making of pesaha/indri appam (unleavened bread) is a special ceremony and is prepared with much respect and special care. We usually place the palm leave (which we get from church on Palm Sunday) in the form of a cross and make the appam and paal. This appam is made only on Maundy Thursday. Usually the appam is cut on Maundy Thursday evenings and the leftover will be the breakfast on Good Friday mornings. Since we are obliged to fast on Good Friday, that will be the only solid food that we have till evening. So usually the demand for Appam & Paal is more on Good Friday :)

Though I’ve made appam on all the four Pesaha (passover) we celebrated after wedding, I never took a picture . The one above is my mother in laws’. This recipe is my maternal grandmother’s recipe, which I got from my aunt, Tesschechy. I guess, there are different ways of preparing it and this is how we prepare it at home.


Here is the recipe:

You can see the updated version of this recipe (step by step pictures included) here.

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Pesaha / Indri / Inri Appam and Paal

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Author: Maria Jose Martin


For Appam

  • 1 cup Rice powder
  • 1/4 cup Urad dal (uzhunnu)
  • 1 cup heaped Grated Coconut
  • Garlic – 1 if it is big and 2 if its small
  • 3-5 Small onion / Pearl onion
  • A pinch Jeera
  • 1 - 1.5 cups Water

For Paal

  • 400 gms Jaggery
  • 3 cups Medium thick coconut milk
  • 1 cup Thick coconut milk


  • To Make Appam:
  • Soak urad dal for 2 hours and grind it into a smooth paste by adding little water. Grind coconut with garlic, small onion and jeera with little water, until everything is combined well. Add salt & keep the water to boil, when bubbles start appearing add rice powder, little by little (vattikuzhakkuka) , making sure its not watery. The dough should be soft. Add urad dal paste and coconut paste. Combine everything well. The consistency of batter should be same as that of Idli batter. Transfer the batter to a well greased steaming tin. Place the cross made with palm leaves on the middle of the batter. Cover the tin with aluminium foil. Steam in appachembu/steamer for 18 – 23 minutes. Let it cool for sometime and then transfer to a serving dish. Use the same flame till the end, ie if you are using medium flame, cook on medium flame through out.
  • To Make Paal:
  • Melt jaggery with a little water. When it is completely melted, strain it. Add 3 cups medium thick coconut milk and stir continuously and when more than half of it is evaporated, add thick coconut milk and stir well. Do not boil once the thick coconut milk is added. For thickening the paal, take 1 or 2 tbsp rice powder and mix it with hot water and add to paal and cook for a few minutes.


I generally use the smallest burner in the stove to steam the appam. If you find it difficult to transfer the appam from steaming dish, place the steaming dish in cold water for sometime and then transfer the appam to a serving plate. I use Nirapara appam & Idiyappam podi to make Indri appam.

Reference sites :

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  • daaaaa……
    iyyyyyyoooooo last year my grandmother passed away……so eee pravashyam palu kachan okkillaaaaa….
    hmmmmm enikkum vene……..

  • Maria,

    We do have things in common.. this was going to be one of my post for this week :) Your indri appam looks yum ( I must admit I rarely eat it though :D )

    Very well explained post :)

    Happy Easter!!!


  • wonderful . Thanks a mil for posting the Indri appam recipie.
    we will be making it as you dircted it .
    love you for this
    Happy easter from Texas

    • Hi Annamma

      Really happy to know that you find it useful and thanks a lot for writing to me.

      Wish you and your family a happy easter!!


  • hi …

    i was jst surfing the net to find how to make the indri appam and pesaha paal..and i am really lucky to have found ur site..thks a ton and now i am sure i can make the appam and paal this yr..every yr for easter we r at our hubbys place and amma will make it but this time cldnt make it to india so i will be preparing it..i will surely let u know how it turns out..thks again dear..

    • Hi Sindu

      Very happy to know that you find this useful. Hope the appam and paal comes out well. Please do let me knw about it.

      Wish you and your family a happy easter!!

      Take care

      • hi maria

        thks a ton cos the pesaha appam and paalu and came out really great.i was really doubtful as to how my first attempt wld be but everyone liked it..thks to you and ofcourse to my mother – in law also….thks a lot..

        • Hi Sindu

          Very happy to know that your appam came out well. Thanks for letting me know about it dear. Hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family.

          Take care

  • Dear maria
    hi. thanx a millon for ur recipe .i am going to make right i have to take it to church in the evening.i too enjoy cooking but since i am working i have to have less time consumming recipies.
    with love and prayers
    Happy Easter

    • Hi Sangeeta

      Hope your appam and paal came out well. Please go through my old recipes, I’ve some simple, less time consuming recipes :). Hope you find that interesting.

      Happy easter to you and your family too.


  • Hi Priya

    This is a special dish made by kerala christians. Hope you’ve some kerala christian neighbours :) or you’re welcome to make a quick trip to Bahrain :)

    Tina – so sorry to hear about your grandmother. saramilla, you can have it next year :)

    Thanks Ria and waiting to hope to see your post by today evening :). Btw, I also didnt like it when I was small, but now I love it :)

    Thanks Ann. Hope you will be able to make it this year :)

    Ammu – Happy easter to you and Prethesh also. I will try to take pics this time :)

  • Thank you Maria

    You are really helping many people around the globe. I forgot to ask my mom the recipe yesterday. Today I thought I am not going to make it but your site made the whole difference.

    Priya from California.

    • Hi Priya

      Thanks for dropping in the blog and writing to me. Hope your appam came out well. Also hope that you had a wonderful Easter with your family.


  • Crispus – thank you, hope your appam came out well :)

    Divya – thanks a lot dear for trying this out. Am really happy to know that it came out well. Anyways I will pass on the credits to tesschechy :)

  • hi maria

    This was my first easter after I got married. Came across your blog while searching for the pesaha appam recipe. Tried it with a little more cocunut. It came out really well (unlike many of my past attempts at cooking). Thanks a lot :)

    Tried the paal with a few additions
    – crushed jeera based on my mom’ s recipe
    – pazham (cut into round slices) as per my hubby’s suggestion

    Keep up the good work

    • Hi Achu

      Thanks a lot for trying out the recipe and very happy to know that you liked it. Thank you for letting me know about it. Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

      Adding jeera to paal is new to me, I will give it a try next year. At my place also they add pazham to pal, I dont like fruits, thats why I dont use it.

      Please do try other recipes also when you’ve time.


    • Hi Kashyap,

      Thanks for letting us know about it. They have also copied a Fish recipe from here. Looks like they have copied recipes from other blogs too.

      We have emailed and asked them to remove it. Hopefully they will do that.

      Thanks once again…


  • i have heard about this appam from my xtian friend prathibha….i have never had it, so dont have a clue how its gonna taste…but ente kannu aa paalil aanu ketto…..vaayinnu vellam vannu poyi.sherikkum…I c

    By the way the people who coiped teh recipe plus pic, that is still there…..give them a complaint maria…..

  • BTW, i am a great fan of ur cousin annitas blog as well…but she has stopped blogging now…i was thinking of asking u, she working?…i just wish she continued…she was doing an awesome job…

  • Mariakuttyehh,….. :)
    Happy Easter to you & your fly. One Q about the measurements.. Did you use U.S measuring cups for this for the appam? Thanks a lot dear…

    • Hi Sherin,

      I know the reply comes late, but I use US measuring cups. I guess I’ve mentioned that to you in one of my previous emails :)

      Hope you had a wonderful Easter!


  • thanks for the recipe. just one doubt wht is this paal is it something to pour on top of the appam. sry i hv never tasted this efore gng to try for first time


  • Maria..Easter preprations evide vare aayi?im going to make pesaha appam n paal for the ist time.for paal can we use maggie coconut powder?will the taste be thick coconut mil measurements?do reply wen time permits..have a blessed holy week dear !!

  • Maria,going to make pesaha appam n paal for the 1st time.For paal can i use maggie coconut powder,will the taste be good?also can u let me know the measurements to be taken for thick coconut milk.Have a blessed holy week dear!!

    • Hi Tina, hope you got my mail. I always use maggi coconut milk for making paal. thick coconut milk – 3 tbsp maggi powder and 1 cup water, med thick – 2 tbsp powder and 1 cup water, thin milk – 1 tbsp powder and 1 cup water. You can always adjust the qty to suit your requirements. Hope your appam and paal came out well.


  • Maria,planning to make this for the 1st time.Can i use maggie coconut powder?will the taste be that good?also can u let me know the measurements required for med thick milk n 1st milk.Have a blessed holy week dear!!

  • One suggestion regarding the milk.  Rice flour to thicken the Paal is added to the thin coconut milk and cooked for few minutes, then 3-4 yellow bananas finely sliced are added, and lastly, adding the thick coconut milk and powdered cardamon to complete.

  • Hi Maria
    Thnx 4 d recepi dear… bt I want 2 know whether dry fruits can also be added into it ?? And after adding banana how long it can be kept safe with out change in the taste ?

    Saumya Karunakaran

  • Usually my wife makes the indri Appam at home. As she is working this time, I decided to try it first by googling the recipe. Yours was the first. The recipe combination appeared almost similar to idly mix. So tried that way. ( did not want to experiment on Maundy Thursday). One portion Urad dal, 3 portions raw rice, one portion parboiled rice, one portion grated coconut, salt, jeera to taste, 4- 5 shallots and garlic. Came out fantastic and soft.
    Thanks for the recipe though.

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