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Ingredients:
20g dried yeast
400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp caster sugar
300g red (or white) rice flour, sifted
300g tapioca flour, sifted, or 100g tapioca flour and 200g trisol
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
around 500ml fizzy water
1 egg per serving to make an ‘egg’ hopper (optional)

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Crispy Egg Hoppers

SERVES: 8-10

I have a real love for the humble hopper. Traditionally, egg and plain hoppers are served at breakfast or as a street-food snack in the towns of Sri Lanka. Like a crumpet, it's crispy on the outside and spongy and soft in the centre. It is sometimes made with an egg broken into the middle - by the time the hopper has cooked, the egg is perfectly poached in the little edible bowl.

Whisk the yeast, coconut milk and caster sugar in a large bowl (the batter will rise!). Wrap with clingfilm and leave for 40 minutes in a warm place.

Add the flours (and trisol, if using), coconut milk, bicarbonate of soda and fizzy water to the consistency of double cream. Whisk and leave for a minimum of 2 hours (I usually leave overnight in a warm place unless in a hurry).

Once your hopper batter is bubbly and smells a bit like beer, it is ready. Heat a hopper pan or frying pan until it is hot but not smoking. Ladle about half a cup of batter into the pan and, once it starts to bubble, swivel a full 360-degree turn to coat the sides of the pan. Crack an egg into the middle of the pancake, if you like.

Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil and steam for 2–3 minutes until the sides of the hopper start to separate from the pan (and the egg is cooked, if using). With a wooden spatula, carefully remove the hopper and serve hot.

Every time you use the hopper mix, give it a good stir with a whisk as the batter will separate. You can freeze the mix freshly made, but if not the batter only lasts a day or so.

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