Grind together the rice flour/rava and the cardomom pods into a very thick paste.
Add the powdered jaggery and grind again. When you grind the jaggery, do not add water. The jaggery will melt on its own.
Add ghee and maida/milk powder.
Coconut can be added optionally. Mix well into a thick batter.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
With a sunken ladle, pour small quantities into the oil(the size of a cookie) and deep fry to a rich dark brown colour.
Hints: 1. Adding milk powder/maida helps thicken the dough and gives additional softness to the appams.
Appams are usually deep-fried in ghee. Hence the name Neyyappam. Such appams are very fatty and so to produce the same taste as ghee-fried appams, 3 tsp of ghee are added to the dough before frying.
Appams are usually made in a deep bottomed vessel called the "appa-karai" which has specifically designed cups for making such appams. In the absence of such a vessel, make sure that the dough is very thick, so that it does not run when poured into the pan for deep frying.