Appam are bowl-shaped rice pancakes cooked on one side only in a curved iron pan. They are typically served with a coconut milk curry. Even if you can't duplicate the distinctive form, the sweet, yeasty flavor of this recipe is authentic.
In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast with 3/4 cup of the water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of the water to a boil. Add the cream of rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a bowl, combine the rice flour and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Add the cream of rice, the yeast mixture and the remaining 3/4 cup of water; whisk to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the batter has doubled in bulk and smells pleasantly sour, 8 hours or overnight.
Whisk the milk, salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar into the batter. Heat an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet. Pour1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet; it should sizzle and spread out quickly, forming a thin lacy pancake. (If the batter is too thick, thin it with a bit of milk.) Cover and cook over moderate heat on 1 side only until well browned on the bottom and dry on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Eat immediately or transfer to a platter and keep warm until all the Pal Appam are cooked.