Kuzhi paniyaram or kara paniyaram is a very popular South Indian dish. It is also called appe, paddu, guliappa, gunta ponganalu etc in different parts of the country.
These are small balls made with a seasoned batter in a special pan called the paniyara kal or appe pan. The balls are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Generally in South Indian homes, we use the idli batter to make paniyarams. The idli batter which is ground in large quantities and stored in the refrigerator tends to become sour with each passing day.
Mostly the last batch of the batter is used to make this. But this recipe does not use the idli batter.
This is the paniyaram batter different from the regular idli batter, though it can be also used to make dosas or uthappams too.
This recipe will also be helpful for people who want to make paniyarams but do not have idli batter on hand.
The seasonings added, enhance the flavor and taste of the kuzhi paniyarams. But it can be made with just the batter too, esp for kids like mine who do not like any additions in the batter 😀 .
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In the restaurants in Tamilnadu, this is usually served in the evenings or for dinner with chutneys and sambar.
At home, we serve it with coconut chutney which is the best accompaniment for this dish.
I still remember how at school all of us pounced to grab a piece whenever one friend brought this for lunch. It was always paired with the thick coconut chutney and tasted divine.
The sweet version of this is called unni appam which is also very popular. And then there is the not-so-common millet kuzhi paniyaram as well as the ones made with other grains.
These are best made in cast iron or bronze pans. Soapstone pans and mud pans are also commonly used. But all these need to be seasoned before use. Nonstick pans though are easy to operate are best avoided.
You can consider this as the eggless, savory gluten-free version of the Japanese takoyaki and the Danish Aebleskiver naturally leavened by fermentation.
Do give this a try. Over to the recipe..
- 1 cup idli rice
- 1 cup raw rice
- ½ cup urad dal
- 1 tsp methi
- water as needed for grinding
- salt as needed
- oil as needed for cooking
- 10 shallots/small onions (chopped)
- 1-2 green chillies (chopped)
- 1 tbsp coconut bits(optional)
- few curry leaves (chopped
- 1 tsp channa dal
- ½ tsp split urad dal
- ⅛ tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp oil
- Clean, wash, and soak the rice, urad dal, and methi together in a sufficient quantity of water for 2-4 hours.
- Grind this in a wet grinder or mixer to a smooth batter.
- Add salt and transfer to a medium-sized vessel. Let this ferment for 8 hours or overnight.
- The Next day, in a pan, take 2 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds, urad, and chana dal. Once the mustard splutters and the dals start browning add all the items given under 'for tempering' and saute for a few minutes.
- Add this to the fermented batter. Mix gently and check for salt.
- Heat up the paniyaram pan and add oil to the cavities. Pour the batter to the brim using a small ladle.
- Cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes. Flip over, drizzle some oil and cook till both sides become golden brown. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
- Fermentation time will vary according to climatic conditions.
- If you cannot source idli rice you can use any parboiled rice.
- Always keep the flame on a low medium, else the paniyaram will not cook on the inside.
- You can use more oil as per personal preference. I tend to use sparingly, around 3 tsps for a batch of 7.
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