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Kuzhi paniyaram, the mini cuties are a specialty of Chettinad cuisine. Although it originates from Chettinad, it is a specialty in other Tamil cuisines as well.
In recent times it has become even more popular with the restaurants making them fresh right in front of their customers. This trick of theirs sure makes us take a look at how it is prepared. I have seen Amma making Aappam & Paniyaram numerous times but I tend to wait and watch at how they are made at the restaurants. It is indeed an art in progress.
Made with batter comprising of rice & lentil, these paniyarams are made both as sweet and savory version for breakfast or as a snack for the evening along with filter coffee. Rice and lentils are soaked and the batter is ground and fermented before seasoning with onions and green chillies for the savory version~Kara Kuzhi Paniyaram.
Ingredients:For the Batter:
- 1 cup Sona Masuri rice
- 1 cup Idli rice
- 1/4 cup ullutham paruppu/whole urid Dhal
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek
- Salt to taste approx 2 teaspoonFor seasoning:
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped green chillies
- finely chopped curry leaves & cilantro
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon ulluthamparuppu/ broken urid dhal
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida/perungayam
- 5 to 6 tablespoon oil
Preparation :1. Soak the rice, paruppu/dhal and fenugreek for about 4 hours the previous day. Grind to a idli batter consistency. Allow this batter to ferment. (follow tips for fermenting here).
2. On the day of making the Paniyaram, heat two tablespoons oil in a kadai/pan and add the mustard. When they splutter add the urid dhal, when it turns light brown add asafoetida then onions and saute for few minutes until the onions turn soft.
3. Now add green chillies, curry leaves and saute well for few seconds. Add this to the batter along with cilantro.
4. Mix all ingredients well. Now heat the paniyaram chatti (you could also use the ebleskiver pan). and add ¼ teaspoon oil into each indentations. Once it heats, add spoonfuls of batter (approx 4 tablespoons-depends on the size of into each indentation) until its more than 3/4th full.
5. Cover with a lid and allow to cook and the bottom is browned and crisp.
6.Turn over and cook the other side. Make sure that the stove is at medium-low so that the inside also gets cooked without burning the outside.
7. Once both sides are brown and crisp, drain on a kitchen napkin.
Serve with Sambar or any Chutney.
TIPS: I have made paniyaram with the batter made specially for them. Idli batter can also be used with the same seasonings. Grated coconut can also be added.