A mid its signature dishes like meen kuzhambu, kozhi varuval, and crab rasam, Chettinad cuisine’s wide repertoire of vegetarian delicacies often gets ignored. There’s no denying that most Chettiars are meat lovers but as one delves deeper, the region unravels its plethora of deceptively delicious options. The fragrant spices, fierce curries and other locally sourced ingredients all come together, resulting in a unique culinary tradition. Kuzhi paniyaram is one of the most commonly eaten breakfast dishes in areas like Karaikudi. There are many versions of this mini doughnut but our money is on the authentic Chettinad version.
Recipe for Chettinad Kara Kuzhi Paniyaram
→ Wash and soak 1 cup raw rice, 1 cup idli rice, 1/2 cup urad dal and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds for four hours
→ Grind until smooth and fluffy using water as needed. the batter needs to be thick
→Coarsely grind 2 green chillies and some curry leaves
→ Add salt to the batter, whisk well and let it ferment overnight
→ In a pan add 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp chana dal and 1 tsp urad dal
→ Once the mustard splutters, add 2 finely chopped onions and some salt. Cook till it is translucent
→ Take 2 cups of the fermented batter and add the chilli paste and onions
→ Heat the paniyarakkal and spoon in a little oil in all the moulds
→ Pour the batter and let it cook. Once done, flip it*
→ Cover and cook again for a minute till crispy and golden brown
→ Serve hot with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and sambar
* You can check if they are cooked by inserting a toothpick
A paniyarakkal is essential to the preparation of these rice batter balls. You can opt for the classic cast iron pan or check out the modern copper or non- stick aluminium ones.