Tuesday 3 June 2014

Kuzhi Paniyaram (குழிப்பணியாரம்)

Kuzhi paniyaram (குழிப்பணியாரம்) is a typical Tamilian delicacy that used to be made often in my paternal ancestral home. My father was quite fond of this preparation and I learnt the proportions of ingredients from him! You may serve kuzhi paniyaram for breakfast or serve it as a snack.

Kuzhi paniyaram is made in a special pan with hollow moulds (பணியாரச்சட்டி). Traditionally pans made of stoneware or cast iron were used. I prefer to use non-stick paniyaram pan as less oil is needed to make paniyarams.

Kuzhi paniyaram mould

Wooden sticks used for turning paniyarams

Batter is poured into the moulds and the paniyarams are turned with a stick (often made of wood) to ensure uniform cooking.

Raw rice – 1½ tumblers or 300ml measure
Par-boiled rice or Idly rice – 1½ tumblers or 300ml measure (புழுங்கல் அரிசி/ இட்லி அரிசி)
Urad dhal – 1 tumbler or 200ml measure
Oil – for cooking
Green chillies – 2-3 finely chopped
Ginger – 1” piece, grated
Pepper – 1 teaspoon
Jeera – 1½ teaspoon
Salt – to taste

Note: The ingredients mentioned here make approximately 60 paniyarams.However, the number of paniyarams depends on the size of the paniyaram mould you use.
How to prepare the batter: Wash raw rice, boiled rice and urad dhal well and soak in 2 liters of water for 4-5 hours. Grind the ingredients using a wet grinder into a smooth, thick paste. Add salt and mix well. Allow the batter to stand overnight or at least eight hours. Next morning, mix the batter well. If required, add water to make the batter into pouring consistency. Add chopped green chillies, grated ginger, jeera and pepper corns and mix well. Now the batter is ready for making paniyarams. You may refrigerate the batter and use it to make paniyaram as needed.

How to prepare kuzhi paniyaram: Mix the batter well before using. Heat the paniyaram pan on medium flame. Once heated, add few drops of cooking oil into each mould. You will need more oil, if you are using a cast iron paniyaram pan, Now add the batter into each of the moulds, just short of the brim. Once cooked the batter will rise higher and spread on the surface, if you pour the batter upto the brim. 

Batter getting cooked - bubbles may be seen on the surface

As the batter gets cooked, you will also see bubbles appearing on the surface. Once cooked, the edges of the paniyaram will separate from the mould.

Batter cooked on one side - note the edges separating from the mould. Some paniyarams are turned over.
Now using the stick, turn the paniyarams over so that the top (uncooked) side is in touch with the pan and gets cooked. Keep water in a small bowl ready. Dip the paniyaram stick into water before each use. Turn the paniyarams once or twice to ensure that they are well cooked and the surface is golden brown in color. Remove the paniyarams from the moulds, serve hot with chutney. Kuzhi paniyaram is crisp on the outside with a soft and spongy core.

Golden brown, crispy Kuzhi Paniyaram served with coconut chutney

Note: Soak 2 tablespoons of Bengal gram dhal for 1-2 hours; wash well, drain and add to the batter. Alternatively, you may add finely chopped onions instead of jeera and pepper. 

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