There are many versions of these round, fluffy and crispy rice balls. But the one I like the most is from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, which is generally synonymous with spicy food and a complex blend of flavours. Paniyaram is easy to make, provided you have a paniyaram maker.
- 1 cup raw rice
- ¼ cup urad dal
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- A handful of curry leaves
- Green chillies, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Soak the washed rice and ¼ cup urad dal, along with the fenugreek seeds, for 3-4 hours and grind into a smooth paste.
- Leave the batter overnight to ferment for better flavours. In case you are short of time, you can also use fresh paste.
- Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and mustard. Once they start to sizzle, toss in curry leaves and urad dal. Once fragrant, pour this into the prepared batter.
- Stir in green chillies, ginger and onions and give it a good mix. Add salt.
- Heat a paniyaram pan greased with some oil, pour batter into each hole, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium flame.
- Flip over and cook the other side.
- Serve with coconut chutney, sambar or podi masala.