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.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 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


  1. Soak the washed rice and ¼ cup urad dal, along with the fenugreek seeds, for 3-4 hours and grind into a smooth paste.
  2. Leave the batter overnight to ferment for better flavours. In case you are short of time, you can also use fresh paste.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in green chillies, ginger and onions and give it a good mix. Add salt.
  5. Heat a paniyaram pan greased with some oil, pour batter into each hole, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium flame.
  6. Flip over and cook the other side.
  7. Serve with coconut chutney, sambar or podi masala.
Sadaf Hussain

Sadaf Hussain

Sadaf Hussain is the author of Daastan-e-Dastarkhan, a consultant chef based in Delhi, and a TEDx speaker. He was one of the top MasterChef India contestants in 2016. He is a passionate storyteller and his interest lies in discovering stories related to the origin of various kinds of food. He runs a food website,, and hosts online food shows that feature street food and rare dishes.

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