Friday, 27 September 2013

Vegetable kuzhi paniyaram

Off late we have been talking about trying something different for breakfast. I mean, other than the usual bread, crumpets, pancakes or idlis and dosas. I remember trying these paniyarams when I travelled with my parents to Karur, in South India, one summer when I was in high school. I remember that it was totally delicious and we all of us in the family ate them for breakfast every single day during that trip. The trouble was, none in our family know how to make it! I called my friend Boon (who is from that area) and got the recipe (& the vessel to make it) from her. If you do not have one of these paniyaram vessels you can just shallow fry them straight in the frying pan. I added some veggies (like grated carrots and sweet peppers) to the recipe, but, the original recipe just requires onions and other Indian seasoning. It turned out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and delicious (exactly as I remember it). Kuzhi in Tamil means a dent/hole. These paniyarams are made in a vessel with many dents (see pic below) and hence called kuzhi paniyaram. They can be sweet or savoury. Below is a recipe for the savoury variety.

You will need:
3 cups of idli batter
1 small onion (or use 1/2 med. onion)
1/2 carrot grated
1/4 cup sweet peppers chopped finely
2 fresh green chillies- chopped fine (optional)
1 inch ginger grated or 1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp oil for seasoning + extra for greasing the pot
salt to taste

Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add mustard seeds allow to splutter. 

Add onion, green chillies and ginger. Saute' until onion is tender. 

Add carrots (& sweet peppers if using) and salt to taste and stir fry until carrots are cooked. 

Add this to the idli batter. Mix well. 

Grease the paniyaram vessel well and heat it up to medium. Lower the heat to med-low.

Add 1 tbsp of batter at time to fill about 3/4 of each kuzhi/dent in the paniyaram pan.  

Cover and cook until golden brown. Gently turn them over and cook on the other side until golden brown.  You may need more or less oil depending on the pan.

Best served warm. Anjalie likes these better than idlis since it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Although, you can heat them up in the microwave, they will lose their crispiness on the outside. Particularly with a non-stick paniyaram pans, now available, these are quick and healthy snack/breakfast. You can also make sweet paniyarams by mixing jaggery/molasses/palm sugar/brown sugar, grated coconut (or powder) and cardamom powder (& nuts if you want) to the batter and cook them just like mentioned above. We here just prefer the savoury variety.

Tip: If the batter does not raise well (which happens in temperate areas when cold and the batter does not ferment well) add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the batter. This will help to get soft paniyarams.

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