Savoury Poffertjes (Kuzhi Paniyaram)

Kuzhi Paniyaram is a famous breakfast delicacy from southern India. This chettinad dish is a finger licking snack eaten with any chutney (our favourite combination being spicy tomato onion chutney), chutney powder or even just eaten on its own. 


To start off you will need a rice flour batter. In India this batter is used to make savoury pancakes called dosa or a steamed rice cake called idli. Once you have the batter, the rest is simple. Pack a punch of flavours into the batter with some chopped onion and assorted spices. You are all set to make the paniyarama's or poffertjes.


To make this dish what you will need is a special cookware. Its easy to ask for a Kuzhi Paniyaram Pan if you are in south Indian and you will easily find one.. But not outside India..Its not that easy to find it.. After a lot of research, we hit the jackpot! It's actually called a "Dutch Pancake pan" used to prepare dutch pancakes more famously known as "Poffertjes". After some more research we found out that even the Japanese have their own version of these snacks which they call "Takoyaki" or octopus balls.  


While the dutch version is more popular sweet version, the Japanese version is a non-vegetarian savoury version. what we are going to make in this recipe is the Indian vegetarian savoury version of these pancake balls. Call them whatever you fancy.. We can guarantee you that you are going to be hooked to these.


Who knew that the dutch and the Japanese would have their own version of the Indian Kuzhi Paniyaram.. That's enough trivia for the day..Let's get cooking!! 

Makes: 35 pancake balls

Ingredients:
2 cups Idli or dosa batter
3 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoon urad dal
1 pinch asafoetida
10 cashew nuts, split & chopped
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
10 curry leaves. finely chopped
2 tablespoons coconut chunks
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
Water as required
Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Make the filling: Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add urad dal and asafoetida. Roast for a few seconds till the dal turns golden yellow. Now add the onions, green chilies, curry leaves and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium flame till the onion turns translucent. Then add the coconut chunks and mix till it gets a light brown tinge. Remove the pan from heat and add freshly chopped coriander. 
  2. Prep the batter: Mix the contents of the pan to the dosa or idli batter and mix well. Add salt and water as required and your batter is ready.
  3. Cook the pancake balls: Heat the dutch pancake pan and brush each cavity with oil. Pour the batter with the help of a spoon in each cavity till they are 3/4th full. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for a minute. Turn the pancake balls in each cavity upside down with the help of 2 spoons or use a stick. Let the other side also cook for a minute. Its not required to close the pan with the lid each time but this helps cook the pancake balls quickly. 
  4. The pancake balls are now ready. Gobble them up while they are hot! 

Notes:
  1. The dosa or idli batter is a batter made of urad dal and rice ground into a wet batter. The measurements to make this batter will be published soon. 
  2. Make sure your batter is a thick, stiff batter when you start and then add water as required to adjust its consistency. We used a little over 1/4 cup of water to adjust the consistency of our batter. 
  3. Adding coconut and cashew nut is optional. They give a crunch to the pancake balls which adds a nice texture.
  4. You can also choose to swap coconut chunks with grated coconuts or not use it at all. 
  5. We use a non-stick pan and that meant we didn't have to use much oil while cooking. These pancake pans also come in cast iron. 
  6. To test whether the pancake balls are cooked, prick them with a fork and the fork should come clean.



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