For this week of blogging marathon, I am doing combo dishes and the first one in the series is the vellai paniyaram. I have heard a lot about it, but never tasted it. The minute I hear the word Paniyaram, it reminds me of the movie Roja, where there is a mention of this Vellai Paniyaram. So when I saw this dish among the few that Valli had suggested for us to make, I decided to try it.
After reading through several posts about the Paniyaram, I was a little scared to make it. People have mentioned how easy it is to mess this up. The consistency of the batter is very important to get the right texture and shape of the paniyaram. Vellai means white in Tamil, so this paniyaram has to be cooked in such a way that it maintains the white color. For this when we deep fry the paniyaram we have to maintain the oil temperature so that it does not roast it.
Also the amount of ullutham paruppu (urad dal) to rice ratio is very important. More paruppu will result in more of vadai or bonda like paniyaram instead of its leafy shape. The paniyaram itself has not much flavor to it, but when paired with this spicy chutney immediately transforms into a marvelous dish. I have another recipe of the Chettinadu style chutney in the blog, so take a look at that as well.
Preparation time – 15 mins plus about 4 hrs to soak the rice and dal
Cooking time – 45 mins
Difficulty level – medium
For the Vellai Paniyaram – (makes about 20 small paniyarams)
- Raw rice – a little less than 1 cup
- Ullutham paruppu/urad dal – to make up for the rest of the cup above the rice (about 3 tbsp)
- Salt – to taste
- Milk – 3-4 tbsp
- Onion – 1 small (roughly chopped)
- Tomato – 2 (roughly chopped)
- Red chili – 4-5
- Garlic – 3-4 cloves
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Ullutham paruppu – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – few
- Asafetida – ¼ tsp
- Salt – to taste
To make the Paniyaram –
- Measure out the rice and Ullutham paruppu. Like I mentioned, this is how people measure them for perfect texture. Fill the cup measure with rice almost filled up to the top but not all the way top. Now fill the remaining part with the ullutham paruppu. Just to make it easier, I measure out how much paruppu it takes and it was about 3 tbsp.
- Soak them both together for about 3-4 hours. Then grind it into a smooth batter adding enough salt. The consistency of the batter should be similar to thin dosa batter. To make up for the consistency add few tablespoons of milk.
- Heat the oil to deep fry the paniyram in medium flame. Now take a ladleful of batter and pour it into the oil. The paniyaram will begin to float up right away. Now using the strainer ladle, pour oil gently over the cooking paniyaram. This will give it the nice leafy, crinkly border. Once the paniyaram puff up and come up, turn it over and cook for about 10 seconds on the other side. Do not fry it longer than that because it would change the color of the paniyaram. Also it is very important to adjust the temperature of the oil. If the oil is too cold, it will make the paniyarm stick to the bottom. Too hot of an oil could roast and change the color of the paniyaram.
- Drain the paniyarm on an absorbent towel and serve hot with the milagai chutney!
- Grind the onion, tomato, red chili and garlic in the blender to make a coarse paste.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and ullutham paruppu and let it fry for a minute. Now add the curry leaves and the asafetida and fry for few seconds.
- Add the ground mixture and mix well. Let it boil well until the raw smell disappears and the chutney thickens. Now add the required salt and let it cook for few more minutes. Take it off the flame and serve with the Paniyaram.