Paniyaram (Kuzhi Paniyaram Recipe)

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Paniyaram also known as (Kuzhi Paniyaram in Tamil and Gunta Ponganalu in Telugu) are savory, spiced dumplings made from rice and urad dal batter or Idli Batter, onions, spices and herbs with an occasional addition of fresh coconut. It is a delicacy from South Indian cuisine and makes for a good way to utilize leftover idli batter. They are vegan and can be made gluten-free by skipping the asafetida in this recipe.

paniyaram on a plate with a side of coconut chutney.

More on Paniyaram

Paniyaram is popular snack made with idli batter or dosa batter. There are many variations to make them – spicy, sweet or savory. They have a crisp texture from outside and a soft, fluffy texture from inside.

This snack has many names all across South India and even Maharashtra. Check out the list below to know.

  • Paniyaram in Malayalam and Tamil
  • Paddu, Gunta ponganalu, Yeriyappa and Guliyappa in Kannada
  • Appadadde in Tulu
  • Gunta Ponganalu in Telugu
  • Appe in Marathi

My first introduction to paniyaram was when a friend would get these in her tiffin box sprinkled with Idli Podi (dry idli chutney powder). One bite and I was hooked.

They were so much like idli and unlike idli for me. Soft like idlis from within but crisp from out. That is what I like about kuzhi paniyaram.

All you need to make these delicious and soft dumplings is some idli batter. You can either use leftover idli batter or make the batter from scratch. In this paniyaram recipe, these dumplings are made with leftover idli batter.

Kuzhi paniyaram or Gunta Ponganalu are a breeze to make, if you have leftover idli or dosa batter. You only need to add some chopped onions, herbs and spices to the batter and then cook the dumplings.

There are also variations where the spices are tempered or bloomed in oil and then added to the idli batter.

These are also a South Indian tiffin or breakfast snack and they are healthy like most South Indian food. You can serve them with Sambar or Coconut Chutney or any chutney of your preference.

From the leftover batter I either make this masala paniyaram or sweet paniyaram. Given a choice, we prefer the Sweet Paniyaram over the savory ones.

Paniyaram Chatti

The paniyaram is not deep fried or steamed. So you may be wondering how it is cooked?

A special pan is used to make them. It is called a paniyaram chatti (also known as an appe pan). It is basically a cast iron cookware with moulds in it, much similar to the Æbleskiver pan used in European cooking.

This special pan is a must in all South Indian households as it is primarily used to make appam or paniyaram.

The traditional chatti is a heavy metal pan in which the batter does not stick at all. These days paniyaram pans are also available in non-stick varieties. However, I use my authentic chatti at home to make this paniyaram recipe as well as other dishes.

The metal, apart from giving the typical shape to the paniyaram, also lends a unique flavor to it which is missing if any other cookware is used to prepare it. This is the reason that in modern Indian homes, a lot of other snacks like pakoda, vada, etc. are also made in this pan.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Paniyaram Recipe

Make Paniyaram Batter

1: In a bowl take 2 cups of idli batter and then add the following ingredients:

  • ⅓ to ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 to 2 finely chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • ⅓ cup grated coconut (optional and can skip if you don’t have)
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing) – for a gluten free dish skip asafoetida
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped curry leaves
  • salt if needed (if you have not added salt to the idli batter, then add salt according to taste)
ingredients to make paniyaram batter in a bowl

2: Stir to combine and mix well thoroughly with a spoon. If the batter looks thin then add 1 to 2 tablespoons rice flour. If the batter looks thick then add some water as needed.

For a no onion version you can easily skip adding onions to the batter. The addition of onions gives a good flavor and taste. But even without onions these dumplings taste good. Just remember to add the remaining spices and herbs.

You can also add grated veggies like carrots, cabbage, beetroot or finely chopped greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves, amaranth leaves.

prepared paniyaram batter in the bowl

Make Kuzhi Paniyaram

3: Heat the paniyaram chatti on the stovetop. Add a few drops of oil or 1 teaspoon of oil if you prefer in each mould.

The appe pan shown in the below photo makes for large dumplings. Depending upon the size and depth of the moulds the cooking time will vary. Also add oil accordingly. Smaller moulds will need less oil.

The quality and the make of the pan will also determine the cooking time. A lighter weight pan will cook the paniyaram as compared to a heavy pan.

Make sure your pan is seasoned well before you begin. The pan has to be hot when you add the batter.

oil added to paniyaram pan kept on stovetop flame

4: Pour the spiced paniyaram batter in the moulds up to ¾ of the volume.

batter in appe pan

5: Allow to cook for a few minutes on low to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Regulate the heat as needed depending upon the quality and make of the pan.

When you see the sides have become golden then turn over carefully with a wooden skewer or spoon and let the other side cook until golden.

You can also add some more oil if required while cooking the other side. You can use any neutral flavored oil or coconut oil or ghee.

cooking gunta ponganalu

6: You can flip them once or twice more so that they get cooked evenly. When the paniyaram are golden from all sides, remove them in a casserole – so that they stay warm. Cook in batches this way.

cooked kuzhi paniyaram in a casserole

Serving Suggestions

7: You can serve kuzhi paniyaram or gunta ponganalu hot or warm with idli podi or coconut chutney or peanut chutney or onion chutney or ginger chutney or tomato chutney.

In the below photo, I have served them with coconut chutney.

They make for a good breakfast or evening snack or after school snack. These are best enjoyed when eaten hot or warm. They can also be packed for tiffin box or for short journeys.

paniyaram on a plate with a side of coconut chutney.

Expert Tips

  • Use idli batter having medium-thick to medium consistency. If the batter is thin, add some rice flour or rava (cream of wheat or sooji). Keep in mind to add not too much of the rice flour or rava as the paniyaram texture can become dense.
  • Feel free to adapt and change the seasonings and spices according to your health and taste preferences. For a no onion version, you can skip adding onions.
  • You can also make the kuzhi paniyaram more nutritious by adding grated carrots or beets, finely chopped cabbage or capsicum. Even green leafy vegetables like spinach or amaranth make a healthy addition.
  • If you do not have the pan, then shallow fry or deep fry the batter dumplings in oil. Simply pour spoonful of the batter in medium hot oil and deep fry until crispy and golden. While deep-frying make sure that the batter is not thin or runny or watery as this can cause the paniyaram to soak up a lot of oil and the batter can burst or splutter in the hot oil.

More South Indian Snacks To Try!

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paniyaram on a plate with a side of coconut chutney.

Paniyaram Recipe (Kuzhi Paniyaram)

Paniyaram known as Kuzhi Paniyaram or Gunta Ponganalu are savory, spiced, crisp and soft dumplings made from leftover idli batter. Easy to make this paniyaram snack is vegan and can be made gluten-free by skipping asafoetida in the recipe.
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Cuisine South Indian
Course Breakfast
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Idli Batter
  • ⅓ to ½ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger – or 1 inch
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional, skip for a gluten-free version
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper – optional
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped curry leaves
  • cup grated coconut
  • salt if required
  • oil as required

Instructions
 

Making batter

  • In a bowl take the idli batter.
  • Add the chopped onions, green chilies, grated coconut, spices, herbs everything to the idli batter. Mix very well with a spoon.
  • Add salt if the idli batter does not have salt previously added to it. Combine well.
  • If the batter looks thick, you can add some water. If the batter is thin, you can add some rice flour.

Making paniyaram

  • Heat the paniyaram chatti or Aebleskiver pan. Add a few drops of oil or as required.
  • Pour spoonfuls of the batter upto ¾ of the mould.
  • Allow the batter to cook for 2 to 3 minutes on a low or medium heat.
  • Turn each kuzhi paniyaram with the help of a wooden skewer or spoon.
  • Now allow the other side to get cooked and crisp. If needed you can add some more oil.
  • Turn once or twice for uniform cooking. Repeat cooking with the remaining batter.
  • Remove them and keep in a casserole so that they stay warm.
  • These kuzhi paniyaram are also good as tiffin box snack or picnic snack.
  • Serve paniyaram with coconut chutney or sambar or any chutney variety of your choice.

Notes

  • Batter consistency: The batter has to be medium-thick to medium consistency. If your idli batter is thick, add some water. If it is thin or runny, add some rice flour or sooji (rava, semolina). But keep in mind not to add too much of semolina which can make these dumplings hard.
  • Add-ins and customizations: Include your favorite herbs, veggies, spices and customize this recipe easily. You can add veggies like grated carrots or beets, finely chopped bell pepper or cabbage and finely chopped greens like spinach or fenugreek (methi). For small kids omit the green chillies, red chilli powder and black pepper. 
  • Curry leaves: Curry leaves impart a distinct flavor in these dumplings. You can skip them due to availability, but do add the coriander leaves.
  • Coconut: You can use ¼ cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut (finer or smaller flakes) in place of fresh grated coconut. For frozen fresh coconut, thaw before adding to batter.
  • No paniyaram chaati, no problem: If you do not have this special pan, then not to worry. You can deep fry these dumplings in hot oil until golden and crisp.
  • Gluten free: To make a gluten-free recipe, either use gluten-free asafoetida or omit adding it. I have not used asafoetida in the recipe. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Paniyaram Recipe (Kuzhi Paniyaram)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 280 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Sodium 413mg18%
Potassium 118mg3%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 599IU12%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 171mg855%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 302mg366%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 85mg9%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 1743µg436%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 22mg6%
Phosphorus 58mg6%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Kuzhi Paniyaram Recipe post is from the archives first published in January 2013 and has been republished and updated on 23 May 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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56 Comments

  1. Hi, I would love to try this. But I don’t have a paniyaram mould. So is there an alternative like a pan?

  2. Hii dassana ji..m ur regular follower n tried many dishes of urs specially breakfast because I like varieties in my breakfast..i follow u only because it always comes good..now I want to ask you whether I can take it while journey?? please answer as soon as possible..after some days we are going to our native n I want to take this as snaks

    1. thank you niharika. of course you can take masala paniyarams on a journey. it will stay good for 1 to 2 days.

  3. Hii Dassana,
    Can it only be made in the paniyaram chittis?? As i hv nevr made this n am interstd in makin the appams but i dn.t hv the moulds.. How can i make them.. Can they be made using idli moulds? Please suggest..5 stars

  4. Also I add a little bit of rava to the batter just to the paniyarams crispy.. Thought I would share here. Thanks dassana

  5. Hi dassana thank you for inspiring me to cook.. I look at ur website/app to decide my dinner each day!

  6. I loved making these, I have been wanting to make it for a long time . It came out lovely and soft. Mind you I used ready box mixture, and it turned out good.

        1. welcome vijaya. thanks for sharing the feedback. it will help other readers also.

  7. stumbled upon this, when I was looking for idli recepie, as mine came out very dense, ( not spongy at all) I thought they did not come out spongy because I had mixed the batter quite a bit as I made dosa’s first. what is the trick. I do put Methi seeds during soaking, I now make dosas using the rice flour and urad dal flour, for short cut

    1. the texture of paniyarams depends on the idli batter. if the batter has fermented well and increased in volume, then the paniyarams would also turn out good. there is no trick. its just fermentation that is important. a tip would be to add a bit of baking soda or yeast to the batter. the texture becomes better.

  8. I was on holiday in mumbai and bought the pan, and this week was free so I made the small dought nuts which were very nice and every one liked them thank u will be trying more of your recipes thank u

  9. Hi Dassana

    So well tasty recipe but would like to know from where did you buy this paniyaram chatti. f you could help, i would like to purchase the same.

    very healthy recipe,

    Regards
    Sunita

    1. thanks sunita. i bought it from a antique shop. so i don’t think they will have a second piece.

  10. Hello
    Loved your post!
    Tried this receipe for the first time, earlier I used to make using curd & sooji ( in micro) . Turned out to be ok ( am not good at cooking ) but love experimenting, though!
    My query is, the batter that I have is quite a lot so can I use it for making idlis in the micro.
    Would be grateful if you could please let me know. Thanks in advance3 stars

  11. hi Dassana,
    Made these twice with leftover dosa batter and both the times they turned out very good.Thank you

  12. this recipe rocked! thank you! made paniyarams for the very first time today and they turned out perfect.

  13. Hi Dassana,

    The first time I tried to make paniyaram it got stuck to the pan and didnt come out well so pretty scared to try it again, mine is a stainless steel pan…is there any tricks to use this kind of pan. your pan looks classy and vintage where did you buy it.

    cheers
    Dipika

    1. you can apply some oil in the pan and keep it overnight or for a few days. try making one paniyaram and see if it gets stuck or not. if it does not then you can use the pan easily. this is a vintage piece which i got from an antique shop in goa.

    1. hi suruchi. you can even shallow or deep fry them. keep the batter thick, so that it does not spread in the oil. i am not sure about baking as i tried a few and they became dense.

  14. Looks delicious. I’m surely going to try these. I have this chatty at home. We used to make unni appam with them. But now, its just lying idle. Do share the sweet paniyaram recipe too.

  15. Hi, what a cute abelskiver pan
    I really love all your photographs, by the way the photography props are really good and give a rustic feel to the food,where did you buy this copper or brass pan from ,i also like the objects of that metal used in your blog elsewhere in other recipes . Just asked cause i also stay in goa an would like to have them

    1. hi priya, i got the abelskiver pan from a antique shop near mckie’s market in baga beach. i don’t remember the name of the shop. there are some shops there and they sell antique stuff. these pans are popular with the tourists in goa and they use it like urli for keeping flowers in water. i have even seen these in hotels in goa. i guess the other object you are referring to must be the copper plates. these i got from bombay metal shop in madgaon. they have real some good stuff, especially for food bloggers.

      1. Thanks just stumbled on your blog when i googled for a recipe by the way tried your dhokla recipe, turned out fabulous although the method is quite simple we also share some same interests such as preparing nutritious food, spirituality,meditation, photography

  16. These look sooo addictive dassana. I think I have tasted something similar at a south indian friends house. They pair well with chai or filter coffee.