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Kuzhi Paniyaaram (salted) (rice & pulse dumplings)

November 15, 2013

You will need a ‘Kuzhi Paniyaaram’ karai/wok in cast-iron or non-stick mould/pan to do this dish.

Kuzhi Paniyaarm is originally a ‘Chettinad’ dish – a very yummy breakfast/tiffin.  Chettinad is that part of Tamil Nad that has produced successful Chetty community, foremost bankers in India, credited with introducing modern banking to not only India but also south east Asian nations like Malaysia and Singapore.  Indian Overseas Bank and Indian Bank and Vysya Bank and KVB are only a handful of their contribution to Indian economy and banking industry.  In Malaysia, May Bank is again Tamil Chettiars’ unforgettable contribution to local business.

Chettinad food speciality restaurants are popular not only in Chennai/Tamil Nadu but through out the world among the Indian diaspora.  In Doha, we frequent Chettinad restaurants over any other for authentic south Indian/local recipes in flavour without fancy tamperings, the way we like it.

Kuzhi Paniyaaram is a chettinad speciality, a hit in all south Indian vegetarian restaurants (excluding the Udipi chain).

Normally we follow a fixed ratio of rice mixing for making this dish.  But I generally use the left-over idli/dosa batter from fridge for the purpose.


Left-over Idli/dosa batter   (that i use up this way)

(or) the regular way:

For Kuzhi Paniyaaram batter preparation:

Idli rice/boiled rice – 1 cup

Plain rice/raw rice – 1 cup

Urad dal – 1 tbsp (or a fistful)

Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp

Mix everything and wash and soak the contents for atleast 3 hours.  Grind to smooth paste of idli/dosa batter consistency with water, and salt it and keep aside for fermentation either overnight or for 8 hours minimum (or may be less in very hot summers). On fermentation, the batter rises in volume and this is the basic Kuzhi Paniyaaram batter.

Other ingredients:

Onion finely chopped – 1

Tomato finely chopped – 1

A slice of ginger finely grated (optional)

Carrots scrapings a tbsp

Green chili – 2 very finely grated

Curry leaves – 4 or 5 very finely chopped

Coriander leaves – very finely chopped

Coconut gratings (optional) – 1 tbsp

Cooking soda – a pinch

For tempering:

Mustard seeds – 2 tsp

Bengal gram/channa dal – 2 tsp

Urad dal – 2 tsp

Asafoetida/hing powder – for sprinkling

Oil – 1 tsp

Mix all the ingredients with the fermented batter smoothly.

Heat a wok and add a tsp of oil to it.  When it is hot enough to vaporize, add the tempering ingredients:  mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and asafoetida powder.  Transfer the contents to the batter when the seeds splutter.

Mix everything smooth and even .  Add the cooking soda finally and wait for 5 minutes.  (In case of refrigeration, cooking soda needs to be added only 5 minutes prior to preparation/cooking).  As such, the Kuzhi Paniyaaram batter is complete and ready for refrigeration for future use.  Can be refrigerated for upto 1 week.

For preparing/cooking Kuzhi Paniyaaram,

Oil and rub the Kuzhi paniyaaram non-stick pan/mould  or cast-iron karai lightly with a tissue paper and pour the batter into each hole with a small serving spoon/teaspoon.   Cook with lid closed for about 5 min on medium flame.  Lift the lid and turn the turtles so as to cook the tender side next.  You can see the cooked side is already golden brown.  Within minutes, the hot steaming kuzhi paniyaarams are ready for serving.  Take each one out carefully with a wooden pick.  (The Kuzhi Paniyaaram non-stick pan set comes with such a short wooden pick).

You can cook a batch of upto 10-12 at a time depending upon the size of the pan and the no. of holes in it.  Repeat the process to do more batches.  The initial cooking time for the first batch is hardly 7 minutes and with each successive batch as the pan retains heat, the cooking time gets less and less.

Transfer to food warmer as each batch gets ready, to keep the Paniyaarams hot until serving.

Best served with tomato chutney and coconut chutney and sambhar.  All salted pickles also go with this dish.

This is traditional Chettinad breakfast but served as mostly evening tiffin in other parts of the state.  One of my family’s best favourites.


From → Vegetarian

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