Taste of Diwali
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Recipe courtesy of Deepa Shridhar

Kuzhi Paniyaram

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 16 hr 25 min (includes soaking and fermenting times)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 15 to 20 paniyaram (4 to 5 servings)
I love this recipe because these crisp, fluffy fermented rice idlis are definitely a festive food, perfect for Diwali or any special occasion. Diwali is all about sharing great meals and snacks, and being with your friends. These paniyaram are flexible enough to serve with your favorite savory condiments or with sweets. The batter is traditionally made with soaked basmati rice and black gram dal, but I also include rice middlins (rice grits made from broken Carolina Gold rice) because I love to incorporate Southern cuisine from America into my own South Indian dishes. I hope this recipe helps you celebrate many Diwalis in the future!





Special equipment:
a nonstick or cast-iron appam or paniyaram pan
  1. For the batter: Soak the whole rice and fenugreek seeds in a medium bowl of water overnight. Soak the dal in another medium bowl of water overnight. Drain both bowls and transfer to a blender.
  2. Soak the middlins in a medium bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain, then add to the blender. Add 1/2 cup fresh water and blend thoroughly, adding up to 1/2 cup more water, until the consistency resembles a very thick pancake batter. Transfer to a large bowl and store, covered, in a warm place for about 8 hours and up to overnight.  
  3. For the fillings: Melt the 2 tablespoons ghee in a medium skillet. Add the red onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with black pepper. Let cool. Add to the batter long with the curry leaves, cilantro stems, chiles, ginger, hing and salt and stir.  
  4. Get your nonstick or cast-iron appam or paniyaram pan hot over medium-high heat. Brush to generously grease the pan molds with ghee and add 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of your batter to each mold, leaving a little room at the top. Cover the pan and cook, letting the paniyaram form, 2 to 3 minutes.  
  5. Use a spoon or even a chopstick to flip each paniyaram. Cover the pan again and cook until the paniyaram are crispy and brown, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter until all the paniyaram are cooked. Serve hot with many podis and chutneys.