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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chettinad Cuisine ~ Vellai Paniyaram & Milagai Chutney

This traditional combo dish was an interesting discovery for me during this marathon. I saw them under the list of combo dishes we could try for this month's marathon and straight away got confused these paniyarams with the jaggery version. I kept wondering why there was a spicy chutney to go with the sweet paniyarams and so thought of even asking Valli about them. However I checked online before embarrassing myself and they turn out to be a specialty of Cheettinad cuisine. In fact, they are so popular in the region that they are almost mandatory in all celebrations there, however big or small.
I had so far never come across this dish in my real / virtual worlds and so had no idea what a perfectly done end product should like / taste like. And the recipes I saw online kept mentioning that it was a tricky dish to master and so I had very little inclination towards this choice initially. After a little contemplation, I went ahead thinking that if my dish turns into a disaster, I still can use the remaining batter to make dosas without any regrets. I guess I have met with success to an extent and they tasted like fried, soft dosas / poories. And hopefully I achieved the expected curvy border too to an extent. Experts can correct me if I am wrong and share some helpful tips. :)
I noticed that how the ingredients measured traditionally for paniyaram preparation is also interesting. A cup is filled with rice and then leveled off  (use a knife if preferred or can be done with fingers). Then urad dal is heaped over rice, as much as the cup can hold. Most of the recipes mentioned urad dal and rice proportions to 1:4 but the traditional method uses a little less urad dal. 
Ingredients for paniyaram:
1 cup rice (I used extra long grain rice)
3 tbsp. urad dal 
Salt to taste
Oil to fry
* Wash rice and urad dal in two exchanges of water and soak for at least 3 hours. Drain and grind the ingredients adding water as needed, to form a batter like of dosa consistency. Transfer the batter to a bowl and add salt to it. Mix well and set aside. If your batter is too thick, add a tbsp. or two of milk to dilute it.
* Heat oil in a wide sauce pan. The heat should be medium and the oil should not be very hot as it happens when frying Indian savories. The oil should be medium hot through out the process.
* Pour a small ladleful of batter into the oil.
* Now immediately take the spatula (that you are going to use to fry the paniyarams), dip into the hot oil and start pouring the oil along the edges of the dough circle you formed. You start noticing the curves forming along the border.
* Then gently fry the paniyaram and it bloats up like a puri.
* When it is cooked, flip it and fry for few more seconds. Remove and transfer on to absorbent towels. No need to fry until golden brown. They should remain white.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
Traditionally these paniyarams are served with spicy milagai chutney. This chutney is almost similar to Rayalaseema's erra karam.  
2 onions
1 plum tomato
2 red chillies (Instead I added 4 Byadagi chillies for color.)
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves  
* Peel and chop the onions into big chunks. Cut tomatoes into big chunks.
* Blend together onions, tomatoes, salt and red chillies in a food processor to a paste.
* Heat oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add the onion paste. Saute until the raw smell of the onion disappears. Turn off the stove and transfer to a bowl.
* This can be served with paniyarams / idlis / dosas.

This is my post under "Combo Dishes" theme for BM#36. Check here to know what other marathoners are cooking. 



Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and lovely looking paniyarams. Very well complimented with Chutney. Excellent preparation.

Nisha said...

Bookmarked loved the way this dosa puffs up

Maha Gadde said...

very healthy and lovely..:)

Manjula Bharath said...

wow so perfectly made vella paniyaram :) looks fantastic !! and chutney looks mouthwatering !!

Pavani N said...

What an interesting dish. This is totally new to me too. Looks and sounds delicious.

Priya Srinivasan said...

Yum yum yum!! Me too planning to make this foe 3 week!!!

Srivalli said...

heheh had you asked me I would have said the same Suma..'cos even I haven't made this combo and your pictures surely tempt me to try this one...you know I am doing the same theme..:)..so thank you..lovely pictures I esp like that bright chutney!..enjoyed your series..

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Such an appetizing dish! I am doing combo dishes and this is something I wanted to make as well!

Vanamala Hebbar said...

very nice recipe..long time i had this

Saras said...

Woow My Favorite..Still I remember those childhood days where my granny used to make this as a special dish for us..Looks very tempting dear..

Bhawana said...

Nice tempting pictures.....love to see them puffing up likepuri!

Chef Mireille said...

paniyaram looks so soft and fluffy

Harini-Jaya R said...

As you mentioned, this sounds so unique.. a fried dosa!!

Varadas Kitchen said...

Paniyaram puff up like a puri. Looks good.

Shruti Verma said...

Thank you for sharing this information and Very good looking blog.
I am bookmark this blog need some more post.

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Shree Sharma said...

Thanks You For sharing This Interesting Blog

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Aditi Jain said...

This is very nice information thank you for sharing this nice info

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