Chettinad style Instant Kuzhi Paniyaram (Gunta Ponganalu) is a delicious South Indian breakfast or snack recipe that comes together in under 20 minutes. Serve these with coconut chutney for a yummy treat (vegan, can be easily made gluten-free).
About This Recipe
Kuzhi Paniyaram (Gunta Ponganalu) is a South Indian snack or breakfast recipe made using idli batter, and fresh coconut. It is especially popular in the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu.
Paniyaram are also known as appe, kulu paniyaram, gundu pongala, gunta ponganalu, paddu, or guliyappa in different South Indian languages.
These tastes best when made using slightly sour day-old idli dosa batter and is a great recipe to use the leftover batter.
Crispy from outside and soft from inside, they are shaped like small balls and cooked in a special pan called paniyaram chatti, paniyara kal or appe pan. You can also use an Aebleskiver pan if paniyaram pan is not available.
Try to get your hands on a cast iron pan for the crispiest paniyarams. If not, then a non-stick coated pan will also work.
Kuzhi Paniyaram can be made savory or sweet. I am sharing the savory paniyaram recipe in this post. You can check sweet paniyaram recipe here.
These are best served with coconut chutney or tomato onion chutney for breakfast or as a tea time snack. It can also be dipped in Rasam or Sambar for a comforting meal.
Gunta Ponganalu are also a great option to pack for school or office lunch boxes and picnics.
Double or triple this delicious paniyaram recipe for a larger crowd.
Idli Batter – Homemade idli batter is my preferred choice to make paniyaram and I always have the batter stocked up in my fridge. In case you are short on time, you can use store-bought packaged idli or dosa batter.
These taste best with slightly sour idli batter.
Veggies – Traditionally, this recipe uses only onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), but you can experiment and add in more veggies such as grated carrots, grated beetroot, green beans, etc.
Coconut – The addition of freshly grated coconut gives it a unique taste.
Oil – I use regular vegetable oil, but you can replace it with ghee, olive oil, or butter.
Others – You will also need asafetida (hing), cumin seeds, and salt.
You can add spices like coriander powder, garam masala powder, and turmeric powder to the batter to make masala paniyaram.
Skip adding asafetida to make these gluten-free.
Add chana dal and urad dal in the tempering for a nice crunch in the paniyaram. Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) can also be added to the tempering.
How To Make Kuzhi Paniyaram
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, and 6-8 curry leaves, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
Add ½ cup finely chopped onions, 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chillies, ¼ cup grated carrot, and 2 tablespoon grated fresh coconut and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the pan from heat and add the mixture to 3 cups of idli or dosa batter.
Add 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing), and 1 teaspoon salt, and mix well to combine.
Heat a paniyaram chatti or Aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add ¼ teaspoon oil to each cavity.
Pour spoonfuls of the batter into the cavities until they are almost full.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until the paniyaram are golden brown and crispy from the bottom.
Turn each paniyaram with the help of a wooden skewer or a spoon and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove the paniyaram on a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Keep the ready paniyaram in a hot case so that they stay warm until you serve them.
Paniyaram is a popular South Indian breakfast dish but these can also be served as an evening snack or pack them for kids’ lunch boxes.
These are best served with any chutney of your choice. Here are some of my favorites – coconut chutney, mint coconut chutney, coconut cilantro chutney, red coconut chutney, onion tomato chutney, Andhra style peanut chutney, green tomato chutney, or peanut coriander chutney.
You can also serve these with a sprinkling of idli podi and ghee.
Kuzhi Paniyaram tastes the best when served right out of the pan. They tend to lose their crispiness if kept for a long.
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container for about 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave until nice and warm before serving.
If you want to bring back the crispness, then heat them in an air fryer or an oven at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes.
You can make the idli batter beforehand and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Once the batter is ready, it takes hardly 20 minutes to make a batch.
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Instant Chettinad Kuzhi Paniyaram Recipe (Gunta Ponganalu)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspon cumin seeds
- 6-8 curry leaves
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies
- ¼ cup grated carrot
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh coconut
- 3 cups idli or dosa batter
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- oil for cooking
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
- Add onions, green chilies, carrot, and fresh coconut and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the mixture to idli or dosa batter.
- Add cilantro, asafoetida, and salt and mix well to combine.
- Heat a paniyaram chatti or Aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add ¼ teaspoon of oil to each cavity.
- Pour spoonfuls of the batter into the cavities until they are almost full.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until the paniyaram are brown and crispy from the bottom.
- Turn each paniyaram with the help of a wooden skewer or a spoon and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the paniyaram on a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Keep the ready paniyaram in a hot case so that they stay warm until you serve them.