These bite size carb-y-snacks which are a sure shot way to nirvana on the road, in the roadside stalls with the music blaring to make the Ustad’s of the world give a run for their money,are one of the favorites among the street foods of Tamilnadu,India.They are made basically from pulses(black lentils) and rice.There are numerous versions of it,basically belonging to the spicy or the sweet kind.These snacks can be had as breakfast or as an evening snack on a rainy day.The name”Kuzzhi” means circular depressions on a pan,”Paniyaram” is the name given to the snack itself…..hence the name “Kuzzhi Paniyaram” in Tamil,while they are called by different names like “appa”,”guliappa”,”guntu pongadalu” in different states in India.They can very well be a fortunate blunder between its sister snack Idli and the crispy Dosa,since its crispy like the “dosa” on the outside & soft like the “Idli” on the inside.These make for great long distance travel or a quick picnic snack too.
On exploring further on this exciting culinary journey,I was also enlightened about its cousins around the world.Their Dutch cousins are called”Poffertjes”which are super popular in summer fairs,so are their Danish cousins”Aebleskiver”which are similar light & fluffy pancake puffs.They probably are popular because of the crispy taste & the instant gratification they deliver as seen among their Hong Kong street cousins who are called “Eggetes” which are bubbly yummy waffles,while they are called”Tokoyaki” in Japan,when they contain grilled octopus in them . They are called “Popovers” in America basically made with eggbatter in muffin tins………either way their popularity as a snack is universal.The main ingredients being batter made of rice, buckwheat or egg and cooked on a special iron cast pan with depressions in them.
The one featured here is the spicy version of Kuzzhi paniyaram which can be had with any chutney or just plain eaten as such.(I made the Coriander chutney to go with it, you can substitute with any other chutney or curry too!)

Pancake Puffs/Kuzhi Paniyaram
Pancake Puffs/Kuzhi Paniyaram

Idli batter(left over from previous day’s) -2 cups
Oil- 1 tsp
Channa dhal – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves- 4-5
Green chillies- 3-4( finely sliced)
Onions- 1 (medium-finely sliced)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- 1/2 bunch
Salt to taste.

1.Heat the oil in a seasoning pan & add the channa dhal, mustard seeds, curry leaves & do the seasoning.Now add the seasoned mixture into the idli batter which contains the green chillies & onions & cilantro mixed in the batter already.
2.Now add a little salt for taste & mix all the ingredients well with the batter so that there is a uniform mix.
3.Heat the “paniyara pan” after spraying a little oil in the circular depressions & pour the batter gently into these depressions,wait for a few minutes for it to cook,you can also cover the pan with a lid before you turn these little paniyarams to the other side to cook well before serving them hot.
4.Serve them with any chutney, the crunchy crispy taste of the onions in the paniyaram will be a sure hit among friends & family.Enjoy.

Note: You can check if the paniyaram is cooked well by sticking a fork inside when you turn sides, the fork comes out clean with no stickiness or batter on it.The channa dhal you happen to bite into while chewing makes the experience even more worthwhile:)

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