No chettinad recipe pages will be complete without a note for its traditional delicacy”Vellai paniyaram”.Even if one doesn’t find time to make it themselves, should at least taste it in the traditional chettinad restaurants mushrooming in almost all big cities and towns.Vellai paniyaram will have its place in all the chettiar functions big or small. Though the ingredients will show it very simple, much depends on the way it is prepared. Much care should be taken while preparing. When I was new to the kitchen doing this was a nightmare for me. Now with experience, I have mastered all the tricks of making a perfect Paniyaram. With the help of modern networking technology, I am happy that I can share the tricks with the newcomers in correcting the small mistakes which will come in the beginning. Care should be taken right from the selection of rice. I remember during weddings, a month before itself the old people at home will be buying small quantity of different rice and checking which rice comes good in making paniyarams .But now we don’t find time and energy to do all those things., so I am discovering techniques to correct it even if the rice is not the most appropriate one. In this blog, I will give a note about it. Going through all my stories of the difficulties, don’t be afraid of making an attempt , since the taste of the paniyaram is worth all the trouble in the world. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to get it perfect in the first trial itself.
Raw rice-1 cup (usually small fat rice little cheaper one is good)
Urudh dhal -1/4 cup(usually in chettinad we will take rice to the rim level of uzhakku or measuring cup and then fill urudh dhal to the heap level of the uzhakku(.I have found urudh dhal to be little less than ¼ cup in that case)
Soak both together for 1 hour and grind it to a very smooth paste. Add the required amount of salt while grinding itself.
Consistency of the batter can be little more watery than dosa batter. To make it watery use little milk
Keep a medium size little bit flat tawa in the stove .Pour 1 ½ cups of oil. Keep the flame in medium. Make sure that at no stage the oil gets overheated. When the oil is hot using a medium sized spoon(little bigger than a table spoon) pour one spoon batter into the oil, the paniyaram will immediately rise now with the help of the laddle used to take the paniyaram out, pour the heated oil in the tawa on the top of the paniyaram.This will help the paniyaram to get a flowery border. Within a minute turn it upside down allow it to cook for 1 more minute and remove it from oil.
Allow the paniyaram to cool and now break the paniyaram and see that it is cooked inside also.
If not cook the next one little more.But the paniyaram should never be roasted.
Sometimes the paniyaram will rise like a ball, and then the problem will be either the oil is too hot or your batter is too thick. If you feel it is too thick pour little milk to make it watery.
Sometimes u may feel that the paniyaram drinks oil then the mistake is that u have added too much urudh dhal or your urud dhal is very good in quality. In that case you can add little idly batter, or rice flour.
If you still find any difficulty feel free to leave a comment
Vellai paniyaram will be very tasty with thakkali thuvayal or milagai chutney.
I will come to that section of cookery from my next blog