South Indian cuisine is one of the most diverse cuisines we know about. Be it biryanis, curries, comfort food like idli-sambar or rasam and even snacks, you are always spoilt for choice here. South Indian cuisine has a huge variety of snacks beyond the usual suspects. Haven’t you tried their lip-smacking treats like bonda, murukku or ragi mudde or the pappadums? But if there is one snack we'll urge you to try soon, it would have to be paniyaram. 

Also known as paddu or ponganalu, paniyaram is said to be an original Chettinad speciality, that has taken over the kitchens of many states beyond Tamil Nadu. These are basically tiny dumplings made in specially designed paniyaram pans, with multiple round moulds. It is a common street side snack in towns of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where the street vendors make fresh paddus in front of you. The batter of paniyaram is similar to that of idli or vada, which is filled in the moulds and allowed to puff slowly in the heated pan as you drizzles some oil to make the edges crispy and golden.


Best served with a spicy chutney or the staple coconut chutney, paniyaram makes for one satisying treat. While paddu or paniyaram is made using black gram and rice, which are soaked overnight and then blended into a smooth batter, one can also use idli batter to make it. You can simply add chopped onions, green chilies, grated coconut, spices, herbs everything to the idli batter, mix them well. All you then need to do is pour spoonful of the batter in the mould and let it cook till golden crisp. 

A lot of restaurants and people at home have started to experiment with the classic recipe. From stuffing the balls with succulent chicken, shredded mutton and even seafood to veggies, masalas and more, to serving them with delicious dips and sauces, these South Indian dumplings are taking many interesting spins on day at a time. 

Find the full recipe of paniyaram here. Try it at home and share your experience with us!