Paniyaram Recipe | Kuzhi Paniyaram

Updated: May 24, 2022, By Swasthi

Paniyaram more commonly known as Kuzhi paniyaram in Tamil Nadu, gunta ponganalu in Andhra Pradesh, are ball shaped crisp dumplings made with fermented urad dal and rice batter. Made in both sweet and savory variations, Paniyaram are a traditional everyday Breakfast food from South Indian cuisine. The savory version are eaten with a spicy Chutney, Sambar, pickle & even with different kinds of Podi. In this post I share the recipe to make savory paniyaram that are not only delicious but also crisp and flavorsome.

paniyaram recipe made with idli dosa batter

Recipe Comments

About Paniyaram

Paniyaram are South Indian crisp pan fried rice lentil dumplings cooked in a special pan known as paniyaram pan or chatti or kal. This pan is similar to the Aebleskiver pan used to cook Danish pancake balls. Paniyaram are known by various names such as kuli paniyaram, paddu, gundu pongala, gunta ponganalu and guliyappa.

These savory dumplings are a common breakfast and snack made all over South India, with recipes varying by region. Traditionally the preparation for paniyaram starts by soaking & grinding urad dal (skinned black lentils) and short grain rice to a batter which is fermented overnight.

Later various ingredients like onions, coriander leaves and green chilies are added to flavor the batter. Optionally the batter is tempered with whole spices like mustard, cumin, hing, ginger, coconut and curry leaves to infuse the South Indian flavors.

This spiced fermented batter is poured to the cavities of the special pan – paniyaram pan. These are cooked to perfection until golden, crisp and aromatic. The resulting paniyram are soft and fluffy inside yet crisp and crusty outside.

Traditionally paniyaram were cooked in pans made of cast iron or another heavy metal, capable of cooking the batter perfectly.

Ponganalu made in this kind of pans not only cook the batter well from inside but also impart their characteristic golden color with a roasted flavor. Now-a-days non-stick pans are also preferred by a lot of people as they are lighter and easier to manage than the traditional pans.

Easier way to make Paniyaram

South Indians make a lot of Idli and Dosa at home and it is their staple breakfast. Most of us make these paniyaram with the leftover idli and dosa batter stored in the refrigerator. So making paniyaram is easier if you have the premade homemade or store bought idli dosa batter.

In this post I share the easy way to make paniyaram with left over idli dosa batter. However if you are a large family and want to make a lot of paniyaram, I suggest you make a batch of this batter exclusively for paniyaram.

Though left over batter is a great way to use up in this recipe, the taste and texture of these would depend on the ratio of urad dal to rice in the batter. This ratio actually determines the taste, flavor and texture of your paniyaram.

A lot of experienced cooks stick to a 1:2 ratio and this is what makes the traditional ones fluffy from inside and crisp from outside, without feeling the taste of too much rice. We also do not add methi seeds or any other ingredients if making the batter from scratch.

Most of the times my Mom made these with the left over, about to go sour batter because her idli and dosa batter were made with the same ratio of 1:2 ratio. In a pinch you can make these with any ratios but makes a difference to the taste.

You can find the sweet paniyaram here and Instant sweet paniyaram here.

Photo Guide

How to Make Paniyaram (Stepwise photos)


1. Seasoning adds flavor to the paniyaram and they keep fresh for few hours. If you are not going to eat them right away I suggest this step. You can skip this and the next step if it is for immediate consumption.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and wait until they crackle. Add 1 sprig chopped curry leaves.

seasoning batter

2. Add half cup onions, 1 to 2 chopped green chiliesand 2 tablespoons shredded carrot (optional). Saute until the raw smell of onions has gone & they turn pink. Stir in 1 tsp grated ginger (optional.) Switch off. Add a pinch of hing and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (optional). Let this cool slightly.

sauteing onions for paniyaram recipe

3. Take 1½ to 2 cups thick idli / dosa batter in a bowl.  I used this sada dosa batter. If you are following 1:2 idli recipe from this blog, you can add 1 to 2 tbsp rice flour per cup of fermented batter. Mix well. Do not use very runny batter as paniyaram won’t turn crispy.

dosa batter to make masala paniyaram recipe

4. Add the cooled seasoning along with very little salt if needed. Stir it well. The consistency must be thick batter, not very thick or runny. If needed you may sprinkle little water and stir.

addition of cooled seasoning to batter

Cooking Paniyaram

Tip: Keep your kitchen well ventilated during this step. To season, heat the paniyaram pan well until hot. Add few drops of oil in each cavity and spread the oil well with a cloth or kitchen tissue. Be careful as the pan is hot. You can also tie a cloth to a spoon and apply the oil with ease. After spreading, turn on the stove and heat the until it begins to smoke well. Turn off the heat. Wipe off any excess oil. It is ready to use now.

5. Heat the paniyaram pan with few drops of oil in each mold. If using a cast iron pan, you will have to season it either the previous night or in the morning. If using non stick pan, just grease it and then use.

season the paniyaram pan

6. When the pan is hot enough, fill each mold to 3/4. They will puff and raise.

filling the mold with batter

7. Lower the heat. Partially cover and cook for 1 to 2 mins. I do this to ensure they cook well inside. You can also skip this. I also make sure to cook for a while after the lid is open to get a crust.

cooking batter

8. When they are fried to golden, turn them to the other side using a wooden spoon or a chop stick.

golden fried paniyaram in pan

9. Cook on the other side until done, golden and crisp. Remove them to a plate. To make the next batch, reduce the heat and pour few drops of oil into the cavity. Then pour the batter.


Serve paniyaram with chutney. The color of the paniyaram may vary based on the proportions of rice and dal used for making the batter and also on the kind of pan used.

Paniyaram Recipe

Chef’s Paniyaram Recipe

I also have a paniyaram recipe from Chef Jayalakshmi Rajkumar, who works in Taj Savoy, Ooty. When I tasted these soft, fluffy and delicious paniyaram made by her, I had to ask for the recipe.

She was generous enough to share her recipe. If you prefer to make the batter from scratch then this may be useful.

1/4 cup urad dal
1 cup rice
1 cup beaten rice or poha
pinch of methi seeds.

Wash and soak dal, methi and rice separately for 6 hours. Soak beaten rice 15 mins before blending. Drain and blend poha along with little water dal,methi and salt until frothy.

Blend rice with little water until smooth. Mix all together and set aside for fermentation for at least 6 to 8 hours. Use the batter as mentioned below.

The recipe shared below in the recipe card is the way we make at home using the left over idli or dosa batter.

paniyaram recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

paniyaram recipe

Paniyaram Recipe | Kuzhi Paniyaram | Gunta Ponganalu

5 from 59 votes
Paniyaram are ball shaped pan fried dumplings made with fermented rice lentil batter. These are cooked in a special pan called as paniyaram pan or kal.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings15 to 20

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • cups idli batter thick or dosa batter
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped (1 small, ¼ cup if using directly)
  • 2 tablespoons carrot grated (optional)
  • 2 green chilies chopped (skip for kids)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 6 curry leaves torn or fine chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves fine chopped (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil for seasoning
  • 1 pinch hing (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil as needed for the frying
  • salt if needed



  • This section is optional and you can add all the ingredients directly to the batter. But tempering makes the paniyaram flavorful.
  • Heat a pan with oil and add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add curry leaves. Saute for a min.
  • Add onions, chilies and carrots. Saute until the onions turn pink or raw smell disappears. Add ginger and saute for a minute.
  • Then add coriander leaves and hing. Cool this and add to the batter.

Make Kuzhi Paniyaram

  • Taste the batter and add more salt if needed. Batter must be of medium consistency not very thin or thick. If needed sprinkle some water.
  • Season the paniyaram pan and heat it with few drops of oil in each cavity. (Check notes to season your cast iron pan)
  • When the pan is hot enough, pour batter up to ¾ in each mold. Lower the heat and cook for 2 mins. If desired you can cover and cook.
  • When the base is golden fried, remove the lid and fry for another minute,. Turn them and cook until golden on the other side too. I usually check by poking a paniyaram with a fork or skewer to check if it is done inside.
  • Remove them to a plate. To make the next batch, reduce the heat and pour few drops of oil in each cavity. Pour the batter and cook the same way.
  • Serve masala paniyaram with chutney or sambar.


  1. To Season your paniyaram pan, heat the pan first until very hot. Reduce the heat, pour few drops of oil in each cavity and spread it well with a kitchen tissue or cloth. Easier way is to tie a cloth over a chop stick or a spoon and use it to spread oil. Increase the heat and let the pan become smoking hot. Turn off the stove. When the temperature comes down, wipe off the excess oil. I prefer to do this after every use so it is ready for the next use. Please ventilate your kitchen well before doing this.
  2. The pan has to be hot and not smoking hot. It has to be hot enough otherwise the paniyaram will stick to the pan and won’t be able to remove them. So do not pour the batter before the pan is hot.
  3. If the batter is too thick, your paniyaram will come out dense. If the batter is runny they will come out soft. Over fermented batter sometimes won’t cook well. So whisk it well with a fork before using to make it less lighter.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Paniyaram Recipe | Kuzhi Paniyaram | Gunta Ponganalu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 257 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 28mg1%
Potassium 13mg0%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 16g67%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 210IU4%
Vitamin C 12.7mg15%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 6.1mg34%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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© Swasthi’s Recipes

Paniyaram Recipe first published in April 2016. Updated and republished in May 2022.

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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Love your blog and these gunta ponganalu. They came out good.

5 stars
Excellent recipe the colors of paniyaram looks vary greatly.

Sorry dint see comments first you have mentioned brand name iwachu of the pan sadly it’s not available India
So you have any other brand you can recommend that i can purchase in India ?
Maybe on Amazon or Flipkart? If you do please let me know

5 stars
Awesome recipe I just wanted to know from where you got that beautiful paddu pan? It looks like cast iron is it?

How long should I keep the batter for fermentation. Also some clue about the batter. I got it right for the first time but afterwards I am always struggling as I dont have any benchmark about its consistency.

Hi… Don’t no this question is ask or not., I have bought new cast iron tava for paddu.., but it’s sticking to the pan…, can u pls help.., whe may I going wrong

hi swathi..the paniyaram pan which you used above,is it a cast iron one?

5 stars
I have always prepared paniyaram following your recipe card. Today only found the chef ‘s variation. Will try that as well.

5 stars
Good day

I tried making them in rock tava, cast iron panniyaram maker but they were sticking to the pan. I was unable to lift them cleanly. Kindly tell me where I went wrong. Thank you

5 stars
Came out really good.thanks


5 stars
I tried this recipe today and the Paniyarams turned out awesome.Thanks so very much.

5 stars
Thank you.. came out well

Hello Swasthi, thank you for this posting on Paniyaram. You mentioned recipe is from Chef Jayalakshmi Rajkumar of TAJ Savoy. And you have given basic recipe and then Kuzhi Paniyaram recipe in detail. Is it the Kuzhi Paniyaram recipe that is from Chef Jayalakshmi, please. thank you.

5 stars
Hi swasthi a big fan of u..i follow ur recipies very often..all of dem hav turned out really good..i wanted to know hw much is the estimation of ingredients i mean quantity required to make kuzhi paniyaram for 40 waitin for ur reply

5 stars
Can you please suggest me whether I should buy 7 cavity one or 12 cavity one to cook on gas stove as I doubt whether the far away ones can be cooked in 12 cavity one without burning the middle ones

Thanks a lot for this yummy recipe!

5 stars
Hi swasthi,
In the batter receipe u have meantioned as 1 cup rice rice . Is it raw rice or idly rice?

Thank you 🙂

5 stars
Lovely Recipe!! Paniyaram pan is my favorite, I make pakoras and vadas healthier with less amount of oil using the paniyaram pan.

5 stars
swasthi can you tell me where you bought paniyaram pan to make i want buy one