Guntha Ponganalu, as its called in Telugu is known as the Appey or Vela paniyaram in Malayalam and Tamil. This is a very delicious and tasty way of completing the left out Idly or Dosa batter. Amma has an iron skillet to make and it used to be a big process to get the ponganalu properly out of them. Most of the time, it never used to come out. And it was so frustrating. Finally she used to make dosa out of the batter and we used to convince ourselves that it was as good as well to eat! Then came the age of non-stick cookware, where everything is so easy to make. She got all those things for me, which for her were so tough. She got the appam pan, ponganalu pan, all so sleek and nice. Everything comes out well in these. The sight of a well made appay is a sight to behold. It looks so beautiful and pretty. It almost breaks my heart to break it and dig in!
Since we all used to love the Ponganalu, Amma used to make this as weekend breakfast item. But as I said it used to be a tough job to get the stuff out. Then she found that, there is a recipe for this on its own. You don't really have to use the left over stuff to make these. So when she prepared the batter just for these, it used to come out so well. I still remember the aroma coming out of the kitchen, the tantasiling smell of the oil roasting the extra batter flowing out of the holes and making it so crispy and tasty. Her skillet used to be a thick one made of iron and it used to be tough handling it. Mine is very simple to use and easy in getting yummy ponganalu super fast!
Guntha Ponganalu still in skillet, some turned and golden, some still not golden
The other time I remember eating this, w as in a restaurant. I normally don't order anything different from my usual stuffs. But my colleague had ordered this. As usual, all the orders took its own sweet time in making its appearance, by which time, all of us were really hungry. We saw a waiter walking towards us carrying some white beauties in a plate. We were in a fix to know if it was meant for us or not. We decided if it wasn't for us, we would ask what it is and order. When this actually came to our table, I remember the looks each one had. Nothing looked more beautiful than that. Next two seconds, I couldn't find anything left. The person who ordered didn't get more than a bite. We all looked sheepishly at each other and decided to order another plate. That was when I came to know it was called Kuli Paniyarams or Vella paniyaram. I didn't even know that it was available in restaurants. Whatever name it may be called, it tasted yum!
I made it this Saturday, but by then my daughter had left to school. When she saw the pictures that I was uploading, she was jumping all excited telling me, that she just loves it and wanted some immediately. I felt so bad that I didn't make for her. So its going to be Guntha Ponganalu again this weekend. I didn't make for her as it was left over batter all seasoned. Then I remembered that Amma had a recipe for the fresh batter. I asked Athamma if Amma has told her this recipe, she said no. So had to ask Amma, who infact gave me two proportions. One she has already tried and tested and another that she came upon in recent times. She asked me to try out the new one, so will be preparing a fresh batter for kutty.
For the batter:
Amma's tried and tested
Raw Rice - 1 cup,
Urad dal - 1/4 cup,
A pinch of Soda before using the batter
Soaking fermentation time is as usual as Dosa batter
Raw Rice - 1 cup
Boiled Rice- 1 cup
Urad dal - 50 gms
1 hr soaking time After grinding 5-6 hrs fermentation
Onions - 1 medium
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bengal Gram - 1 tbsp
Green chillies - 2 long
Cashew nuts - as required
Peanuts - as required
Ginger - 1"
Curry leaves few
Pepper corns - 10 (optional)
Turmeric a pinch
Oil - 1 tsp
Method to prepare
Once the batter is ready, heat a kadai with oil. First add mustard, once it sputters add onions and rest of the ingredients and fry till onions are light brown in colour.
Take the required amount of batter and add the seasoning to the batter.
Heat the skillet and pour one spoonful of batter to the holes. You can add oil to the top if required. Cover with lid and simmer it for 5 mins. Once its cooked, turn it around using a spoon or knife.
Serve it hot with ground nut chutney or coconut chutney.
I always liked coconut chutney but since hubby dear never likes it, we make groundnut chutney. It tastes great with both, but with podi it tastes even better!