Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan


What your mother cooks for you always holds a special place in your heart. Everyone has a long list of items that they love about their mother’s cooking. I have my list of items too, right from the jeeraka vellam (jeera/cumin seeds flavored water) that she makes to unni appam, elai ada, avilu vilayichathu (sweet beaten rice), ada dosa, uluva dosa, uthappam, sambar, and the list grows. She has a very bad sweet tooth which she has passed on to me. So when making evening snacks, mostly she would stick to something sweet and she has ample support from me.

My mom’s sweet unni appam is well known among the friends and family circle. She had a salt equivalent to the sweet unniappam. This used to be made when she had exhausted options/ingredients. She would mix a little bit of churned curd to leftover idli batter, add some chopped onions, some garnish of curry leaves and coriander and fry this batter in oil. For lack of a better word, we used to call it morappam. Morappams had long been forgotten after I moved out of my parents’ home. It took me a trip to Chennai to revive the morappam memories.

The best thing about visiting a new place is getting the feel and taste of the local culture and cuisine. During my recent trip to Chennai, I gorged on fried paniyarams (the humble household morappam), Vazhappoo Vadai (Banana flower vadai), adai and avial, and other local specialities. Well, adai and avial has already been posted in Samagni. Adai and avial as a combination was new to me. When I thought about it, I realized it is a very clever combination of vegetables, dal, and carbs, a wholesome meal.

I tasted 2 varieties of paniyaram – one plain and the other spicy. I am told there are sweet paniyarams as well. Somebody please share the recipe for sweet paniyaram and vazhapoo vadai please!

Paniyarams are made in a frying pan that has pits. Batter is poured into these pits and steamed or fried. Made out of idli/dosa batter with or without extra ingredients, they taste great by themselves or when eaten with spicy chutney. They are a perfect monsoon snack and quick and easy to make.

Spongy Paniyaram

Idli batter – 250 gms
Onion – 1 big (finely chopped)
Green chilies – 2 (finely chopped)
Coriander – a bunch (finely chopped)
Curry leaves – 2 stalks (finely chopped)
Tomato – 1 (finely chopped) This is optional

Add a teaspoon of oil in a small kadai. When the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the finely chopped green chilies and shallots. Sauté for 2-3 mins.
Turn off the fire and let it cool a bit.
Once this seasoning cools down, add it to the idli batter along with chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Mix well.

Refer here for idli batter recipe.

Pour half a teaspoon oil into the paniyaram mold pits. Mix the batter well and pour small quantities of batter into the mold pits.

Cook them in a paniyaram mold

Cook in medium heat for a minute or more. When the sides turn brown, flip over using a wooden/steel stick. Ensure that both sides are cooked properly. Remove from fire. Serve hot with chutney.

This is the steamed variety hence healthier. If you would like your paniyarams deep fried, you could fill the paniyaram mold pits with oil and deep fry the batter. This is tastier and crispier.

Crunchy Paniyaram made from adai batter

I tried making paniyaram with adai batter and it turned out to be excellent. While paniyarams made with idli batter are spongy, adai batter paniyarams are crunchy and crispy. Do try them out or else make a trip to Chennai.

Breakfast, Dosas, Indian, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Ada Dosa

Instant, crispy, filling, spicy, hot and healthy! Served with avial, jaggery, and butter – a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Perfect breakfast for cold winter mornings. You need that sesame oil intake to keep your skin supple and moist during winter. Lentils, shallots, curry leaves, and asafetida make this a very healthy and protein-rich breakfast. Remembering my grandmother, Rukmini, and my valiamma, Madhavi, who were famous for their special ada dosa (at home we call this varatti). Relatives who are planning to visit would inform in advance so that my aunt can prepare and be ready with the batter. Both and grandma and valiamma wouldn’t use a ladle to spread the thick batter on the hot dosa tava. They would spread it with their hand. I think their love found way into the food also!


Preparation Time:
(for batter):  10 min, previous night.
Cooking Time: 5 min.

To Soak Overnight
Raw rice – 1/2 cup
Parboiled rice – 1 cup
Bengal gram(Chana dal, Kadala parippu) – 1/4 cup

At the Time of Grinding the Batter
Black gram(Urad dal, Uzhunnu parippu)* – 1/4 cup
Peeled Shallots* (cheriya ulli) – 1 cup
Dried Red chillies OR powder* – 8 – 10 nos or as required
Curry leaves – 5-6 stalks
Oil [preferably sesame(til)] – 2 tablespoons

Red chilly – Red chilly powder or Green chilly
Shallots – Onion can be used but does not give the same taste. Shallots can be substituted with asafoetida also.
Black gram – White urad dal can be used and does not affect the taste.

Wash and soak the raw rice, parboiled rice, and chana dal overnight.
Grind the dals and rice along with shallots, red chillies, and curry leaves to make a coarse paste. Ensure that the batter is very coarse and not watery. Add salt. The trick to get the right consistency is to remove all water from the soaked rice and grind with very little water.


Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle.

Spread the batter around by patting with a flat spoon to a make a circle. The fire should be on high.


Add a tsp of oil around the dosai and let it cook for about a minute.



Flip the dosai and cook in medium heat for another minute.


Smells Yummy!
Serve hot directly onto the plate!


List of accompaniments:
Sambhar, chutney, or butter.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days. Those who prefer sour dosai can let the batter ferment for 5-6 hours and then use it.

This is a very healthy diet. The use of asafoetida/shallots helps in easy digestion. Curry leaves have a great cleansing effect on the intestines. Weight watchers should watch out for the butter they eat with the Ada Dosai though!

This recipe is a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Everyone in our family, irrespective of age, has been a huge fan of Ada dosai. And all new additions to the family have come around to liking it equally well. Its all about the smell….!!

Skill Level:

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