Polish off Punugulu with Gusto
South Indian food is often found to be both soul-soothing and lip-smacking around the world. The simpleton in the recipes does make the fans adore more of their rich flavors. Over the days, we may have read many posts about simple and quick recipes that are delicious down the tongue but this dish takes the cake as being one of the simplest and delicious recipes made with idli batter. Punugulu or Andhra Punukulu is a famous Andhra snack; small round dumplings with crunchy exterior and a soft interior and they are usually served as an evening snack. It is a popular snack and common street food of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Originally, it was prepared by soaking urad dal, rice, then ground to a batter and seasoned with jeera, green chilli etc. However, using 3 to 4 days older idli batter lends a nice tangy taste. The crisp texture followed by the spicy and sour taste makes this dish a winner. Punugulu (punugu- singular) are a mix of variations of fritters and paniyaram with the difference of these being made with idli batter and are fried instead of cooking in the appam pan. They are usually served with peanut or tomato chutney with some finely chopped onions and spice masala (Karam podi).
The main ingredient for Punugulu is the Idli batter, and so every other flavor that comes with it is by the maker’s preferred choice of taste. The recipe allows experimentation with greens, chillies, spices and herbs making it a versatile choice for many first timers. The outcome of Punugulu depends on the consistency of the batter; it should be both thick and soft for Punugulu to fry well without breaking apart. If the batter becomes too thick, then it’s hard for it to fry well. In some cases, to add more crispiness in the texture, fine rava (semolina) may be added to the recipe as well as baking soda to make it a little fluffy. Thus, there are variations in punugulu recipe like maida punugulu, rava punugulau, pergugu punugulu. Also some recipes just use urad dal batter like ulundu bonda or medu vada.
The fried punugulu might be a close cousin to pakodas in terms of appearance and texture but they differ in taste from besan based pakodas. These crispy pungulu served with a range of chutneys and spice masala (karam podi) are a perfect evening snack to nibble on with a hot cup of Chai or coffee. They also make a really good hot-and-crispy side dish and can be served hot for an afternoon lunch. Regardless of the time, Amma’s South Indian is always happy and ready to serve you with a plate of punugulu and a plethora of chutneys.