Paniyaram – Indian Savory Pancake Puffs

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Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by Chef Mireille

Paniyaram – Indian Savory Pancake Puffs

Paniyaram aka as Appe or Pullaantulu are South Indian Pancake Puffs that make a great snack or Vegan breakfast!

Paniyaram - Indian Savory Pancake Puffs recipe

It’s time for the monthly Food Blogger Recipe Swap and I went perusing through all of the delicious Indian recipes at Pavani’s Kitchen. I finally settled on her Pullaantulu recipe.

These savory little cakes are known by various names throughout South India including pullaantulu, appe, ponganalu, paddu, guliappa and more.

Although I am yet to post them, I have already made a few versions of these and it has become a favorite of my regular breakfast items.

Traditionally, it is made by soaking rice and urad dal (husked black lentils) and rice overnight. This fermentation gives a sour tang to the batter. I tried it once several years ago and it never fermented. Without the heat and humidity of India, it’s a more complicated process to get it to ferment here.

One of the great things about living in NYC is that virtually any food from any part of the world is available, if you know where to look.

To avoid the stress of even attempting to make idli batter myself, I now buy ready made idli batter from the Indian supermarket. In the refrigerator section, you can find three kinds of ready made batter – idli, dosa and uttapam. The idli batter has become one of my staple ingredients I get every time I visit the Indian market.


You will need a special molded pan to make these Paniyaram. Many countries have a variety of sweet or savory cakes made in a similar pan. Aebleskiver pans are most easily available here in the US and can be used to make these paniyaram. Aebleskiver are Danish pancakes.

Before we get to today’s recipe, here are some other Indian breakfasts you might like to try!

Indian Breakfast Recipes

Check out what I had for breakfast in India when I visited Mumbai!


Collage Template (1)

These delicious little puffs are perfect for breakfast with coconut chutney.

Pani LR 2

They also make great snacks at your next party! Soft and fluffy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside!

Pani LR 4

Paniyaram - Indian Savory Pancake Puffs
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4 from 2 votes

Paniyaram – Indian Savory Pancake Puffs

Paniyaram - Indian Savory Pancake Puffs are #glutenfree and #vegan. Breakfast Indian Style!
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 21
Calories: 61.2kcal


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons yellow split peas channa dal
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 finely chopped green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups idli batter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda


  • In a skillet, heat oil.
  • Add mustard seed and fry until they pop.
  • Once they have finished popping, add split peas and curry leaves.
  • Fry for a few minutes until peas start to change color.
  • Add onion and chiles. Saute until onions start to brown.
  • Add cilantro and turmeric. Stir to combine.
  • Add to idli batter with salt and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  • Heat a paniyaram pan and brush with oil inside of each cavity.
  • Add about a tablespoon of batter in each cavity.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the top looks bubbly and the bottom is a little brown.
  • Flip the paniyaram over and cook another few minutes until golden brown.
  • Repeat until all the batter has been used.
  • Serve with your favorite chutney.


Depending how fresh the idli batter is, if you have had it for several days you might have to add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out a little.


Calories: 61.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.67g | Protein: 0.91g | Fat: 1.43g | Saturated Fat: 0.11g | Sodium: 58.11mg | Fiber: 0.85g | Sugar: 0.62g
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I'd love to share them!



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Reader Interactions


  1. I usually stock up my pantry with instant idli and dosa mixes. However, never tried paniyaram with instant idli mix though. Yes, those batters are so convenient. I can have that plate of paniyaram right away for breakfast.

  2. The paniyaram look perfect, well-made and absolutely delicious! I love how you went about making these in spite of your initial hassles with your batter not fermenting. Way to go! 🙂

  3. Paniyaram looks so delicious and tempting. I also make it in the same way. When I was in UK, I used to allow the batter to ferment for more than one day or keep in oven after we finish baking. That helps to ferment little faster.

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