Chola Paniyaram / Sorghum Paniyaram

Paniyaram happens to be a Chettinad delicacy. But it has been prepared at my home since more than 5 generations as my grandma mentions. We used to have it for dinner or tiffin. It will be prepared once in a week with leftover idly batter. We make both sweet and spicy version. Paniyaram using Sirudhaniyangal (which literally means hard, coarse, small grains) is famous at our home. This chola paniyaram tops among all, since it gives a spongy texture when cooked and served hot.

I prepared this paniyaram using white cholam. You can also use red and black cholam for making this paniyaram. But, I have never tried it because of its lack of availability. Since this recipe doesn't use rice, you can grab all the health benefits (fibre, protein, complex carbohydrates) of the sorghum. Now, off to the recipe.
Basic Information:
Soaking Time: 4 hours
Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Fermentation Time: 6-8 hours
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 25 paniyarams


White Cholam / Sorghum / Great Millet - 1 cup (see notes)
Urad dal - 2 tablespoons
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds and urad dal - 1/2 teaspoon
Channa dal - 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves - 1 string, roughly torn
Green chillies - 3 nos, finely chopped
Asafoetida - a big pinch
Onion - 1 no, medium size


1) Wash Cholam,urad dal and fenugreek seeds well. Soak cholam,urad dal and fenugreek seeds separately.
2) After 4 hours, drain the water from cholam and urad dal completely. Dry them in a kitchen towel.
3) When the cholam is dry (there should not be any water ) but has little moist in it, make a powder using a mixie. You need about 5-10 minutes to make powder of 1 cup cholam.
4) When you get slightly smooth coarse powder, add fenugreek seeds and water required to make thick batter.
5) When the batter is in slightly coarse consistency, transfer the batter to a big bowl. Add salt and mix well. The batter should be between thick and thin consistency for perfect sponge paniyarams.
6) Allow this batter to ferment for 6-8 hours.
7) When the batter is fermented well, lightly beat it with ladle. (Do not do over beating)
8) Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal. Let it splutter. Add channa dal and asafoetida. Let the channa dal becomes golden brown.
9) Add chopped green chilli and curry leaves. Add onion and saute till the onion becomes soft and translucent.
10) Add this fried onion to the batter. Mix well.
11) Heat paniyaram pan. If it is a non-stick one, no need to use oil. Otherwise, pour 1/4 teaspoon of oil in each hole of the paniyaram pan.
12) Pour 2 tablespoons of batter to each hole of the paniyaram pan. It is enough to fill only 3/4th of its hole. Let it cook in medium flame.
13) Once the paniyarams are cooked in one side (about 2-3 minutes, also you can see steam coming out of it), flip to otherside using a wooden stick to cook other side.
14) When both the sides are cooked, transfer it to a plate.
15) Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar.

1) The cholam which I used in this recipe is white coloured one. It is completely different from the the cholam (also known as Maize) which is in yellow colour.
2) I soaked cholam for 2 hours and fenugreek seeds for 4 hours for this recipe. You can also soak both for 4 hours.
3) Since I used cholam in small quantity, I used mixie to grind the batter. If you use large quantity, first make a powder using mixie and then transfer the powder to grinder to make batter.

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Love this chola paniyaram a lot, feeling nostalgic :) paniyaram looks so appetizing n lovely presentation Uma!

wth out rice a ? Great recipe !

yumm one.. love it.. nice version w/o rice

Delicious paniyarams.

Mmm...yummy looking paniyarams...nice clicks

healthy paniyaram..looks so inviting..

Cute clicks & a healthy paniyaram.. Something new to me, this variety of paniyaram !

Ohhhh mouth watering!!!!!!thanx for the recipe

Can this be made using cholam flour

I have tried only once with semolina and curd for a instant version. It was good to have when it was hot. You can give a try with cholam flour if you dont have whole cholam.

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