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Recipe by Nirmala Badam


Punugulu are tea time snacks from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. They are made from leftover idly or dosa batter, which has turned sour by fermentation. The batter is seasoned, deep fried and served with chutney. Punugulu are extremely tasty, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It is the sourness of the batter that gives punugulu their unusual flavour.


Makes 16




1 cup idly or dosa batter, preferably sour and thick

2 tablespoons rice flour

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped

1 sprig curry leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons split Bengal gram dal (chana dal, kadle bele), soaked for one hour (optional)

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying




  1. Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium high heat.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a thick batter.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil and fry until golden brown in colour.
  4. Serve with peanut chutney or ginger chutney or any other chutnies of your choice.


You can add grated carrots or chopped greens like spinach or dill to the batter.


  1. Rice flour is added to thicken the batter and make punugulu crisp. But do not add more than two tablespoons for one cup of batter, as punugulu will become very hard.
  2. If you have forgotten to soak chana dal, cook them in microwave until soft (5 minutes).
  3. Instead of deep frying, you can use a filled-pancake pan (paddu, guliappa, paniayaram, gundponglu pan) in which case they will be called 'gunta punugulu'.
  4. Punugulu stay crisp for a couple of hours and you can make them before your guests arrive.


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