Payatham Paniyaram Urundai

Mung Bean, Rice & Coconut Sweetmeats

Payatham paniyaram urundai is a homestyle sweet made from humble ingredients, popular in Jaffna. Nutty red rice flour combines with roasted mung bean flour, toasted coconut, and complex jaggery to create a protein-rich sweet, which is then dipped in batter and briefly fried.

The end result offers a blend of sweet-salty flavor, along with textural contrast. These protein-packed treats are typically served at festive occasions in Sri Lanka.

For filling:
1/2 c. green gram / moong dal / mung bean flour
1/2 c. red rice flour
1/4 c. jaggery or brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/3 c. grated coconut (fresh or frozen)

1/3 c. warm water

For batter:
1/4 c. white flour
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. fine salt

1/3 c. warm water

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

NOTE: It’s easy to grind mung beans and rice into flour in a blender; the kind used for smoothies works well. For this recipe, you can use either whole green mung beans, or split yellow mung beans; the latter may be easier to grind.

1. In a frying pan on medium-high toast mung bean flour for a few minutes, stirring, until pleasantly aromatic. Combine in a large bowl with red rice flour, jaggery or brown sugar, white sugar, and cardamom powder.

2. In the same pan, toast grated coconut, stirring, until it is lightly golden; a few minutes. Add to the mixture in the bowl.

3. Add 1/3 c. warm water and mix well. Shape mixture into small, tightly-packed balls (roughly 1 inch) and set aside on a plate.

4. Now make the batter — in a small bowl, combine white flour, turmeric, and fine salt. Add roughly 1/3 c. warm water; the batter should be thick and pourable.

5. Heat oil for deep-frying until very hot (about 350F if you’re using a thermometer or electric fryer). Dip each ball into batter and drop gently into hot oil, a few at a time. You want to avoid having them stick together, and also avoid lowering the temperature too much by adding many at once. Cook until lightly golden, a minute or two, and then remove to a plate lined with paper towel.

6. Serve at room temperature; payatham paniyaram may be stored in an airtight container for a few days, but they’re best freshly-fried. If you’d like to store them longer, be sure to omit the coconut.

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