I have tasted Pani Walalu from various places, right across the country, made by many, reputed to be “the best” Pani Walalu in the country, but I can very confidently say that NEVER have I tasted Pani Walalu as good as these, my mother’s own recipe.
The secret, I suppose, is in the syrup that she makes. Or it is in the batter itself, you never know. Juicy, sweet, aromatic with just a hint of warmth and spice, one bite and it feels like a party in the mouth.
I have decided to share the recipe, rather than hog it all to myself.
- 250g White lentils (Urad Dal/Vigna Mungo)
- 250g Rice flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- Coconut oil for frying
For The Syrup
- 100ml Kithul Treacle
- 150g Sugar
- 2 tblsps Ground Cinnamon
- 80ml Water
- Soak Urad Dal in water overnight or for 4-5 hours. Drain the water and grind to a thick paste in a blender/grinder/food processor.
- Add the salt and the coconut milk and mix to a thick paste. The consistency of the paste should be about twice as thick as a pancake mixture. You should be able to pipe the mixture through a piping bag.
- Keep this aside for 2-3 hours.
- To make the syrup, combine the treacle, sugar, water and cinnamon in a saucepan over heat. Bring to the boil and simmer while stirring gently until it slightly thickens. Take off heat.
- Heat the oil in a pan. With a piping bag, pipe the undu mixture into the oil in a circular shape or as desired. Fry till golden brown.
- Take the fried undu mixture off the oil and straight into the sugar syrup. Let it soak in the syrup while coating it well. Drain odd excess syrup and serve!
- Choose a moderately small nozzle for piping the mixture. If the nozzle is too small, it would end up looking like spaghetti. It needs to come out a to a volume that is about 3 times the spaghetti strand. Also remember, the mixture tends to puff out slightly once it hits the oil so choose your nozzle accordingly.
- Be careful when piping the mixture. Make the rounds not too small not too big. If it is too small, it might absorb way too much syrup and break. If it is too big, enough syrup may not be absorbed.
- Keep the syrup warm right throughout. This helps the fried undu mixture absorb the syrup better. Also, heating the syrup from time to time also keeps it from hardening up.
- Use brown sugar. It helps caramelization of the syrup better and also, it is healthier too!
The urad dal mixture in itself is beautifully aromatic and hence, its distinct flavour comes through strong at the first bite. This of course is enveloped by the wonderful sweetness of the syrup fragranced by the warm, sensual notes of cinnamon coming from within. Ah, what bliss!
As if the deliciousness of this dish is not enough to make you run to the kitchen searching for urad dhal sttraight away, Urad is also known to be very nutritious. Also, the addition of cinnamon with its cholesterol lowering properties possibly counteracts with all the sugar and the oil of the dish, making it healthier than it ought to be maybe? Oh I don’t know. Anyways, who would have thought that something so delicious can be good for you as well eh?
Did I say that I have never had undu wel this good anywhere? Let me say that again. I am forever enamored with this recipe. Nothing else really works, at least not for me.