Adai Kunukku (Lentil Fritters)

  • Author: Kavitha
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 mins
  • Yield: approximately 50-60 tiny kunukku pieces 1x


Deep Fried Lentil Fritters – Indian style



  • 1 and 1/4 cup Parboiled Rice
  • 1 cup Lentils (Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Toor Dal)
  • 610 Dry Red Chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hing (Asafetida powder)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 23 Tablespoons Curry Leaves

Others – optional

  • Chopped Coriander leaves
  • Finely chopped onions

Note – Dals (Lentils)

  • Use equal proportions of the Lentils or any proportion you like. If you use more of Chana Dal, the kunuku will be more crispy.


To make the batter

  1. Soak the rice for 2-3 hours and the dal for 1 hour (separately). Drain the water out completely.
  2. Grind the dry chilli to a fine powder and set aside
  3. To a grinder or a strong blender or food processor, add the rice. Grind to a fine and coarse paste. It shouldn’t be too smooth nor too coarse.
  4. Add the lentils to the mixture and grind till you have a fine but slightly coarse paste. Ensure it isn’t too smooth. Add the chiili powder and grind for a couple minutes.
  5. Remove the batter to a clean bowl. Do not add any extra water.
  6. Add torn curry leaves, hing (asafetida powder), salt and mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  7. You can make the batter a day ahead and store covered in the refrigerator
  8. If you want, you can add finely chopped onions and coriander leaves to the batter and mix well right before you want to fry.

Making the kunukku

  1. Heat a wok or a pan with high sides with vegetable oil. To know if the oil is ready, add a drop of the batter into the oil. if it fries and floats to the top quickly, the oil is ready to use. Make sure the oil is on lowest heat before you start to drop the batter into the oil
  2. METHOD 1 – By hand : Wet your fingers lightly. Using 4 fingers, pick up equal portions of the batter and use your thumb to push the batter and gently drop into the oil. Continue similarly and add more of such batter into the oil.
  3. METHOD 2 – Using 2 spoons: Pick up some batter using a spoon. Use another spoon to scoop out the batter and drop into the oil.
  4. METHOD 3 – Using a small Ice cream scoop – Scoop tiny portions of the batter using the scoop and drop into the oil.
  5. Do not overcrowd the pan. Deep fry on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the kunukku pieces are crisp and golden brown.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate line with tissue paper
  7. Serve with your favorite condiment. This can be had hot or at room temperature too.
  8. Store in air tight container at room temperature for a day. But it is best served fresh and hot

Note 1 – Using your hands to pick up and drop the batter into the oil is the quickest method to make the kunukku. If you are just starting out, you may find this a bit inconvenient. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes very easy.

  1. Note 2 – The tinier the kunukku pieces, the crisper they will be. Don’t use more than 1 or 2 teaspoons of the batter per kunukku piece
  2. Note 3 – if you feel like the kunukku pieces are too hard, add a couple tablespoons of water to the batter and mix well

  • Category: Snacks
  • Cuisine: Indian