Kunukku – Lentil Fritters
Kunukku is a deep-fried snack made with rice and lentils. Enjoy these spicy and crispy delights with tea.
Kunukku may possibly be an all-time favorite “tiffin” or tea-time snack in my household.
I have fond memories of my mom and grandma making this exquisite snack abound. I’d always watch her make kunukku after kunukku with the kind of patience that our current generation seems to lack. She’d freshly grind the dry chili, followed by wet parboiled rice and soaked lentils. She had an innate sense of how smooth or coarse the batter should be and she’d always use the right amount of spices and salt to make the batter taste perfect. With utmost precision, she’d drop equal portions of the batter into the scalding hot oil, making the perfect sized kunukku pieces.
The art of making kunukku is easy to master. It requires a little practice, for making equal sized balls with a sticky batter like this one isn’t always easy. But with easy alternatives such as spoons or ice cream scoops, you can make your own perfect little kunukku pieces.
Here’s a quick video tutorial –
Adai Maavu Kunukku (Kunuku) | Indian Lentil Fritters – Prinatble RecipePrint
Deep Fried Lentil Fritters – Indian style
- 1 and 1/4 cup Parboiled Rice
- 1 cup Lentils (Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Toor Dal)
- 6–10 Dry Red Chilli
- 1/2 teaspoon Hing (Asafetida powder)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2–3 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
- Soak the rice for 2-3 hours and the dal for 1 hour (separately). Drain the water out completely.
- Grind the dry chilli to a fine powder and set aside
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the batter to a clean bowl. Do not add any extra water.
- Add torn curry leaves, hing (asafetida powder), salt and mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- You can make the batter a day ahead and store covered in the refrigerator
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- METHOD 3 – Using a small Ice cream scoop – Scoop tiny portions of the batter using the scoop and drop into the oil.
- Do not overcrowd the pan. Deep fry on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the kunukku pieces are crisp and golden brown.
- Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate line with tissue paper
- Serve with your favorite condiment. This can be had hot or at room temperature too.
- Store in air tight container at room temperature for a day. But it is best served fresh and hot
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.
The tinier the kunukku pieces, the crispier they will be. Don’t use more than 1 or 2 teaspoons of the batter per kunukku piece
If you feel like the kunukku pieces are too hard, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the batter and mix well
- Category: Snacks
- Method: Deep-Fried
- Cuisine: South-Indian
- Serving Size: 1 cup
Adai Maavu Kunukku (Kunuku) | Indian Lentil Fritters – step by step pictures
Basic ingredients you’ll need –
Soak the lentils in water. Also grind dry chilli to make a powder.
Add wet rice to a grinder (or a strong blender) and start grinding. When it is coarse, add the chilli powder and grind some more.
Add the lentils and grind to a coarse mixture. It shouldn’t be too smooth a batter nor too coarse.
Add salt to the batter and mix. You can add coriander leaves and onions if you want and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Heat oil in a wok / pan. Pick up equal sized portions of batter by your fingers and drop in to the oil. Alternatively, you can use two spoons or an really small ice cream scooper to scoop out the batter and drop into the oil. Fry on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the kunukku is deep golden brown.
Remove on a tissue paper. Serve with pickles or ketchup or your favorite condiment. This can be eaten hot or at room temperature