Andhra Special Crispy Punugulu / Punukkulu / Urad Dal Bonda

             Punugulu / Punukulu is a common street food in the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh. Often served with peanut chutney or Toordal chutney called as Kandhi Pachadi. Some make them sour tasting using fermented batter, while some make them with fresh batter. There is no specific way to follow while preparing  batter, except that the batter must not be runny. Can be made with urad dal batter (idli/dosa batter) or whole moong batter. I always make these with fresh batter, since I do not prefer the sour tasting ones.  Whether to use the fermented batter or the fresh one is totally an individual’s choice and comfort.

Ponukulu / Ponugulu / urad dal bonda

          Add-ons to the batter is also your choice, can just make them plain with cumin and salt or add chopped green chilies, onions and coriander leaves. My mom adds chopped spinach or fenugreek leaves to these, they too taste good.


          The key to all tasty deep fried fritters is making them less oily, yet crispy. This can be achieved by making the batter in the right consistency. Not too thick and not too thin. Thick batter makes your fritters rocky hard, while the thin runny batter, makes them oily and soggy too. If by mistake your batter turns runny, you can save your batter and can still make crispy Punugulu. Powder the thick variety beaten rice/ poha (aval / attukulu) coarsely and mix it with the runny batter to make your batter thicker, set this aside for 10 mins. I do not measure how much I add, but I just add enough to make my batter thick. This will make crispy and less oily fritters. Can look at the tissue in the picture below , fritters did not absorb oil.

          If you prefer to use the left over idli/dosa batter, then add the poha  pow  to the batter and mix to get the right consistency.

I used
½ cup urad dal
1 cup rice (can even use 1½ cups)
¼ cup thick poha (optional, use if your batter becomes runny )
Salt to taste
750 ml oil to deep fry (can use lesser too)
2 green chilies (minced or can add paste)
1 big onion (chopped)
½ tsp cumin
  
Instructions 
1.     Wash & Soak urad and rice for min 4 hrs. If you intend to  soak for longer than 4 hrs, use 1 and a 1/2 cups of rice otherwise you may not get crispy.
2.    Grind urad dal to a smooth batter with enough water and salt. Do not make it runny. Pour this in a utensil. 
3.    Grind rice coarsely and mix it with the batter thoroughly. Check the consistency now, should be thicker than the pouring consistency. Refer the pic below. This is the right consistency.

  
If you feel the batter is runny, add poha / attukulu powder and grind and set side for 10 mins. It becomes thicker like shown below. Now adjust the consistency, if required, can add very little water or can proceed as usual.Check by making 1 or 2 ponugulu, if they are hard need to add little water. if they are not crispy or they come out oily, it means the batter is still runny

4.    Add cumin, chopped green chilies and onions.
5.    Heat oil till smoky hot, adjust the flame to medium high, not low and not high.
6.    Shape the batter to round balls with your fingers and drop them in the hot oil. 

 7.    Fry them till golden color and transfer them on to a kitchen tissue. 

Plain Ponukulu without onions and green chiles
ponukulu with onions and chilies

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