Kunukkus are delicious South Indian fritters originating from the southern most state of Tamil Nadu. They are made from a combination of rice and various dals. Kunukkus are just perfect for an afternoon tea time snack or you can serve them as an appetizer.
The cuisine of Tamil Nadu is famous for both its spicy vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes alike. Daily meals in this region usually consist of fresh vegetables and dals accompanied by copious amounts of rice. Famous regional specialties include idlis, dosas, vadas, sambhar and rasam.
CASHEW KUNUKKUS (South Indian Cashew Fritters)
1 cup rice
1 cup toor dal (yellow split peas)
¼ cup urad dal (whole black gram, skinned)
¼ cup chana dal (split chickpeas or Bengal gram)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 green chilies, finely chopped (to taste)
4-5 small fresh curry leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
½ cup toasted cashew pieces
½ cup of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
salt to taste
oil (vegetable, canola or peanut) for shallow frying
Thoroughly rinse the dals and rice in 2 changes of water. In a large mixing bowl, soak the dals and the rice for 2 hours in water to cover by at least 2 inches. Drain well and grind in a blender to form a slightly coarse and thick batter. Once the batter is ready, stir in the salt, red chili powder, green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, cashew pieces and cilantro leaves.
In a large frying pan on high heat, add enough oil for shallow frying. When the oil is hot, carefully drop large tablespoonfuls of the batter, making sure not to overcrowd the pan (this may be done in batches). After 2-3 minutes, flip them and reduce the heat to medium. Fry them for another 2-3 minutes; they should have a lovely golden brown color. Drain well on paper towels and serve hot with your favorite sauces and chutneys.
Feel free to add some finely chopped onions, grated carrots, grated zucchini, diced eggplant, shredded cabbage or freshly grated coconut to the batter for a richer depth of flavor. You could also substitute peanuts instead of cashews.