Cholam - in Tamil this refers to both Maize(commonly referred to as corn and used in bio fuel these days) and sorghum. Sorghum grown as a dry area crop, being hardy and not requiring too much water and was a staple before rice became popular. As people got affluent, sorghum was replaced with rice so much so that today it is mainly used in fodder. More information here.
I first tasted Sorghum Paniyaram, in high school from a friend's lunch box. Soft and fluffy those paniyarams tasted great is all I remember. Got a chance to make them and the taste did not disappoint at all. It was well worth the wait. The rustic taste is fantastic.
A reader of this blog had enquired on this post about making paniyarams. I took a few more pictures to give an idea of how they are made, hoping it will help.
Knowing how to make idli batter and having the paniyaram pan handy is all that is required. If you don't know how to make idli batter try an Indian grocery store, a few of them carry ready made batter. The idli rice is different than the rice used for making rice. Most stores label them as such.
If you are interested in buying the pan in the US, search for Aebleskiver Pans.
Link to Amazon through Mahanandi Selections
Idli batter - Traditional
The main ingredients for the batter are rice, urad dal and methi seeds.
1. Idli Rice 6 Cups (depending on the rice the rice to urad dal ratio might change, you arrive at the correct proportion in the second or third usage of the rice)
2. Urad dal 1 Cup
3. 1/2 tbsp methi seeds
4.Salt to taste.
1. Soak overnight and grind to pouring consistency but not watery.
2. Start with methi and urad, grind till it becomes atleast 3 to 4 times in volume, remove to a container. Now grind the rice to cream of wheat consistency.
3. Add salt and mix well.
4. Let it ferment, this will cause the batter to rise.
5. Mix and set it aside for use.
1. 2 Cups Cholam (sorghum)
2. 1 Cup Idli Rice (not required)
3. 1 tbsp Urad dal
Soak the above overnight
4. 3 Red chilies
5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
Grind to idli batter consistency. Add salt and let it ferment for 3-4 hours.
Update: Mom says there is no need to add rice for this recipe
3. Cover with a lid. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove when it turns golden brown.
Served with tomato/coriander chutney. Coconut chutney works too.
Paniyarams taste best with these chutneys:
1. Carrot Tomato Chutney