Kunukku (Fritters made with leftover rice)

My 100th post & so, a pat on my back :). When I told my mom that I am close to 100 posts she told me to ensure I post a sweet/ dessert as my 100th post (Start every little thing with sweet & then shove more sweet whenever you can, hahahaha). When I saw the recipes I had to post, I obviously got a totally different idea for this very milestone post – my mom’s kunukku. We did this 2 weeks back (I am severely lagging behind peeps and it’s a good thing mostly :)). Kunukku has a very special place in my heart forever. Almost any weekend when there was leftover rice (my childhood days), my mom would make this for us for an evening snack simply because we loved it. I still remember how despite how much ever she made, she probably almost always had exactly one or two tiny pieces of these to nibble on. I am still very shameless about this (and most foods) and I am very capable of finishing an entire big bowl of kunukkus with my mom’s awesome tea all by myself. As I am getting older, I am appreciating what my mom did/ continues to do for us a lot more. I still take her for granted most times but I have my utmost gratitude for having put on one of the most difficult & taken for granted role in her life for us for so long. The worst part (for her) and the best part (for me n my bro) is that she still continues to slog for us. She leaves in a week & I am very emotional this time around her. I am going through a slightly tricky bit in my life & I am so glad I have this rock by my side. I love you Amma (cheesy, but I feel like it is the right thing to tell here). Now, back to the story of kunukku. Kunukku is traditionally done with leftover Adai/ Dosa batter. My mom apparently just decided to swap that with some leftover rice & voila, that creation is simply mind blowing. Those of you who have had kunukku made out of adai/ dosa batter, please please pretty please, try this one. You will understand what you are missing :). And for those, who have never had any sort of kunukku before in life can all go take a jump 😀 and then try this one. It’s simply yummm. If only kunukku were healthy, I’d have them all day every day through the year with my mom’s cup of tea :). Her tea is so awesome that some day I want to document that as well. Please don’t laugh, am v serious. Also, it’s always fun documenting any of my mom’s dishes. She almost makes it seem like I am making a video documentary. She gives me the history & geography of the dish she makes and I simply simply love it :). And those of you who know my mom can totally relate to this.

And ooh, the hand model in the below pic is Adya :). He has this innate quality to spot dishes that he will like for sure :). And when I click the final picture of such dishes, he is already grabbing to pop some in his mouth :). He loved this one & I loved watching him gobble these up. I removed the chilli pieces when I fed him these. And lastly, the saree in the pic was bought for my wedding. Over all, this pic has my heart stamped all over it :D.

Kunukku (Fritters made with leftover rice)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2 cups
  • 1.5 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup besan/ chickpea flour
  • 2 nos medium sized onions
  • 2 nos green chillies
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • a handful mixed curry leaves & coriander leaves
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch asafodita
  • 1/2 cup refined oil (for frying)
  1. Finely chop onions, green chillies, ginger. Roughly chop up the curry leaves & coriander leaves. Set all these side. 

  2. In a wide bowl, mix all the ingredients (rice, besan/ chickpea flour, onions, green chillies, ginger, asafodita, salt, curry leaves, coriander leaves) well using a broad spatula or your hands. I prefer my very own hands :). 

  3. Roll this mixture into tiny balls (I rolled each to the size of a grape). Meanwhile, in a pan/ kadai, heat the oil. 

  4. Once the oil is well heated (you drop a small bit of the mixture & if it comes bubbling & floating to the top, you know you are good to go), deep fry the kunukku balls in batches. 

  5. Fry in medium heat until the balls turn golden brown. 

  6. Remove from heat & place them in a sieve or on a paper towel so that the excess oil will be removed. 

  7. Serve hot alongside a cuppa chai! 

Recipe Notes
  1. DO NOT add any extra water. Else, while frying the kunukku will either consume too much oil or they won't hold shape. 
  2. Make sure the rice that you are going to use is well cooked (and hence, mashable).
  3. If your rice is cold, just heat/ warm it up a bit before starting the process. 
  4. You can play around with the number of onions, green chillies as per your taste. 
  5. My mom never made these proper round shapes for these. She would hold a big piece of the mixture in her hand & just keep dropping some portions into the oil directly. You could do the same if you are pro at handling oil :).
  6. We could fry 6-8 kunukku balls at a time since we use very little oil. 
  7. You could have this with ketchup but honestly, I think the taste is way better when had just like that. 
  8. The coriander leaves & curry leaves add to the taste. So don't skip that. 

Stepwise pictures

In a wide bowl, place all the ingredients – cooked rice, onions, green chillies, salt, asafodita, ginger, curry leaves & coriander leaves.

Mix everything well using the back of a broad spatula or your hands. I prefer using my hands. What you will have a sticky dough like mixture.

Roll this into tiny size balls & meanwhile heat the oil in a kadai/ pan for frying.

Deep fry the kunukku balls in medium heat till they turn golden brown in color.

We fried ours in small batches since we had kept very little oil. Transfer the kunukku to a sieve or place it on a kitchen towel to get the excess oil out.

Serve hot with a cuppa chai!

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