Kolusa Paniaram (Star Paniaram)

It’s advent today! I’m going to kickoff the Christmas season with the first of my Christmas Specials, which will mostly feature recipes of Tamil Christians from the deep south of Tamil Nadu. There’ll be one every Sunday from now till Christmas.

When we got married, my mother gave each of my sisters and me a recipe book with many recipes she had collected. This recipe was in that book but I didn’t remember her ever making it. When I asked, she said that it was because the kolusa paniaram smelled of egg and it would disintegrate while frying. I later on discovered that she didn’t make it because she was allergic to egg. I tried the recipe and found that the paniaram did smell of egg, but the smell disappeared when coconut milk was added. I don’t know what ‘kolusa’ means, but this makes a very tasty snack with a star shape that is perfect for the Christmas season.

Kolusa Paniaram - Kalas Kalai

Kolusa Paniaram (Star Paniaram)

This is an energy rich snack. Though it is deep fried it absorbs very little oil and therefore the calories come mainly from the carbohydrates than from fat. Those who are on a cholesterol reducing diet can eat this without feeling guilty.


  • 2 C Rice Flour
  • ½ C Castor Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sombu (Aniseed) Powder
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 C thick Coconut Milk
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Vegetable Oil for deep frying


  1. Broil (dry roast) the rice flour in a kadai or wok till a roasted smell arises. Do not brown.
  2. Remove from heat, spread on a paper, and cool.
  3. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil. Mix to form thick dough.
  4. Divide the dough into lime sized balls.
  5. Flatten on your palm. Shape into stars.
  6. Heat the oil in a kadai or wok. Drop a small amount of dough into the oil. The oil is ready for frying if the dough rises immediately to the surface. Lower heat.
  7. Fry the stars of dough on low heat. Drain on kitchen paper towels.
  8. Cool and store in an airtight container.


  1. If raw rice flour is used, it will require less coconut milk to prepare the dough.
  2. I use reconstituted coconut milk for this dish.
  3. If you do not have castor sugar, powder white cane sugar in a blender or a mixie. Castor sugar is used as it is very fine grained and it will give a smooth texture. It will also dissolve easily despite there being very little liquid to prepare the dough.
  4. Instead of shaping the dough by hand into stars, you can roll out the dough and cut with a star shaped cookie cutter. Use a palette knife to remove the star.
  5. The paniaram will keep fresh for up to a week if stored properly.

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