Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour is a traditional Maharashtrian side dish made with Besan. It is a moist but dry version of Pitla.

Zunka is a gluten-free dish and is made with besan or chickpea flour. It is protein-rich and a dish that is popular in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. We can call Zunka as spicy gram flour. It is delicious and pairs best with Bakhri. You can make either Jowar or Rice Bakhri, both taste excellent with Zunka. I like it with a simple roti or paratha too. It is an easy dish and is done in 15-20 minutes.

The recipe for Zunka differs from house to house, and each one is equally delicious. I have had it in Maharashtrian houses and even restaurants. To be frank each version differs from the other. My Maharashtrian friend makes a thick batter with chickpea flour and adds it to the sauteed onions. This variety of Zunka is also dry. Whatever method you adopt, the dish is traditional and delicious.

Ingredients for Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

Besan: Besan or chickpea flour is gluten-free. Preferably sieve the besan, so that it is lump-free.

Onions: In Zunka we will use both red onion and spring onion, however, if you do not get spring onion it is perfectly alright.

Ginger Garlic and Green Chilly: we will use a paste, I like to pound it well in a mortar and pestle.

Spices: Basic spices like turmeric powder, coriander powder, gram masala and red chilly powder are used for Zunka. Kashmiri Red Chilly gives it a beautiful colour, so I would suggest you use it.

Coriander Leaves: They are a must to enhance the flavour of the dish and are added twice.

Oil: Oil is used lavishly for Zunka, otherwise it turns out very dry.

How to make Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

To make Zunka, I like to use a non-stick pan, as it doesn’t stick to it.
Pound the Ginger Garlic, chop onions, chop coriander leaves and sieve the besan.
Now we are ready to cook Zunka.

Firstly heat a non-stick pan and add oil to it. Always remember that a good Zunka requires a little extra oil than you would use in a regular dish.
Add mustard seeds to the hot oil and let them splutter. If not making gluten-free add asafoetida. I skipped in mine.

Next, add the pounded ginger garlic and green chilly, saute for just a minute.

Add onions. I have used both spring onion and red onion. However, you can make do with regular red onions too and skip the spring onion. Add a handful of fresh coriander leaves. It will lend a wonderful aroma.

Now add the spices. We add basic spices, like coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder. I like to add some Kashmiri chilly powder for colour. Cook them for a minute along with onions for a beautiful colour and aroma.

We will simmer the flame and add besan and mix everything very well. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the besan is roasted.

Time to add some water to the Zunka. Add very little water, you can sprinkle a couple of times and keep mixing. The besan will swell up and now cover the pan with a lid. After 2-3 minutes check. It should be moist, but dry.
Add coriander leaves and serve hot.

Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

How to serve Zunka?

Zunka is a quick last-minute recipe and should be served as soon as it is ready.

  • Serve it with Bakhri, Thecha and buttermilk or with Fulko.
  • Warqi Paratha and Zunka make an ultimate combo.
  • Make a Zunka Paratha: Let the Zunka come to room temperature, now use it as a stuffing for your Paratha.
Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

What are the variations for Zunka?

A traditional Zunka has lots of coriander but for variation, we can substitute it with –

  • Fenugreek Leaves: Chop the leaves finely and saute them after adding ginger garlic paste.
  • Spinach Leaves: Chop the spinach leaves finely and add them instead of coriander leaves.
  • Capsicum: Add finely chopped capsicum while you saute the onion
  • Pav Bhaji Masala: This spice is my favourite and lends a wonderful flavour, though it’s just a variation.
  • Mixed Vegetables: When the Zunka is ready add some boiled mixed vegetables to make it a wholesome dish.

Is Zunka gluten free?

Yes, Zunka is gluten-free. It is made with Besan / Chickpea Flour that is gluten-free.

What is the difference between Zunka and Pithla?

Zunka and Pithla both are Maharashtrian and made with Besan. Zunka is the dry version, while Pithla is a little liquidy.

Notes and Tips :

  • A non stick pan makes it easy to cook Zunka, it will not stick.
  • Use oil a little lavishly.
  • Saute’ the onion for a minute only, this will retain the crunch.
  • Add Kashmiri Mirch Powder, it will give a beautiful colour to Zunka.
  • Do not pour water, sprinkle it. You might have to sprinkle it a couple of times.
  • Serve the Zunka as soon as it is ready for best taste.

This is my final recipe for the alphabet Z, under the A to Z Series. I had made Pitla, the liquidy version for The Maharashtrian Mix Platter, but I am posting Zunka, the dry version, as this was the only choice for the alphabet.

Here are the other recipes under this A – Z series of Thali Recipes –

A – Almond Stuffed Dates

B – Bhavnagri Mirch ke Bhajiye

C – Chakundar ka Bharta

D – Dal Bhindi

E – Elaichi Kesar China Grass

F – Fruit Payasam

G – Gatta Capsicum

H – Harabharyachi Usal

I – Imli ki Khatti Meethi Chutney

J – Janta Roti

K – Karela Sindhi Style

L -Limbu Sarbat

M – Makhana Mithadi

N – Navtad na Samosa

Q – Onion Raita

P- Peerkangai Kootu

Q – Qeema Tikki 

R- Royal Kulfi Falooda

S – Sobji Diye Moong Dal

T – Takey Paise

U – Uchche Bhaja

V – Vendaikki Mandi

W – Watermelon Mojito

X – Xtra Spicy Mirch ke Pakode

Y – Yoghurt Cheese Balls

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Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour

Zunka | Spicy Gram Flour is a traditional Maharashtrian side dish made with Besan. It is a moist but dry version of Pitla.
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Maharashtrian
Keyword Gluten Free
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Non Stick Pan

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 Onion roughly chopped
  • 2 Spring Onion roughly chopped
  • 150 gms Besan / Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilly Powder Kashmiri
  • 1 tsp Red Chilly Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander Leaves

Instructions

  • Heat a nonstick pan and add oil.
  • Now add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, saute’ for just a minute and immediately add onions and half the coriander leaves.
  • We will saute’ the onions till they are translucent.
  • Mix in all the spices and give a quick mix.
  • Simmer the flame and add besan. Gently mix till everything is well mixed. At this point take a test check of spices and adjust accordingly. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Now we will add water, but for Zunka we need very little water, so we will sprinkle some water, little by little. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
  • The Zunka should be dry, add coriander leaves and give it a good mix.
  • Serve immediately as it tastes best right from the pot.

Notes

 
  • A non-stick pan makes it easy to cook Zunka, it will not stick.
  • Use oil a little lavishly.
  • Saute’ the onion for a minute only, this will retain the crunch.
  • Add Kashmiri Mirch Powder, it will give a beautiful colour to Zunka.
  • Do not pour water, sprinkle it. You might have to sprinkle it a couple of times.
  • Serve the Zunka as soon as it is ready for best taste.
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