Kanchipuram Idli – spiced with ginger in fresh and dried forms, pepper, cumin, kariveppelai (curry leaves), cashew nuts, and tempered in gingelly oil (nallennai/sesame oil) – just reading the description makes me almost drool. So named for its origins in (from who knows when) the temple kitchen (madapalli) of the Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal kovil, it’s been enjoyed by millions as a temple prasadam and in homes around the world. I was introduced to it quite late in my life when I got married and had it at my husband’s aunt’s place. I’ll admit – I wasn’t a huge fan initially. But my husband loves it to pieces. So, over the years, I’ve learned to make it (not frequently enough for him), and have grown to like, even love it. I simply love that it’s a temple prasadam. The temple kitchen uses only raw rice but at home we use an equal measure of raw and parboiled rices. Here’s the recipe.
Akkara adisil is the quintessential Iyengar dessert, and there are no two opinions about how it should be made – it’s basically rice and moong dal cooked in lots of milk and ghee, and a healthy dose of jaggery or unrefined sugar.
The key to this dish is to cook the rice and dal in a mix of water and milk, preferably whole milk.
Story behind the dish:
Legend goes that Andal (Gotha Devi, the lone female among the 12 Aazhvars) longed to become one with Krishna. She obsereved a nonbu (penance, fast) during the month of Margazhi and offered him neivedhyam every day. On the 27th day, she made this dish, cooked rice and dal in milk, sweetened with jaggery, and dripping with ghee, and offered as neivedhyam. She was granted her wish on this day, which is known as Koodaravalli. Yestreday, our local temple performed Andal Kalyanam, and I had taken this as prasadam.