Kanchipuram Idli

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Kanchipuram Idli
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.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 mins
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
idlis
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw rice pacharisi - I used basmati
  • 1 cup parboiled/idli rice
  • 1 cup urad dal whole, dehusked
  • 1 tsp methi soak with urad dal
  • 4 tsp/as needed Salt
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sukku/dry ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds/jeera
  • 2 tbsp cashew pieces optional
  • 10 curry leaves roughly torn not a precise measure, use less if you don't have enough or more
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil or a mix of sesame oil and ghee
  • 2 green chilies chopped fine
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 mins
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
idlis
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw rice pacharisi - I used basmati
  • 1 cup parboiled/idli rice
  • 1 cup urad dal whole, dehusked
  • 1 tsp methi soak with urad dal
  • 4 tsp/as needed Salt
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sukku/dry ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds/jeera
  • 2 tbsp cashew pieces optional
  • 10 curry leaves roughly torn not a precise measure, use less if you don't have enough or more
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil or a mix of sesame oil and ghee
  • 2 green chilies chopped fine
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Hing
Instructions
  1. Soak the dals, rice, and methi together (after washing) for about 4-6 hours. Blend coarsely (I just used my Vitamix, this does not need all the pampering and babying that regular idli needs), and set to ferment in a warm spot
  2. Once fermented (takes anywhere between 10-20 hours, mine took almost a whole day), add salt to the batter and get things to season and temper in place, mentioned in Seasoning Ingredients
  3. Heat about 2 tsp of oil/ghee, splutter mustard seeds, crushed pepper and jeera, and finally the cashew pieces and turn the heat off
  4. Pour over the batter, and add the other seasoning ingredients - sukku/dry ginger powder, ginger, chilies, curry leaves, hing
  5. Mix the batter well
  6. Typically, kanchipuram idlis are made in small cups/tumblers. But I just made them in regular idli moulds.
  7. Steam them as you would steam regular idlis, but for longer - I found that 15 minutes worked great for the idli moulds. The reason for the longer steaming is that the batter is coarse-ground.
  8. Serve hot and steaming, with idli molagapodi, and chutneys of your choice.
  9. My quick chutney recipe courtesy Venkatesh Bhatt: blend together roughly chopped onion (1/2 medium), 5-8 red chilies - regular and bydagi, a small piece of tamarind, salt, 1/4 cup coconut, and a tsp of jaggery. This chutney is the bomb!!!
  10. Being made in the temple in Kanchipuram
Recipe Notes

In the kanchipuram temple, the idlis are steamed in cylindrical bamboo baskets called kudalai, lined with mandarai leaves, each a foot long. A number of these baskets are cooked at a time in huge pots. Since they're cooked in kudalai, they're also called kudalai idli. The typical cook time is rougly 2-3 hours. But at home, cooking in idli moulds, it takes just about 15 minutes. These, as other idlis, are a wonderful travel food and stay unspoiled at room temperature for a couple of days.

They are then cut into discs for distrubuting as prasadam to the temple visitors. As cooking experience goes, making this idli for some reason gives me great pleasure and satisfaction.

My bouncy batter:

kanchipuramidli

Making of Kanchipuram Idli at Varadaraja Perumal Kovil

 

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