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.
I love Kripal Singh’s Food Lovers TV where he spotlights older, unique, out of the way establishments mostly in Bengaluru. One of these episodes featured The New Modern Hotel (not sure of the name) in Bengaluru, and their homestyle cooking and thaali. Now, if I must choose someone to eat on my behalf, if that ever happens, I would choose Kripal. The way he experiences the food and relates the experience, the way he enjoys it – he is the BEST! The food featured was South Canara cuisine, I think it’s coastal karnataka, satvik food, plenty of coconut, and jaggery, and just everything good! I fell in love with this episode, and the side dish of okra gojju that he used the pooris to dip in. Googled the recipe, and I came up with what I think is the dish featured. From my research, it’s very similar to the pagarkai gojju made with a unique masala paste made of sesame seeds and coconut, in addition to the dals and red chilies. I had to make it immediately. Like the same evening. But I waited to serve it with with the pooris, along with a hodge podge thaali I made up with various leftovers, as I was craving a Woodlands style thaali. Here is the recipe!
Avial is one of the trademark Kerala recipes. Mild, stew-like, lush with juicy vegetables, creamy with yogurt, and flavored with fresh coconut and chilies ground to a paste, and tempered in coconut oil with curry leaves. Tastes great on rice, as a side dish for adai and pongal, and puliyodarai, and coconut rice. Requires a bunch of vegetables, but that’s it. Real simple to make.
This is a semi dry chutney with just 4 ingredients: cilantro, red chilies, tamarind, urad dal. And salt, and hing. Pairs perfectly with idli, dosai, rice, anything you’d have a chutney to go with. It’s really neither a chutney nor a powder (podi) – it’s not a runny, watery paste like a chutney, nor is it completely dry like a podi. There is a little moisture from the cilantro, but it’s on the dry side. Simple to make, lasts in the refrigerator for about a month easily.
While uthappam has its own traditional recipe, two day old idli or dosai batter makes wonderful uthappam, which is a slightly thick dosai. I dislike calling it pancakes – pancakes are more melt in your mouth, not much subtance/texture. Uthappam is a robust, spongy in the center and crispy in the edge, thick, smaller dosai. This version is spiced up with molagapodi (idli podi) and topped with onions and cilantro.