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Kanchipuram Idli

  • Veg
  • 20 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy



Kanchipuram idli is different to other idlis in almost every aspect. This unique variation of the famous Indian rice-lentil cake was invented in the temples of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, Southern India. It was a special treat and offering to festival times. Gods and people seemed to enjoy this dish similarly, and the reputation for the specialty spread throughout India and beyond.

Traditionally, Kanchipuram idlis come in a long conical shape.

The big size invites to share because one person wouldn’t be able to finish the whole idli.

Making Kanchipuram idli is all about the preparation. It needs to be done a day in advance, and there is no shortcut. You will be amply rewarded with a soft and fluffy consistency paired with aromatic spices that make this such an exquisite and unique dish.

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How to make Kanchipuram Idli

  1. Wash rice (both types) and soak together for 6-8 hours.
  2. Mix the lentils with the fenugreek seeds and soak for 6-8 hours.
  3. Drain the lentils and grind them to a fine paste (use blender or grinder), add water if required (don't use the drained water).
  4. Do the same with the rice and grind the mix to a coarse, slightly grainy texture.
  5. Combine both into a thin batter. Add water if required.
  6. Add salt, cover, and ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  7. The next day the batter will have risen and almost doubled in volume.
  8. To make the seasoning roughly crush/grind the cumin seeds and peppercorn.
  9. Heat the butter in a pan and add cumin, peppercorns, curry leaves, cashew nuts and chili. Sautè for a few minutes and turn off.
  10. Add the ginger powder and mix well.
  11. Stir the seasoning into the batter.
  12. Fill the greased molds and steam for about 10 minutes. Cooking time might vary, depending on your equipment.
  13. To check the idli insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean, they are ready.
  14. Serve with a suitable chutney or with a sauce/dip of your choice. 

In case you don't have an idli tray, you can also make a cake with the batter; use a round baking tin that fits into your steamer. Pour the batter into it (not more than half full) and steam (adjust the cooking time if necessary). Cut into cake slices and serve. 

Enjoy the dish and Happy cooking.

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