Kanchipuram Idli is served as prasadam at the Varadaraja Perumal Koil (temple) in Kanchipuram. It looks nothing like a regular idli and tastes quite spicy. As is wont with prasadam, the taste is something special, and I wanted to replicate the taste at home.

Kanchipuram Idli | Steamed Udad Dal and Rice Dumplings with Tempering
Kanchipuram Idli: Varadaraja Perumal Temple Prasadam

Kanchipuram (aka Kanjeevaram or simply Kanchi)  near Chennai in Tamil Nadu is famous for its silk sarees and its temples. Given that I am fond of both, going to Kanchipuram is always a pleasure for me.

Read more about Kanchipuram on the Tamilnadu Tourism website.

In Kanchi (as we in the south call Kanchipuram), I am always drawn to 3 temples: Kanchi Kamakshi, Ekambareswarar, and Varadaja Perumal.

Some Mumbai Udupi eateries, do serve Kanchipuram idli but that one is nothing like what I had in the temple. Then I chanced upon this article in The Hindu, waxing eloquent about Kanchipuram idli. More importantly, it had the recipe from the temple. What more could I ask for! And when I tried the recipe, it turned out just like the prasadam I remembered. 🙂

So here it is!

I posted this recipe in March 2014 and have updated it now for step-wise photos and better pics of the final result.

Kancheepuram Idli
Kancheepuram Idli

Some Notes:

  • The original recipe calls for 1 part parboiled rice and 1 part regular rice. I made it with just regular rice.
  • Do not mix the batter too much after fermentation because then you will lose all the air that has built up in the batter because of fermentation and the idli would be very dense.
  • I saved a bit of the tempering and added it to the top of the batter after it was transferred to the plate for steaming. This is just to make the idli look prettier.
  • Get the water in the steamer/pressure cooker boiling before you make the tempering so that the steamer is hot when you place the idli in it.
  • You can try with this with the regular idli batter also but it does not taste as good because the udad-to-rice proportion is different.
  • Kanchipuram Idli is quite heavy so beware of how much you make or eat.

Recipe for Kanchipuram Idli: Prasadam from Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Idli is a spiced idli served as prasadam in the Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Idli: Prasadam from the Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram Idli is a special type of idli that is served as prasadam at the divine Varadaraja Perumal Koil in Kanchi. It uses a 2:1 ration of rice to udad dal, and a tempering of dried ginger powder, asafoetida, cumin and curry leaves is mixed into the batter before steaming.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Soaking and Fermentation Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 15 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian, Tamil Nadu

Equipment

  • Steamer

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 Cup Udad Dal
  • 1/2 Cup Rice
  • 1/4 tsp Methi or Fenugreek Seeds
  • 15 Miri or Pepper Corns
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Soonth or Dry Ginger Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Hing or Asafoetida
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 15 Finely Chopped Curry Leaves
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions
 

Soaking the Dal and Rice

  • Wash the udad dal well till the water runs clear, and soak it in 3/4 cup of water for at least 4 hours.
  • Wash the rice well, and soak it in 1 cup water for at least 2 hours.

Making the Batter (After 4 Hours of Soaking)

  • Save some of the water from the soaked udad dal and drain the rest of water completely.
  • Grind the udad dal with as little water as possible to a smooth paste.
  • Drain all the water from the rice.
  • Grind the rice with 2 or 3 tbsp water (saved in step 1) to a smooth paste.
  • Mix the two batters together with about 1/3 tsp of salt.
  • Set the batter aside to ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

Adding the tempering

  • In a ladle, heat the ghee.
  • Add the cumin and stir fry for 10 seconds.
  • Add the crushed pepper and curry leaves, and stir fry for 5 seconds.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Add asafoetida and dry ginger powder (soonth/chukku), and mix well.
  • Add the tempering immediately add to the batter.
  • Using a gentle hand, incorporate the tempering into the batter. Use a very gentle motion because you do not want to lose the aeration that results from the fermentation.

Steaming the Kanchipuram Idli

  • Grease an 8? plate with some ghee.
  • Gently pour in the batter to 1/2 the plate height.
  • In a pressure cooker, steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and wait for 10 minutes.

Serving the Idli

  • Take the plate out of the cooker.
  • Use a knife and gently loosen the edges of the idli.
  • While it is still in the plate, cut the Kanchipuram idli into 4 pieces.
  • Use a small sharp knife to loosen each piece and remove it from the plate.
  • Serve the Kanchipuram Idli with Coconut Chutney or Coconut and Coriander Chutney.
Keyword Idli, Kancheepuram Idli, Kanchi Idli, Kanchipuram Idli, Varadaraja Perumal Koil Prasadam
Kanchipuram Idli is a spiced idli served as prasadam in the Varadaraja Perumal Temple
Kanchipuram Idli | Varadaraja Perumal Temple Prasadam

How to Make Kanchipuram Idli

Soaking Time: 4 Hours

Fermentation: 8 to 10 Hours

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Udad Dal – 1/4 Cup
  2. Rice – 1/2 Cup
  3. Methi or Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  4. Miri or Pepper Corns – 15
  5. Jeera or Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  6. Soonth or Dry Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Hing or Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
  8. Ghee – 1 tsp
  9. Finely Chopped Curry Leaves – 15
  10. Salt to Taste

Method to Make Kanchipuram Idli

  1. Soaking the Dal and Rice
    1. Wash the udad dal well till the water runs clear.
    2. Add fenugreek seeds.
    3. Soak the udad dal and fenugreek seeds in 3/4 cup of water for at least 4 hours.
    4. Wash the rice well.
    5. Soak the rice in 1 cup water.
  2. Making the Batter (After 4 Hours of Soaking)
    1. Save some of the water from the soaked udad dal and drain the rest of water completely.
    2. Grind the udad dal with as little water as possible to a smooth paste.
    3. Drain all the water from the rice.
    4. Grind the rice with 2 or 3 tbsp water (saved in step 1) to a smooth paste. The rice will need some water but be careful about the amount you add. If it is too runny, the batter will not ferment well.

    5. Mix the two batters together with about 1/3 tsp of salt. The batter should be such that when it flows off the spoon as ribbons.
    6. Set the batter aside to ferment for 8 to 10 hours. The batter will rise to about 2 times its original volume so use a large vessel.

  3. Adding the tempering to the batter
    1. In a ladle, heat the ghee.
    2. Add the cumin and stir fry for 10 seconds.
    3. Add the crushed pepper and curry leaves, and stir fry for 5 seconds.
    4. Turn off the heat.
    5. Add asafoetida and dry ginger powder (soonth/chukku), and mix well.
    6. Add the tempering immediately add to the batter.
    7. Using a gentle hand, incorporate the tempering into the batter. Use a very gentle motion because you do not want to lose the aeration that results from the fermentation.
  4. Steaming the Kanchipuram Idli
    1. Grease an 8? plate with some ghee.
    2. Gently pour in the batter to 1/2 the plate height.
    3. In a pressure cooker, steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. Turn off the heat and wait for 10 minutes.
  5. Serving the Idli
    1. Take the plate out of the cooker.
    2. Use a knife and gently loosen the edges of the idli.
    3. While it is still in the plate, cut the Kanchipuram idli into 4 pieces.
    4. Use a small sharp knife to loosen each piece and remove it from the plate.
    5. Serve the Kanchipuram Idli with Coconut Chutney or Coconut and Coriander Chutney.

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