Kanchipuram idlis are a well known variety of idlis originating from the city of kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Kanchipuram idlis are spiced with cumin, pepper and ginger powder and thus taste different from the regular idlis.
1 tablespoon Ghee- can also use sesame oil (gingelly oil)
½ teaspoon black pepper- slightly crushed
½ teaspoon cumin seeds- slightly crushed
8 to 10 cashews- chopped - optional
7 to 8 curry leaves- chopped
⅛ teaspoon asafoetida(hing)
for steaming idli
2.5 cups water for steaming
some oil for greasing idli moulds or banana leaves
1 banana leaf,optional
soaking rice and urad dal
Take ½ cup regular rice and ½ cup parboiled rice or idli rice in a bowl or pan. You can also just take 1 cup regular rice (raw rice).
Rinse a couple of times with water. Then soak rice in 1 cup water for 4 to 5 hours.
Take ½ cup urad dal and 15 fenugreek seeds (methi seeds).
Rinse a couple of times with water and then soak urad dal and methi seeds in 1 cup water for 4 to 5 hours.
making idli batter
Drain all the water from the urad dal and add in a grinder jar. Also add ½ cup fresh water for grinding dal.
Grind dal to a smooth consistency.
With a spatula remove urad dal batter in a bowl.
Now drain all the water from the rice and add them in same grinder jar. Add ½ cup fresh water for grinding rice.
Grind rice to a semi fine consistency like that of rice rava.
With a spatula remove rice batter in the same bowl in which urad dal batter is kept.
Mix very well with a spatula or spoon. Cover and let the batter ferment overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
The batter should have a pleasant sour odour with some tiny air bubbles in it.
preparation before steaming kanchipuram idli
Before preparing the idlis some prep work needs to be done. Rinse 1 tablespoon chana dal a couple of times with water. Then soak chana dal in ¼ cup hot boiling water for 30 minutes.
For steaming the idlis, you can use banana leaves. Cut them in small squares as the same size of that the idli mould. Then line the idli moulds with the leaves. Grease some oil on the banana leaves.
You can also use small steel tumblers or steel bowls (vati) and line them with banana leaves. Grease some oil on the banana leaves.
Next in a mortar-pestle take ½ teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
Crush both black pepper and cumin seeds coarsely. Keep aside.
Drain all the water from the soaked chana dal and add the dal in the idli batter.
Add ¼ teaspoon ginger powder and salt as required.
Mix very well.
Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small pan or tadka pan. You can also use sesame oil (gingelly oil).
When the ghee melts add the crushed black pepper and cumin seeds.
Fry them for some seconds till the cumin seeds sizzle and change color.
Then add 8 to 10 cashews (chopped).
Mix well and stirring often fry cashews till they turn light golden.
Add 7 to 8 curry leaves (chopped).
Mix well and fry for some seconds till the curry leaves become crisp. Do not brown them.
Lastly add ¼ teaspoon asafoetida. Switch off the flame and mix well.
Pour the tempering mixture in the idli batter. Mix very well.
making kanchipuram idli
Then pour idli batter in the idli moulds lined with banana leaves.
If using small bowls or tumblers, then pour the batter till ¾th of the bowl or tumbler. Place the bowls on the idli stand or a steamer pan.
Bring to boil 2.5 cups water in a pressure cooker or a large pot.
Place the idli stand in the cooker.
Remove the whistle (vent weight) and cover cooker with its lid.
Steam kanchipuram idlis on medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes. The idlis made in the idli moulds will take less time. But the idlis made in a tumber or bowls will take more time as the quantity of batter is more in these.
To check the doneness, insert a bamboo skewer or toothpick in the idlis. If there is no sticky batter on the skewer, the kanchipuram idlis are steamed well.
Wait for a 1 to 2 minutes and then with a spoon or spatula place the idlis in a plate. Remove the banana leaves and then serve kanchipuram idlis. To keep the idlis warm, place them in a chapati dabba (box) or a casserole.
Serve kanchipuram idli with coconut chutney and sambar.