Kanchipuram Idlis ( Idlis and Dosas)
by Tarla Dalal
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Kanchipuram is famous for more than silk sarees! In fact, this special savoury idli got its name from that small town in Tamil Nadu. It is offered at the Sri Varadharaja Swamy Temple, and food-lovers are generally prepared to even withstand the hardships of a long queue to buy the prasad of tasty Kanchipuram Idli from there. Indeed, with an elaborate tempering of assorted spices, these idlis are a mouth-watering treat. Here is how you can prepare it in your own kitchen. While we have prepared it using idli plates for your convenience, this batter is traditionally cooked in small greased katoris or in a large, round, flat cooker vessel and then sliced into squares or triangles.
- Combine the urad dal and enough water in a deep bowl and soak for 4 hours.
- Combine the parboiled rice, raw rice and enough water in a deep bowl and soak for 4 hours.
- Drain the urad dal and blend in a mixer to a smooth paste using approx. ¾ cup of water. Transfer the mixture into a deep bowl and keep aside.
- Drain the parboiled rice and raw rice blend in a mixer to a slightly coarse paste using approx. . ½ cup of water. Transfer the mixture into the same bowl, add the salt and mix well.
- Cover and ferment in a warm place for 10 to 12 hours.
- Add the turmeric powder and ginger powder and mix well. Keep aside.
- Combine the cumin seeds and peppercorns in a mortal pestle (khalbatta) and crush to a coarse mixture and keep aside.
- Heat the sesame oil and ghee in a small non-stick pan, add the chana dal and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- Add the urad dal, mustard seeds and the cumin-peppercorn coarse mixture and green chillies and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- Add the cashewnuts and curry leaves and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Add this tempering to the batter and mix well.
- Grease the idli moulds using little oil and put spoonfuls of batter into them.
- Steam in an idli steamer for 10 minutes or till they are cooked.
- Repeat with the remaining batter to make more idlis.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
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