Kanchipuram idli/How To Make Kanchipuram Idlis


Idlis are the most loved breakfast or brunch in my family. These steamed, soft and spongy idlis are relished with sambhar and various chutneys. Idlies prepared with rawa or rice-lentil batter is a light and healthy meal. Many times the fermented batter rests in my fridge.
This time I wanted to make a different variant of Idli. (There is a large variation of Idlis across the whole Southern Region)


So I went for the Kanchipuram Idlis. These Idlis are originally from the temple town Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu and given as prasadam in the grand Varadharaja Perumal Temple. Originally these are steamed in odd shapes in mandharai leaves but at homes, we can steam them in regular idli moulds. The batter is given a tempering or tadka with some aromatics and spices like peppercorns, cumin and nuts making these idlis very tasty.


• Idli Rice (sona masoori) – 3 cups
• White urad dal/split urad dal – 1 cup
• Poha/ flattened rice – 1 cup
• Methi dana/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
• Water as required ( for rinsing+soaking+grinding)


• Oil – 3 tsp
• Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
• Chana dal – 1 tsp
• Urad dal – 1 tsp
• Curry leaves – 8-10
• Turmeric/Haldi powder – 1/2 tsp
• Red chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
• Finely chopped ginger – 1 tsp
• Crushed black pepper corns – 1 tsp
• Finely chopped cashew nuts – 2 tbsp
• Red whole chilli – 1-2( finely chopped)


• Some broken or whole cashew nuts
• Some crushed peppercorns

Directions For Making Idli

1- Soak idli rice and urad dal separately for 6 hrs or overnight. Also soak methi dana with dal

2- Soak poha /flattened rice for 20 minutes before starting the grinding process next morning

3- Grind urad dal with methi dana by adding water little at a time. Grind until dal becomes fluffy and creamy

4- Next, grind rice and soaked poha adding little water at a time until creamy. Add this to ground dal and mix well

5- Cover with a lid and keep for fermentation for 6 hours.When the batter is fermented well prepare for tadka/tempering

To Add The Tempering/Tadka

Heat oil and add chana dal and urad dal. Fry them and add mustard seeds, pepper corns, chopped ginger, cashew nuts and curry leaves. When they splutter, add turmeric and red chilly powder.

Allow the tadka to cool down and add to the fermented Idli batter and mix well

Drop 1 tbsp batter into each idli mould cavity. Place 1 cashew nut and pepper corns on top of each

Place the mould into steamer or cooker with the whistle off for 5 to 8 minutes to steam the idlis

  • You can also steam idlies in microwave safe moulds for 2 minutes at the highest temperature

Steamed Kanchipuram idlis are ready within minutes. Serve the soft and spongy Kanchipuram Idlis with Raw Mango Sambhar, Coconut Chutney and Tomato-Garlic Chutney