Kanchipuram Idli

BM#102: Week 2, Day 2
Theme :
Restaurant recipes

Me and my husband are both from middle income families where eating out was a rarity. It wasn’t financially feasible for our parents plus there was this firm notion in their minds that outside food is substandard. After we got married and moved out of my in laws place, me and my husband used to eat out a lot. The kitchen was always closed on weekends.

My in laws and my dad still look at eating out as wasting money, but my mother, who was held back by the financial situation while we were growing up but more so by my dad, was quick to change. She always liked eating out, but lacked company to do it. I remember her trying kanchipuram idlis at a South Indian restaurant we had visited once. So when I made kanchipuram idlis recently, I was thinking of her :-).

Read on for the recipe.


For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup parboiled rice
  • 3/4 cup urad dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Salt as needed

For making the idli:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder


  1. Soak the rice, fenugreek seeds and dal together overnight. Grind next morning using a grinder or mixie. Set aside to ferment. Refrigerate once the batter is fermented and has doubled in quantity. This usually takes about 8-10 hours depending on the weather.
  2. When ready to prepare the idli, crush black pepper and cumin together using a mortar and pestle. Heat ghee and add the cumin pepper mix. Add cashews and sauté until it changes color. Remove from heat, let it cool completely and then add to the batter.
  3. Add the turmeric powder and the dry ginger powder also to the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the idli molds and steam for 10-12 minutes until the idlis are cooked through.
  5. Take off the heat, serve with sambar and idli podi.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

South Indian Breakfast – Idli Vada Sambar

Summer vacation is here , the most dreaded time for any parent. Vacation camps and classes are saviors for many, else entertaining a single kid at home is no easy task.

So, I was surprised when Mittu – my neighbor’s daughter, informed me that she is not going to dance class anymore. Its vacation and kid being even an hour away from home means a lot for sanity, so I checked with her mom the reason behind it.

And her mom said that Mittu’s dance looks more like Bhagyaraj doing exercise than dance itself. So after waiting for a long time to see whether Mittu will dance with some grace, her mom finally decided to take her out of the class as a show of respect to the art.

Mittu is now going to Hindi class instead, where she is really shining.

Like Mittu bowing down to the art and moving out, I had bowed out of the art of deep frying. I cannot even fry a papad, I would brown them. But finally I gathered some courage, poured the oil and made some vada. And the funny thing was that they came out well and paired wonderfully with idlis for this tiffin thali. A couple of them went into the Punjabi Thali as Dahi Vada too.

So may be, at some point of time, Mittu too might dance with some grace!


Ingredients for Tomato Chutney:

  • Onion                     :             1 big, chopped roughly
  • Tomatoes             :             2 medium, chopped
  • Red Chilies           :             3-4, per taste
  • Roasted Gram    :             1-2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Oil


  1. In a microwave proof bowl, add the chopped onions and a teaspoon of oil, mix so that the oil coats the onion. Cook on high (do not close with a lid) for two minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the chilies next. Microwave for another 3-4 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked.
  3. Wait for it to cool down and then blend in a mixie with roasted gram and salt. I usually add a tbsp of roasted gram and then do a taste check before adding more.
  4. Serve with dosa or idli. If preferred, season with mustard and urad dal seeds.

Coconut Chutney:

  • Grind together 1 cup coconut, a handful of roasted gram (2-3 tbsp pottu kadalai), 2-3 green chillies, 1/2 tsp tamarind paste (or a small ball of tamarind), salt as required. Add ons can be : 1/4 cup coriander leaves, 1/4 cup mint leaves, a small piece of ginger, 1/2 cup of sauteed onion and tomato mix etc
  • If desired, we can season this with mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal.

Linked to:

Soft Sannas

Everyone has fond memories of  the first stages of romance.

I still clearly remember the first days of travel in the bike with my hubby. Wind sweeping the hair, cool hubby riding the bike…Romantic, really romantic – until I asked him to move a little bit to the front. (Not enough space in the back for me, you see).

“I  can’t,” he told me. “I am already sitting on the petrol tank. I can only sit on top of the handle now, which I won’t. ”


I knew the romance bubble had burst  when I was presented with a gym membership the same evening. What followed was 2 days of getting up at 5AM, going to the gym, trying to stay awake and doing the aerobic steps at the same time.

By the third day, I stopped getting up in the mornings and learnt to adjust in the limited space in the backseat of the bike. End of the episode, for me at least.

Hubby still sits on the petrol tank while driving.

Its Radhika’s Blog Hopping Time again and this time I am paired with Rinku of Kitchen Treats. After going through her elaborate recipe list, I zeroed down on Sanna, as its something I haven’t tried before. I made the chutney from this post of hers.

Sanna is a variant of idli, popular in Mangalore and Goa. Yeast is used for fermentation here, making Sannas fluffy and soft.

We really liked the soft texture and a slightly sweet taste of Sanna . I made some in the idly mould, but loved the ones made in the katoris  better.


  • Idli Rice                                       :        1 1/2 cups
  • Raw Rice                                      :        1/2 cups
  • Urad Dal                                       :        1/4 cup
  • Yeast                                             :        1 tsp, heaped
  • Sugar (for yeast)                       :        1 tsp
  • Water (for yeast)                      :         3-4 tbsp
  • Salt                                                 :         1 tsp
  • Sugar                                             :         2 tsp or per taste


  1. Wash and soak both the rice together for 3 hours (minimum). Wash and soak the urad dal separately for 40 min.
  2. Grind the dal to a paste using very little water.
  3. Grind the rice together into a batter, again using very little water.
  4. Mix both and pour into a big vessel as the batter will increase a lot due to fermentation.
  5. Dissolve yeast and one tsp sugar into 3-4 tbsp of warm water. Keep aside for 10 minutes till the yeast starts frothing. If the yeast is not active, start fresh with another batch of yeast.
  6. Mix the yeast solution into the sanna batter, cover loosely and keep aside for 2 hours. If you are using the batter later, then refrigerate it. It is a good idea to keep the vessel on top of a big plate, so that even if the batter ferments and overflows, the plate can catch it.
  7. To make Sannas, grease small steel katoris with oil and pour a ladle of batter (without mixing) into them. Steam for about 10 minutes. Check with a skewer and take off the stove, when it is done.
  8. Place the katoris face down in a plate and once cool, run a knife around it and take it out.
  9. Serve with a nice chutney.

Ingredients: Red Onion Chutney

  • Pearl onions             :          2 cups,peeled
  • Red Chillies              :           3-4, per taste
  • Tamarind                  :           a small piece
  • Oil
  • Salt


  1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, add the onions and chilies. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Take off the heat, cool and grind to a fine paste with tamarind and salt.
  3. I used a combination of pearl onions and ordinary onions.

Linked to:

Vegetable Idli

Ahhh…back after the vacation! Much as I would like to tell you that I am feeling fresh, relaxed and at the top of the world, the fact is I am not. In fact, we are battling cold, cough, head aches, and mild fever.All thanks to the change in weather in Chennai.

When I left home 10 days back, I could see the ground where my house standing and I could see the surrounding lanes and side roads. Now, with the rains, its almost like our house is standing on a lake – just fasten a sail and the house is good to go!

Its not that bad. There is still a small portion of road, right in front of our house, which is visible and standing like an island. Its a good sign, a reminder that under all this water, lies a road which will come out when the sun starts shining again.

I really shouldn’t be cribbing, its actually getting better over the years. At the time of construction of our house, we were almost swimming from the main road to reach our place, the water was almost waist deep. Till 2-3 years back, it was knee deep and now for the past couple of years its only ankle deep water. I don’t know whether I should be happy that there is not much water in the road or worry that the yearly rains are becoming less!

Good part of the rains in Chennai is the Power bill. You truly don’t need the air conditioner now and hey, if it rains really bad, the EB office helps you further by switching off the Power. More savings in the bill!

But the most important question for us, is this : to buy a car or to buy a boat?

Its Blog Hopping Time again and this week I am hopping into Prabha’s space. I was spoiled for choice at her blog and finally settled down for Idlis (favorite here) with vegetables in it (better!).

This was a very yummy dish, kind of like stuffed idli. The only change I made to the recipe was to use Pav Bhaji masala instead of red chilli powder. This was so flavorsome that we had it as such, with no chutney or sambar to go with it (rare, very rare with my ‘chutney insistent’ husband). I made some more of this vegetable mix this morning and mixed it with rice and packed it as lunch for my son.

Check out here for the original recipe.


  • Idli Batter                       :            4-5 ladle full, for making 4 idlis
  • Onion                                :            1 small (or 3-4 pearl onions)
  • Carrot                               :            1 small
  • Beans                                :            3-4
  • Peas                                   :            a handful, cooked
  • Coriander Leaves        :            2 tbsp
  • Pav Bhaji Masala          :            1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds               :            1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves                   :            a few, chopped fine
  • Ghee/Oil                          :            1 tsp
  • Salt


  1. Chop the onion, carrot and beans into fine pieces, roughly of the same size.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of ghee or oil in a pan. When its hot add the chopped curry leaves and mustard seeds.
  3. When it splutters, add the chopped vegetables. Saute for a few minutes and then cover and cook for 3-4 minutes till the vegetables are done. Stir once or twice in between.
  4. Add the cooked peas, coriander leaves, salt and Pav Bhaji masala. Cook for 2 more minutes and take off the heat.
  5. You can either add this vegetable mix to the idli batter and make idlis, or you can add a bit of batter in the mold, spoon the filling a bit and then cover the topping with some more batter.
  6. Steam the idlis as usual (about 7-8 minutes) in an idli maker. Makes 4-5 idlis.

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