The Kanchipuram Idli or the Kovil Idli is the traditional prasadam offered in the Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram. The idlis are cooked in bamboo casings lined with dried “mandharai” leaves. The mandharai leaves add to the flavour of the idlis. The batter for the idlis is mixed with spices and steamed. I adapted the recipe from here.
Wash and soak the raw rice, parboiled rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds in water over night. They all can be soaked together. Drain the water and grind the mixture to a slightly coarse paste. Run the batter in your fingers and you should feel the texture similar to that of very fine rava. Stop grinding when you reach that texture. The batter should not be very smooth. Add up to a cup of water for grinding and grind the batter in batches in the mixie. Do not add too much water while grinding.
Soak the avalakki / aval / poha for 10 minutes in half a cup of water. Grind it to a smooth paste and add it to the batter. This is not a very traditional ingredient but I like to add it as it makes for a very soft textured idli at the end. I really like adding a little bit of aval as it tremendously improves the texture of the idli.
Next comes the star ingredients. Its the spices that makes the kanchipuram style idli so tasty. The main spice in the idli is the dry ginger, cumin seeds and black pepper. The aroma of dry ginger in the batter is so heavenly!
Note: Dry ginger is called as Sukku in tamil.
Pulse the pepper and cumin in a mixie jar for a couple of times to slightly crush the spices. The cumin and pepper can also be crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Heat ghee in a pan and add in the ground cumin pepper mixture and curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are crisp, switch off the flame. Add in the dry ginger powder and asafoetida. Toss well and add it to the batter.
Add in the salt to the batter and mix everything well to combine. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to ferment in a draft free place for 8-10 hours.
The batter is now ready for steaming. You can steam the idlis in the regular idli plates but Kanchipuram idlis are steamed like cakes and cut afterwards. We will be using a 2 inch deep bowl to steam the idlis today. Grease the bowl with some oil and fill the bowl half way through.
Steam the bowl for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, insert a toothpick and the idlis are cooked if it comes clean. Cook for some more minutes if need be.
Remove from heat and let the bowl rest for five minutes. Insert a knife on the edges to release the sides of the idlies. Cut the idlies and serve.
Serve with chutney and sambar.
Kanchipuram Idli Recipe, Kovil Idli Recipe
Kanchipuram Idli Recipe, Tamilnadu Kovil Idli Recipe. Kanchipuram Kovil Idli Recipe. Kovil Idli / Idly preparation with step by step pictures.
- Total Time: 8 hours 20 mins
- Yield: 1 liter batter 1x
- Measurements used – 1 cup = 250 ml (approx)
For the batter
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 cup parboiled rice
- 1/2 cup raw rice
- 1/2 cup whole white urad dal
- 1/2 cup poha / aval
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ghee
- 2 sprigs curry leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida / hing
- 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Wash and soak the raw rice, parboiled rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds in water over night. Drain the water and grind the mixture to a slightly coarse paste. Add up to a cup of water for grinding and grind the batter in batches in the mixie. Do not add too much water while grinding.
- Soak the poha for 10 minutes in half a cup of water. Grind it to a smooth paste and add it to the batter.
- Heat ghee in a pan and add in the crushed cumin pepper mixture and curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are crisp, switch off the flame. Add in the dry ginger powder and asafoetida. Toss well and add it to the batter.
- Add in the salt to the batter and mix everything well to combine. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to ferment in a draft free place for 8-10 hours.
- Steam the idli for 20 minutes. Serve with chutney and sambar.
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Idli
- Cuisine: Tamilnadu
28 thoughts on “Kanchipuram Idli Recipe, Kovil Idli Recipe”
I tried and it came out real nice. Shared the idlis with my friend also. She loves it too. Thanks for the recipe.
I lov kanchipuram idlis. Thanks for the detailed recipe
Thank you so much.
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Mmmm…… delicious and scrumptious. Amazing taste and super soft Iddly . I had them with “Annapoorana Restaurant Sambar” listed on your blog. They tasted divine when eaten together. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
All your recipes are great and detailed. Keep up! Someone had asked substitute for sukku, ginger could also be used. My mom used to make the spice mixture with cumin, finely chopped ginger, pepper, curry leaves and broken cashews fried in ghee.
Can i make idlis using idli rava ?
I am your recipes lover.living in Toronto. I want to make Kanchipuram idlies. It is very difficult to make the dough fermented well during winter season. It takes at least two days for the dough to raise up. Can you give me any tips for quick fermentation, other than keeping the dough inside the non active oven or covering the container with woollen cap.
Amazing authentic recipes…awesome website….A big thumbs up!!
Thank you so much!
amazing website..great recipes…thanks a lot
I tried your recipe for kanchipuram idli and it turned out amazing. The recipe is a keeper..
Thank you very much. I will try it out this week end and let you know the outcome. I am sure it will be yummy.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I want to give it a try. I have a quick question . I have split urad dal. If I use this, do I need to keep same measurement or add more ? Also have you used thick or thin poha? Appreciate your response. Thanks 🙂
Sure. You can use split dal but i prefer whole. The measurements are the same and I have used thick poha.
Thank you so much for sharing these recipes.
Thank you Sarah!
I wish to try this recipe and was wondering if I could make it with Idli rice ? If not what exactly do you men by parboiled rice and for raw rice could I use Idli rice ? ( I livein Germany so I get Idli rice, basmati, red rice which has a short and plump grain ). Would be very glad to get your reply.
Ps: I swear by your recipes and a big fan of them. Your idli recipe has been a hit. I must have made it atleast 20 times and every time they have turned out excellent. Applause for Suguna ?
Thank you so much Pooja.
Idli rice is nothing but parboiled rice.
For Raw rice, use a rice variety like sona masuri.
Really glad you like the recipes.
Is there a substitute for dry ginger? What is it called in Tamil?
Its called as sukku in tamil. There is no substitute for sukku!
You can use ginger in the place of sukku
I tried this for dinner with coriander seed chutney.OMG its like heaven on earth.Sooooo good.Thanks a lot for this recipe.
Thank you so much. Really glad that you liked the recipe.