Kanchipuram idli recipe | kovil idli recipe | kanchi idli recipe

kancheepuram idlis

Kanchipuram Idlis...another great way of having the normal idlis but with a spicy flavor added to the batter to make it even more delicious than the regular idlis. Normal white soft idlis are bland and need some accompaniments to go with it, where as Kanchipuram idlis make dense full heavy idli flavored liberally with cumin, pepper, ginger and dry ginger powder. Some green chilies are also added and some  toasted cashew nuts for a crunch.

These idlis have acquired the name  obviously from the temple town of Kanchipuram where it is offered as a prasad / naivediyam to the Lord.

Every once in a while we make this to have a different kind of breakfast or tiffin food.

The batter is thicker and more coarser than the regular idli batter , also steamed in plates, steel cups or the steel pressure cooker separator to make one big cake like  and the required shapes are cut out to serve as individual  portions.

While these idlis are normally made with rice and udad dal, I used millets to make it healthier . This is a great way to avoid white grain and also make a healthy steamed breakfast.

Am sharing recipe for both methods so follow   which ever suits you . In case  millets are not readily available in your area, you can switch to the usual rice udad dal recipe.

But do try the millets based and you will not see any difference in the taste.


 To make Millet based Kanchipuram idlis take 2 cups of kodo millets ( kodra, /also known as Varagu arisi in Tamil ) and 1 cup of udad dal. The rest of recipe remains the same. You can also try with other millet varieties.
Regular Rice and udad dal combination//
1 cup par boiled rice
1 cup raw rice
1 cup udad dal
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
salt to taste
1 tbsp ghee or sesame oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp ginger powder ( sukku powder/ dry ginger powder)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger.
 1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
 1 tbsp chana dal ( soaked separately and not added to grind with batter )
1 tsp split udad dal
1 tbsp cashew nuts split
3/4 cup sour curds.


Soak the dal and rice /millets separately just as we do for idli/dosa batter. Let it remain soaked for 4 hours.
Then seperately grind the udad dal and fenugreek seeds to a thick foamy batter. Grind rice/millets separately to a coarse batter. Mix both batters well by not adding too much water as we need a thick coarse grainy batter, also we will add the sour curds later at the time of making the idlis. Leave to ferment overnight or for 8 hours.
After fermentation, add the thick sour curds, add a the tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal, split udad dal,, cashew nuts toasted golden and other spices to batter like cumin seeds, ginger powder, fresh grated ginger, green chillies, pepper cracked. Add salt and mix well and gently.
Steam in greased idli plates, dhokla plates, or even in idli moulds, steel cups or steel tumblers.
Steam for at least 15 minutes as it takes a while for the thick batter to cook.
Notes   :
Adding sour curds is optional as the batter will ferment naturally , but adding it will give a sour taste too like khatta dhoklas..so it is your choice.

All the pics are that of millet based Kanchipuram idlis.


  1. Anonymous says

    Radha, I've tried making millet idlis many times, but even though my batter ferments and doubles in size it doesn't have the sour taste. It tastes bitter. I have tried putting very little fenugreek seeds and even omitting it. Tried both hulled millet and Jodi millets. I am really frustrated. I have tried fermenting in the oven with the lights on as well as fermenting in room temp (25-30 degrees centigrade.) I have never over fermented for the batter to turn bitter. Please advise as I'm really frustrated. I live in Canada.

    • says

      Does this happen with idlis made the regular way with rice and udad dal ? Maybe millet variety or udad dal … When batter is fermented just right it shouldn't taste bitter, then either millet type or udad dal may be the proble, try changing millet varieties to identify the problem … Sincerely regret not being able to help

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