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Kanchipuram Idly Recipe

Anusha Praveen
Steamed rice and lentil cakes with pepper corns and cumin. Makes a great breakfast when served with coconut chutney and sambar. Can be made vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time 1 d
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 d 20 mins
Course Breakfast/ Brunch
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 18


  • Parboiled rice ¾ c
  • Raw rice ¾ c
  • Husked whole urad dal ¾ c
  • Cumin seeds 2 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns 2 teaspoon
  • Ginger grated 1.5 tablespoon
  • Curry leaves 2 sprigs
  • Cashews 3 tablespoon broken
  • Ghee refer notes 2 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal 2 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste


  • Soak rice and dal together for about 6 hours.
  • Grind to a coarse paste adding enough water.
  • Add salt, mix well and let it ferment till sour. This can take anywhere between 12 to 18 hours depending on the weather.
  • Once fermented, mix well again with a whisk.
  • Heat a pan with ghee.
  • Add cashews and fry to a golden brown.
  • Drain and add to the batter.
  • Now, in the same pan, using the same ghee, pop the mustard and follow with the remaining ingredients.
  • Wait till the peppercorns begin to burst.
  • At that stage, add this mixture to the batter and mix well.
  • Grease idli moulds with oil or ghee.
  • Pour a ladle of batter in each cavity and steam in an idli cooker for 12 to 15 mins or until done.


The batter for this recipe must be coarse like that of semolina.
The batter must not be too thick or too runny. When you pour a ladle of batter, it must be free flowing.
You can also add coconut bits to the batter.
Skip the ghee and use vegetable oil for a vegan version.
Its very important for the batter to become sour or else the idlies wont taste good.
Traditionally, these idlies are cooked in a deep plate like vessel or in small cups. The picture shows idlies that i made in a small deep plate. But i found that the batter cooks quickly in a traditional idli mould. So feel free to make your choice.
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