Thursday, 30 December 2010
Despite being a south Indian, that too a ‘Tambram’, I was never a big fan of idlis. That was mainly because I find them just too bland and I love dishes full of flavour. Ofcourse, I have grown up and so has my liking to idlis and make it more exciting with sambar and variety of chutneys. There is one idli that has been an absolute all time favourite. It is Kanchipuram idli and I simply love the flavours in it. What a wonderful dish have our ancestors created! Unfortunately I have very often come across recipes that call it Kanchipuram idli but they are just nowhere near it. I remember being served an idli in this name in my canteen and it was basically normal idli with turmeric powder, curry leaves and mustard seeds in it. I went on to ask the staff in the canteen whether Kanchipuram actually knows that this is what is their idli. Many popular chefs unfortunately have specified such recipes which are far from the authentic dish. My grandmother is from Kanchipuram and she is best at making these idlis. For those of you who do not know, Kanchipuram is a beautiful town which is popular for its temples and the silk sarees. So here is the traditional recipe
1/3 cup raw rice
1/3 cup par boiled rice (idli rice)
1/3 cup urd dal
1 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 inch piece dried ginger (called chukku in tamil)
1-2 sprigs curry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon gingely oil or groundnut/sunflower oil
Salt to taste
Wash and soak the two rice and urd dal together overnight. Grind them to a consistency where they are neither fine nor very coarse (this idli batter should be slightly coarse but you may want to decide how coarse you will like), add salt and allow to ferment overnight or a day
Make a coarse powder of the peppercorns, cumin seeds and dried ginger. I usually use my mortar and pestle as ‘mixie’ may make it too fine. Add this to the batter and add oil and mix
Pour a ladleful in each idli mould and steam for 10-15 minutes. insert a tooth pick or fork and if it comes out almost clean, idli is done.
Serve hot with gun powder (idli milagai podi)
This idli tends to become a bit dry when kept for a day. What mom and grandmom usually do is if there is any leftover (which is seldom), they would crumble it, mix it with gun powder and oil. They will soak up the oil and flavours from the gun powder only to get so much more yummy!