Kanchipuram Idli Recipe | Kovil Idli (served in temples) | Foodomania

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Kanchipuram Idli

May 19, 2020         2 comments.
Spiced and textured Kanchipuram Idli is a great way to bring in some variety to your South-Indian breakfasts!
Kanchipuran Idli Recipe | How to make kanchipuram kovil idli by Kavitha Ramaswamy

Tempered with black peppercorns, cashews, and coconut, Kanchipuram Idli is a textured variant of the humble idli. The idli derives its name from the famous temple-town of South-India – Kanjeevaram or Kanchipuram. Served in Sri Varadarajaperumal Temple, the idli is also known as kovil or Koil idli.

Despite eating hundreds of idlis over the years, my heart always sings when I come across a well-made idli. It’s just the Tamilian DNA, I suppose. But a good idli (steamed rice-lentil cake) is just the perfect way to start your day!

Kanchipuran Idli Recipe | How to make kanchipuram kovil idli by Kavitha Ramaswamy

What is special about this idli is that it is spiced, unlike the regular idli. The texture of this idli is also slightly denser and coarser than your regular fluffy idli. You will need to make a separate batter to make the Kanchipuram Idli. While it is still made up of rice and urad dal (split black gram), the proportions are different, and that is what makes the texture of this dish different than the regular idli. This batter too needs to ferment at room temperature. This allows the idli to turn soft when it is being cooked.

If I had to choose, I’d choose the Kanchipuram Idli over the regular one. Since it is already spiced, it doesn’t necessarily need a condiment. However, you can serve it with chutney, sambar, molagai podi, orwhatever you desire!

Here is a video tutorial to take you through the step-by-step process of making the Kanchipiram Idli at home –

Kanchipuran Idli Recipe | How to make kanchipuram kovil idli by Kavitha Ramaswamy

Kanchipuram Idli

  • Author: Kavitha Ramaswamy
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Idlis 1x


Spiced and textured Kanchipuram Idli is a great way to bring in some variety to your South-Indian breakfasts!



For the Batter

  • 1 cup Parboiled Rice (idli rice)
  • 1 cup Raw White Rice (ponni rice)
  • 1 cup Split Black Gram (urad dal)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt (adjust to taste)
  • Water, as required

For tempering the Batter

  • 1 Tablespoon Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds (rai / kadugu)
  • 2 teaspoons broken Black Peppercorns (काली मिर्च  / milagu)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Ginger Powder (सोंठ / sukku)
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds (जीरा / jeera)
  • 1/4 cup broken Cashew Nuts (काजू / mundhiri paruppu)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asafetida Powder (हींग / hing / perungayam)
  • 2 Green Chili, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Curry Leaves (करी पत्ते / karuveppilai)
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Coconut

Ghee or Vegetable Oil for greasing the pan

To serve  (options ) –

Utensils used –

  • Round baking pan or tin
  • Steamer or pressure cooker (without the whistle)
  • Idli Pan or heat-proof bowls or heat-proof glasses (tumbler)


For the Batter Base

  1. Add both the rice to a mixing bowl. Wash well until water runs transparently. Cover rice with water, close with a lid and let it soak for around 6 hours or overnight
  2. Wash the urad dal well and soak it in water for 3 hours
  3. Discard water from both the dal and the rice
  4. Add washed urad dal to a grinder or a food processor (mixer). Grind until it is a coarse paste
  5. Add the rice on top of the urad dal paste, a little water and grind again to a slightly coarse batter
  6. Pour batter in a clean mixing bowl
  7. Add the salt and mix well
  8. Let the batter ferment for around 8 hours (or until it doubles in volume)

For tempering the Batter

  1. Heat Ghee in a small pan
  2. Add the mustard seeds, let them splutter
  3. Add the black peppercorn, dry ginger powder, cumin seeds, cashews, asafetida powder, green chili. Fry for 1-2 minutes until cashews turn golden
  4. Add curry leaves and fry for 10 seconds
  5. Pour the tempering onto the batter. Add the coconut (optional)
  6. Mix well, adjust seasoning if required

Steaming the Kanchipuram Idli

  1. Grease a round pan or idli plate or heat-proof bowl/glass/tumbler with ghee or vegetable oil
  2. Fill the pans half full with the idli batter
  3. Bring some water to a boil in a steamer or cooker
  4. Place the pan with the batter carefully onto the steamer or cooker
  5. Close with the lid
  6. Cook for around 20 minutes on medium heat or until the idli is well cooked
  7. To check, insert a knife or toothpick into the center of the idlis. If it comes out clean without leaving any wet batter, it is done!
  8. Let the idlis rest at room temperature for around 10 minutes
  9. Using a knife, loosen up the edges of the pan
  10. Carefully remove the idli from the pan 
  11. Serve as is or with your favorite condiment
  12. If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat or steam before eating


  1. If you have a traditional Indian grinder, you can make the batter in that. If you don’t have a large enough food processor, then you can make the batters in batches and mix together
  2. Depending on how hot (or not) your environment is, it may take the batter anywhere between 4-8 hours to ferment
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Steaming
  • Cuisine: Tamilian

Keywords: kanchipuram idli, kanchipuram idli recipe, how to make kovil idli

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Until next time,


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