Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Kanchipuram Idlis (Savory Rice Cakes)

 Published 2014-Aug-31   Updated 2016-May-13

- Submitted by Dahlia

Kanchipuram Idlis are spiced up rice cakes that are popular in the town of Kanchipuram. The main flavorings are cumin, pepper and ginger. Another interesting thing about these idlis is their shape. These idlis are traditionally made in Lotus Leaf Cups, also called the "Donnai". These leaves impart the classic flavor to the idli. These days Kanchipuram idlis are made in tumblers or a deep flat dish to differentiate it from regular idlis. It is then cut into pieces and served. There is another version of idlis called Khotto in Karnataka which used to be traditionally made in woven jackfruit leaves. These days people have started making khottos also in tumblers because of non access to jackfruit leaves.

Well, those who are not worried about all these fancy presentations, please make it in the regular idli mould. It will taste just as good. This recipe was shared by my neighbor few years back who was from Kancheepuram.

Kanchipuram idlis can be served with chutney or sambhar. My favorite combination is with idli podi. You can make it for breakfast or dinner. It can be made in no time if you have idli batter on hand. I have shared the recipe to make the Kachipuram idli batter below. However, you can also flavor your regular idli batter with the seasonings and enjoy Instant Kanchipuram Idlis any time.

Recipe For Kanchipuram Idli

Preparation time: 12 hours (including soaking and fermentation)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves : 6-8


  • Raw Rice - 1 cup
  • Idli Rice (or boiled rice) - 1 cup
  • Urad dal - 1 cup
  • Salt - as needed


  • Crushed black pepper - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Dry ginger powder - 1 tsp (or use fresh grated ginger)


  • Sesame oil - 1 tblsp
  • Urad dal (or channa dal) - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few (chopped)
  • Cashew nuts - 10 (broken)
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp


  1. Soak both the rice together in one bowl. In another bowl soak the washed urad dal. Let it soak for at least 2 hours.
  2. First grind the soaked ural dal with little water to get a very light and fluffy batter.
  3. Next grind the rice to a coarse paste. Mix both the batter together with required salt.
  4. Let it rest in a warm place and ferment. It may take anywhere between 6 hours to 10 hours depending on the warmth. When the batter is fermented it will considerably increase in volume and have a sour fermented aroma.
  5. With the batter ready, mix the ginger, pepper and cumin with the batter. You can go ahead and make idlis at this stage.
  6. To make it extra tasty, make a seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves, cashew nuts, urad dal and asafoetida. Add this to the batter and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter in greased idli molds or tumblers or a deep pan. Steam it for 15-20 minutes on high flame. Insert a toothpick or knife to check if the idli is cooked from the inside. When inserted, no batter should stick to it. 
  8. If the idlis are cooked fully, switch off. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before removing.
  9. Gently run a knife around the edges of the tumblers to release the idlis. Turn it upside down and tap it. The idlis should easily fall off. Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions

  • If you have made the kanchipuram idli in a big pan, cut the idli into small pieces.
  • Since this is made with raw rice, you have to eat the idlis hot. If not it will loose its softness.
  • Serve with any chutney, sambhar or idli podi.
  • Check out the recipe of a very similar dish called Rice Dhokla that is made in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Other Idli Recipes

Ragi Idli Ragi Idli/ Dosa Idli Idli Cornmeal Idli Cornmeal Idli/ Dosa Banana Idli Banana Idli
See more ⟩⟩

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Comments (2)

Person   ()
Love to Try this Idli Receipt. Might give it a go if I can get the Premixed Idli in a packet
Person   ()
Do try it if you get a chance.

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 Published by on and last updated on 2016-05-13.