Once, long ago when we had visited Kanchipuram, one of my grandfather's friends took us to the Kanchi Varadhar temple and insisted we were given the idli, which is the prasadam very unique to the temple. Those thick, big idlis were steamed in cups made of dried plantain leaves. You simply peeled the leaf off and ate the idli. The taste was so great, that I kept looking for the recipe. Even now my search for authentic Kanchipuram idli is on. However, in my cookbook, I have this very delectable recipe for kudalai idli and as it is steamed in leaf-rolled cups, I tried this. The taste is amazing, very filling because it is cooked thicker and though not spongy, they are soft enough.
I have saved the leaf for sake of the photograph. That shall be peeled off before serving. You can serve them with coconut and coriander chutney or plain.The following recipe makes 6 idlis which are 1' thichk and 31/2' in diameter.
1 cup (200 ml) Moong dhal
1 cup (200 ml) Urad dhal
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 green chillies chopped
1 tablespoon channa dhal ( clean and soak in some water)
2 teaspoons broken cashew nuts (optional)
1'' piece of ginger (chopped)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Oil/ghee for tempering
Some coconut pieces chopped in tiny strips, but not grated.
Chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves about 2 tablespoons
Plantain leaves are optional. You may grease any small stainless steel cups and put the batter in them for steaming. You can also steam them in normal idli moulds. You should grease the moulds with few drops of oil or ghee.
Wash and soak together the moong dhal and urad dhal for two hours.
Drain and grind to a batter as of idli batter.
Add salt and keep to ferment. If the batter does not ferment and get a bit sour, the idlis will not be good.So if the weather is not warm, grind with some sour curds while grinding and adjust the water accordingly.
Put a pan on fire with oil. Drop mustard seeds in and allow to crackle.
Coarsely pound cumin and pepper. Add this to the oil and toss for a minute. Add chopped ginger, green chillies and the soaked and drained channa dhal. If you are using cashew nuts, toss them in.
When well roasted, remove from fire and mix with the batter. Also add the coconut and fresh, chopped curry and coriander leaves.
Line small steel cups with cut plantain leaves. Pour the batter until the cups are half filled.
Steam for 12 minutes or little longer until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Gently unmould and peel the leaf off.
Alternately, if you were using directly in a cup or idli moulds, grease them thoroughly before adding the batter.
Serve with coconut- coriander chutney.
These idlis are being sent to WYF- Breakfast event being hosted by EC of Simple Indian Food
to Steamed Treats event being hosted by Shruthi of When I Play Chef.