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In Kanchipuram? Do Not Miss Kanchipuram Idlis

Perhaps even before the kanjeevaram silk sarees, the whiff of piping hot Kanchipuram idlis compelled travelers and foodies to make regular pilgrimages to the temple town.

Kanchipuram is a bustling city, and touristy too, owing to the grand temple architecture and religious connotations to the place. Kanchipuram has around a thousand temples. Another reason why travelers throng the city is the kanjeevaram silk sarees that are woven in Kanchipuram. But not everyone talks about this temple town for its popular Kanchipuram idlis.

Like any touristy temple town, Kanchipuram is filled with a number of eateries; most that serve Tamilian cuisine. Here, a multi-cuisine restaurant, there a small stall serving piping hot idlis and podi, and the not-to-miss, Kanchipuram idlis. They are locally called koil idlis.

Those who have never seen or heard about koil or Kanchipuram idlis will be in for a surprise. One bite of the idlis will clear all your doubts about why it is so special. These idlis are different from the regular idlis in taste, flavour, look and texture too.

The Kanchipuram idli is made at the Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple as offering to the deities. It has been made in the temple for as long as anyone can remember. No one really knows the story behind its origin or when it was first made and by whom. However, some believe that the idlis are being offered to the deities from the Pallava times.

These idlis have pepper, cumin, coriander leaves, cashew nuts, curry leaves and ginger in it that gives it its special taste. These ingredients are added to the batter before steaming it in dried mandharai leaves. The mandharai leaves add flavour to the idlis.

To get a sense of how the idlis are so different than the regular varieties of idli, one must try to enter one of the kitchens. Traditionally, these idlis are steamed over a wood fire in a cylindrical container. The ones made at the temple are cylindrical in shape, about a foot long, and then cut into round discs. The different restaurants have adapted the cooking methods and tastes of this idli.

Over the years, a number of restaurants have tried the recipe and now serve the Kanchipuram idlis to their customers. However, most of the restaurants make it specific days of the week. A number of travels take away the idlis as a snack for the travel, kattu sadham that translates as packed food.

So now you have more than one or two reasons to visit Kanchipuram. Temples, sarees, beaches and idlis… there’s a lot to do in Kanchipuram.

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