On an idli quest

Who hasn’t indulged in the famous koil idli? AKILA KANNADASAN visits Kanchipuram to find out what makes this spongy delicacy popular

“Coming,” echoes a voice from deep within the kitchen of the Varadharaja Perumal temple in Kanchipuram. Out-of-bounds to most except a select few priests, it’s a mysterious chamber of stone at the far end of the temple. It’s here that the famous idli is made every morning as an offering to the deities. P. Krishnan, who is in charge of the kitchen, steps outside to show us the bambookudalai, cylinders into which the batter is poured. Thousands of people have eaten the idlis steamed in these containers. It is believed that the idlis are a favourite of the gods. But what makes this dish so special?

Seated in a stone-pillared porch at the temple, G. Bashyam and his colleagues at the prasadam stall, chat over steel containers of golden-brown puliotharai and murukku to be sold to visitors. A cylindrical structure wrapped in dried leaves rests beside a tub of gooey sweet pongal. This is the star attraction — the idli. This dish has diehard fans who place orders over telephone. “It’s like a cake that can be cut into thin slices,” explains Bashyam.................Read more


Source: The Hindu

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