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Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal Temple Idli Prasadam – Unique Food Offering Naivedyam

The Varadaraja Perumal temple at Kanchipuram is famous for a unique food offering or naivedyam – the idli prasadam. The idli prasadam is not the circular idli made at homes. At Varadaraja Perumal temple the idli is cylindrical and is nearly 12 to 18 inches long and is popularly known as Kanchipuram idli or Kovil idli.

The idli batter is made using rice, split black gram with skin and fenugreek seeds or vendhayam. These are soaked for four hours and then coarsely ground into a batter. Dried ginger powder, perungayam or asafetida, slightly sour curd, salt and ghee are added to the batter and is allowed to ferment overnight. The batter is poured into dried mantharai leaves which are placed inside cylindrical cane or bamboo moulds. The cylindrical moulds are steamed for nearly three hours in vertical brass vessels.

Two cylindrical long idlis around 12 to 18 inches long and each weighing around 1.5 kgs are offered to Varadaraja Perumal in the main sanctum sanctorum. It is then distributed as prasadam through the temple prasadam counter.

During important rituals and annual festival days in the temple, hundreds of Kanchipuram idli is prepared and distributed among devotees.