Kanjivaram Idli – Canadian Thanksgiving

Kanjivaram Idli – Canadian Thanksgiving

I’d like to celebrate Canadian thanksgiving with Kanjivaram Idli. Fluffy, studded with jeweled spices that add vibrant color to your thanksgiving table, try my take on Kanjivaram Idli. As always I’ve deviated from the norm by reducing gluten content to offer you yet another delectable yet healthy meal.

Before I share my recipe, I want to express my thanks to everyone in Canada who has made my stay here so pleasant. Thank you to my friends. Thank you Canada for the opportunity for me to synthesize and utilize my over 30 years of cooking by using Canadian ingredients. Thank you to beautiful nature. Within a 2 km radius, I can head to a forest and walk by a gushing river (the credit river) that dates back 415 million years. I live in a house where every window overlooks a tree and sunlight pours into my home flooding it with light.  I sleep well wrapped in the nurturing peaceful watch of the trees that stand tall in my yard. I coach others in technology, yoga and cooking. It’s my dream calling come true in this beautiful & majestic land that I call home now. It’s allowed me to receive love and respect without judgment from all of you for my ancient traditions, recipes & stories that I offer to you all.

A big Sunday outing for us in Delhi was a trip to Dasaprakash hotel. Going out to eat for my family was a festive event. We got dressed up in our Sunday finest. Dad would drive us all to this beautiful restaurant. Dazzled by the splendor of the fine dining restaurant and the waiters dressed in impeccable white guiding us to our table, I drank in the carved ceiling. As my siblings & I reached out for the menu, I knew exactly what I wanted. Actually so did they, but it felt rather important opening a large menu card & peering over it, pretending to make a very important decision. It made us feel all grown up.

We were rather predictable. My siblings and dad would order masala dosa and my mom the thali. That will be to start off said my dad. I was pretty impressed with how he not only communicated with the server, but also how he deftly managed to eat a dosa with a knife and fork. To this day, I have yet to meet another soul who can slice and dice a dosa with such elegance without splatters all over themselves. Dad attributed it to his military upbringing where junior officers were taught a whole slew of life skills, chief among them the ability to converse with all ranks of people, treat women and children with respect and most valued in my opinion, the ability to eat a dosa with cutlery.

My choice was the jeweled Kanjivaram Idli. Kanjivaram is a southern city well known for its silk weavers. Brides make a trip to this town just to design and get woven the sari of their dreams for their wedding.

Sadly dasaprakash closed down. As we celebrate thanksgiving with its abundance of produce and harvest, I invite you to try my Kanjivaram Idli recipe that exudes abundance. You will also see how easy it is to prepare following my instructions and you can throw away that ready to make Idli packet. Don’t be surprised If you reach to this recipe again an again for a Sunday meal or thanksgiving vegan dinner.

You need

½ cup brown rice flour (or white rice flour)
¼ cup wheatlets
¾ cup vegan yogurt (any will do)
¾ cup water
2 red chilies (reduce to 1 if prefer mild)
½ tsp baking soda
9 peppercorns (reduce to taste)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp carrots grated
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp green peas
1 tsp channa dal
4 curry leaves
Pinch hing
2 tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
salt to taste

Heat pan.

add oil and then spices in this order: mustard seeds, channa dal, hing, curry leaves, cashews. When mustard seeds splutter, add in the remaining spices. Saute a couple of times and then toss in the rice flour and wheatlets. Saute till the flour is golden brown. Add in the grated carrots and peas. Set aside to cool. add in the baking soda. Mix in the yogurt and water & add salt. Steam in greased idli plate till done. serve with green chutney.

Disclaimer : since I went vegan about 5 years ago, i stopped buying silks and the one in my pix from my wedding was part of my trousseau over 20 years ago!

On this Thanksgiving Day, thank you again for acknowledging my cooking art, storytelling, wellness tips and life lessons shared. Hope you find them useful. What are you grateful for today? I’d love to hear. Post in the comments below.

Pix credit : Punita Sastry


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