Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sandavai / Idiyappam with Tomato Kurma

Ooooh! Sandavai! I remember the fresh 'Eat-me-right-now' smell that comes when my mother steams the Idlis for making this kind of Idiyappam. I have no clue why, we, people from Kongu Naadu area of Tamilnadu, call it Sandavai, instead of the well known name, Idiyappam. This is not an everyday dish - It takes some time to prepare it and so it is usually a delicacy or a special-occasion dish. Many people make Idiyappams using different recipes, but you goto a house in Kongunaadu for Idiyappam, you'll know, the smell is totally different, because of the coconut and cardamom used while grinding the batter and while steaming it. Remember the 'Eat-me-right-now' smell?
In our community, this is one dish, which HAS TO BE SERVED as the first meal, to the new bridegroom ('maapillai' in Tamil), when he goes to visit his in-laws, for the first time, after the wedding. It usually is a pain (you'll know why, soon) to make this special dish for a lot of people, but since it's just the two of us and since we both, are crazy Sandavai fans, we make it often. These days, I've been posting some 'Kongu cuisine' recipes, because I've been missing home crazily. Now, I guess, I'll just make this into a series of Kongu cuisine. I'm giving the recipe for 2. This recipe doubles, triples very well. :)

Parboiled Rice - 2 cups (I use Parboiled Ponni rice)
Freshly grated Coconut - 1/2 to 1 cup (dried/dessicated just won't do! Sorry!)
Cardamom pods - 5 (just the seeds, not the skin)
Salt - 1/2 tbsp
Wash and soak the rice for 3-4 hrs. While grating coconut, be careful not to use the red colored skin near the shell. This will change the color of the Idiyappam. (See mine! The color has changed, I forgot to scrape of the red colored skin!). Grind coconut and cardamom seeds in a blender/mixie to a fine paste. (This is important, a modern Idli grinder like Ultra/Sowbhagya will not grind cardamom seeds and coconut fine enough to pass through tiny holes of the Sandavai press). Add the coconut paste to the rice and grind them together in a Idli grinder (Look at Indira's Idli Grinder) to a thick batter. The consistency should be thicker than Idli batter. It tastes GREAT if the Sandavai is made right away, as soon as the batter is prepared, but for time saving purpose, I prepare the batter the previous night and put it right away in the refrigerator before it has the slightest chance to ferment.
Grease the idli plates or line with a wet cloth, and pour batter on the idli plates. If the batter is thin like Idli batter, it will overflow. So, remember! Thick batter it should be. Steam the idlis for about 9-10 mins (I always use a timer). Grease the inner sides of the Idiyappam press / Sandavai nazhi (Look at Shammi's Sandavai nazhi and her sevai) and put 2-3 idlis in it. Keep cold water in a bowl, nearby, to dip your hands into, often. The idlis will be very hot and it has to be pressed hot. If it cools down, it is really hard to press the Sandavai. When you press, you'll see yummy strings of rice noodles coming from the bottom of the press.
This is traditionally eaten with coconut milk or sugar+ghee+banana (I hate this! but, most of my relatives go crazy for this combo). In the above picture, I served it with Tomato Kurma. But, the best combo for this type of Sandavai/Idiyappam is Potato Kurma or Chicken Curry or Prawns curry. The Potato Kurma is made exactly like the Tomato Kurma, substituting tomatoes for boiled and slightly-mashed-into-small-pieces of potatoes. It goes wonderful with this Idiyappam or dosas.
Remember? I said, it's painful to make this for a lot of people - That's people, it's so yummy that people just can't stop eating. And it's very labor intensive because you have to manually press the Idiyappam for all those people. But well, the taste compensates for everything! :)


Kitchenmate said...

This Idiyappam looks like home made, while the other looks like frozen one??

Vineela said...

Looks yummy!
I dont know how to do also.
Now ,i will try it.

Ashwini said...

what a gorgrous photo! hey i tried leaving a comment on the roasted fish but couldnt. looked yummy. and glad to see you are feeling better

Kay said...

Karthi, you guessed it right! :)

Thanks Vineela, I'll be posting recipes for Idiyappam types and also the kurma soooooon.

Thanks Ashwini, I'm feeling much better now. Guess feeling low and up are just phases in pregnancy.

Sarah said...

Hi there
Do you by any chance know how to make coconut dosai.. i ate it in a Gauder home and have been looking for it ever since

RP said...

Looks yummy Kay. I love idiyappam too, but so lazy to make it. Sometimes I use the idiappam flour packs available at the Indian stores.

BDSN said...

HI Kay...
Wow!!! U r so right about the Ultra grinder..It doesnt grind anything other than rice or dhal..I hate it sometimes....I made idiyappam few days back with the frozen ones..... we do a dhal/tamarind/sweet coconut milk...version...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay..u had commented on my blog about sandavi a while ago and I was confused then. This way of making idiyappam is new to me. In Kerala, you make a dough, press it out and steam it. This was interesting!

reshma said...

Kay, as Gini said in Kerala we simply make a dough out of boiling water and rice powder. Your Idiyappams however looks far finer , and am sure sibnce theyr are already steamed they must be really soft too. and that touch of cardamom and coconut ....very impressive!

Fiber said...

Sounds fantastic!

Anonymous said...

hi kay
your idiappam looks tempting but more than the idiappam its the 'kozhi rasam & varuval' which is pulling me like a magnet to your site just to read ,re-read & drool looking at THAT photo!as for the kurma recipe , i also prepare it the same way like yours, only thing is i dont use garlic &instead of milk i use coconut milk.

Kitchenmate said...

Kay: both idiyappam recipes looks yummy... i am going to prepare your home version idiyappam sometime, since i never thought we would use coconut & cardamom... that is what food blogs are about...learning!!

Kay said...

Dear IIC, There are 2 types of coconut dosas, one which has coconut scrappings on top, like oothapam like spread... sometiems with sugar and coconut.. I think you are talking about 'Neer dosa' which is pretty popular in Karnataka cuisine. It is made of rice and coconut batter and the dosa is made without fermenting, and these dosas are had hot-hot (piping hot) with coconut chutney! I do have the recipe for this one from a friend. Let me know if you want that one, I'll make a post about it, when I resume blogging.

Thanks RP, I used to think it takes a lot of time to make it too.. but these days, I soak 2 cups of rice separately and grind the batter with coconut and cardamom after I grind for idli batter and put this in the fridge right away. And use it the next day to make idiyappam. Saves plenty of time.

Yep, BDSN.. The modern grinders are sometimes finicky, but well, they are so eays to clean and handle, than the traditional grinders!

Thanks Gini and Reshma, I wrote about the other idiyappam method of - flour->dough->noodles in my previous post... I love keralite method too.. both of these idiyappams are yummy and are so different in taste.

Thanks fiber.

Thanks Paati! Did you try the Kozhi rasam&varuval? :)

Thanks Karthi! Do try, it's so so tasty!

Anonymous said...

hello kay,
i also from koingu nadu..erode. we also make sandhavai. i bought that sandhavai maram from india and make it once in every month.

Iddiappam and sandhavi differs in how we make it. sandhavai..the one we make it is done by grinding the rice and make idlis and press it to get rice noodles. where as iddappam is made by mixing the rice flour with hot water and press it in murruku pidi then steam it to get cooked. normally in kongu nadu the sandavai is prepared and not iddiappam. by the way where u from in kongunadu?

Melissa said...


That looks soooo good. :o)

indosungod said...

Sandavai perked me up, am also from kongunadu. Missing Sandavai...

Bindu Vijayakumar said...

Hi Kay,

Though from coimbatore, not got a chance to try sandavai, but my mom prepares idiyappam always and i love it with egg curry or potato stew.

This looks a different version, sure will try it soon..thnx


Anonymous said...


I am from Kovai, and am a fan of sandavi too...but do you get the press in US?

Kay said...

Sorry guys, During my pregnant (read absent minded) days, I had forgotten to reply to these messages you left on my blog.

Kavitha Senthil, you are absolutely right on. I have just decided that I won't reveal my native place on the internet. So, incase, you read this and are still interested, mail me.

Thanks liss76, IGS! Drop in any time, I'll make this for you. (Need one day notice though :p)

Thanks Bindu, try it! you'll be hooked. :)

Anisha, I left a message on your blog just now. I got it from India. My kind of press is hard to get these days, but you'll get the spiral one, where you twist (like shammi's) very easily.