Monday 1 December 2014

Vivika | Sweet Raw Rice Idlis | Pacharisi Idli | South Indian Christmas Recipes | Steamed Rice Flour Cake

Vivikas always make me nostalgic!! years ago when I was a kid grandma used to prepare these on special and festive days like Christmas, New year and Easter mornings for breakfast along with soft fluffy idlis, Naatukozhi curry or mutton curry. This was the breakfast menu at home for each and every Christmas, New year and Easter and it was a kind of tradition until grandma passed away.  The platter would be such a teasing one and I would wait to finish the idlis just to taste my favorite granma's signature dish Vivikas. These are sweet snack kind idlis or can also be called the South Indian style cake.  Tastes divine with a sweet fragrance, has a very soft, spongy, airy and fluffy texture and every bite of it has delightful tit bits of cashews and raisins. I really miss those days and wish I could get to see grandma again, nothing like getting pampered by someone who loves you to bits. She was my bestie back at home and a blessing. Just like how the Bible quotes "Old age has its own special beauty and glory" Pro.16:31 and yes she possessed her own!! 

We used to chat about everything with no age bar.  During the Christmas season, I would sit beside her making the Christmas crib using thermocol sheets and straw and she would sit or lay on the couch admiring the work be it good or bad and never forgets to appreciate. She was one good soul who'd appreciate me for anything I do. How I wish she knew that I could cook well too and if she had known she would have been one happy grandma. But atleast she knew that I I'm capable of making good crispy dosas as I used to make dosas for her dinner. Sigh!!!! Wish she was here to taste much more of my cooking and to pamper my junior too.  

Ramblings and sighs apart, this one recipe was something that mom hadn't learnt from grandma and I was so disappointed about the fact that we didn't hold on to one of Grandma's best recipe. I missed Vivikas so badly and I was hunting for the recipe for long; a few I tasted weren't even close to what grandma used to make. Luckily we have a few relatives from granny's side who still make these and yes they were able to help. I collected hints and tips from them and tried my hands on vivika.  And guess what I got the perfect vivikas on my first attempt; the happy part was it tastes the same and I was able to recollect the golden days after indulging in a single bite and everyone in the family specially mom loved it, she exclaimed how close it was to grandma's recipe. May be it was in blood that I was able to get it right ;) And so here's the recipe that worked pakka for me. In grandma's version I remember how she used to add toddy (kallu i.e fermented palm tree sap) or the fresh sap (padhaneer) from palm trees to give it an additional flavor and also for fermentation. I have not experimented with them and if some day I give a try I promise to update the recipe with those details. 


Makes 12 vivikas
Preparation Time – 45 minutes (plus overnight soaking)
Cooking Time – 10 to 20 minutes (depends on size of idlis)
  1. Raw rice (Pacharisi) - 300 grams
  2. Sugar - 100 grams 
  3. Cashews - 25 (increase or decrease acc to your wish)
  4. Raisins -10 to 15
  5. Cardamom pods - 7 (crushed well)
  6. Small banana - 1 (We usually use kasali kind, as it has a nice flavor and aroma) 
  7. Baking soda - ½ teaspoon
  8. Salt - A pinch


  • Wash raw rice well in water. Then soak the washed rice in water for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Drain all the water and spread the soaked rice on a towel or white cotton cloth and let it dry under shade until the rice grains are slightly wet. You should not see any water on the grains it should seem dry but not completely dry. It might take 30 minutes.
  • Now grind it into fine powder. Sieve it and collect the fine rice flour and set aside. Now after sieving you will get some rava like coarse grains leftout. Collect this also and set aside.
  • Measure and take 200 grams of fine rice flour and 50 grams of the rava to make the vivikas. Always measure rice flour:rice rava in the ratio 4:1.
  • Take the rice rava in a pot and pour 300 ml of water into it. Stir well and place on flame. Cook on a low flame until the rava gets cooked and it seems like a porridge (kanji) this will take upto 15 minutes depending on the size of rava. After the rava gets cooked well remove from flame and set aside until it turns warm.
  • Now when the porridge gets warm add the rice flour little by little and mix well using your hands. Add a little water if it is too thick, but see that you do not make it very watery. Cover the pot and Leave it undisturbed overnight.
  • The next morning add a mashed banana to the batter and mix well. Then add crushed cardamom pods, baking soda, salt, sugar and mix well. If the mixture becomes very watery add some rice flour and adjust the consistency. Finally add some cashews and raisins and give a mix. You can also add some green gram dal (paasiparuppu) and a tablespoon of grated coconut if you wish. The batter should be a little thicker than aappam batter.
  • Now steam in idli pots for 10 to 15 minutes and check if the idlis are ready after 10 minutes. Remove from flame and serve! 
How To Steam The Vivikas Using Idli Pot
  • If you have a pot like mine then follow the instructions. (Just grease moulds with little butter before pouring the batter, If you are using moulds that doesn't need a cloth)
  • Wet the cloth and place it over the idli moulds.  Pour the prepared batter into the moulds carefully. My idli pan has moulds that can hold nearly 2 ladleful of batter. Customize accordingly.Meanwhile place the idli pot on a flame pour water into it. Then cover the pot with its lid and wait until water boils and there's steam. 
  • Then open the pot and place the pans into the hot pot carefully. Close again with the lid and cook on medium flame for 15 minutes or until your idlis get cooked well. (When you insert a wet knife into the center of the idlis it should come out clean, if it has batter sticking to it then steam for a few more minutes)

  • Switch off the flame; open the pot and take the moulds out. Gently invert it over a big plate and the idlis will fall off along with the cloth stuck to it. Now wet the cloth with a little water and carefully peel it off from the idlis. Be cautious as the vivikas will be very hot. (If using the idli pan without cloth dip a spoon into water and gently slide the wet spoon around the vivikas to remove it from the pan)

TIP 1: Do not make the batter too runny, as I have already mentioned in the preparation part, make it thicker than appam batter. If in case the batter turns runny, which usually happens after adding sugar, add some rice flour or idiyappam fllour to get the right consistency. 

TIP 2: If you want your cashews to look brownish then simply saute them for a minute in a little ghee and add it to the batter. Or you can dry roast cashews also. 

TIP 3: You can refrigerate the idlis and keep them for a week. Just before serving steam them for a few minutes until they soften well. If you add grated coconut it will not keep weel for more than a day. 

TIP 4: Always make sure not to over mix after adding raisins as it will tear off and get mixed with the batter, that will not make any difference in taste or tecture but you will be able to see small strings like pieces all over the idli just like in my pictures. Just give a gentle mix with a ladle after adding the raisins that will do. 

Just to show you the soft spongy texture!! :)
vivika christmas recipe

Click here for more Christmas recipes!!


  1. Though the process is lengthy...vivikas are to have it

  2. this is totally new and very interesting.. So soft too


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