Mar 012012

It’s very astonishing to know that some of the characteristics that my son has inherited from his dad and his family. Just like his dad, my son gets excited the moment he hears Idli. You can see a sparkle in my son’s eyes the moment he sees me soaking urad dal and rice for grinding idlies. He would mentally calculate how long it would take for me to finally make idlis and serve him in a plate with fork. Usually idli batter takes at least a day to ferment especially in winter here. In warmer conditions its much quicker. When I take the idli cooker and the idli plates out, he calls out, “Idi ya ma inniki”– meaning “are you making idli today?”. He rushes to wash his hands to help me grease the plates and watches in awe at how I’m pouring the batter in to each moulds. Once the idli plates descends in to the idli cooker, my son’s patience descends too and he starts asking questions, how much longer is it going to take for the “idi” to cook? Why does it need to take 5 to 7 minutes? Is it done yet? Will it be too hot to eat now?. When I finally serve his mini idlis (small idlis, and I have those mini idli plates just for him), with ghee (clarified butter) and sugar he settles down quietly with his idlis and devours each mouthful and complements me that I’m such a good cook. I love to see him enjoy and appreciate his food.

Idli—-the measurement given below is for wet grinder. If you are using mixer grinder then the measurement is 1 cup urad dal to 3 cups idli rice and no raw rice.


Urad Dal –1 cup +1 hand ful

Idli rice –3 cups

Raw rice –1 cup

Fenugreek seeds –1 Tbsp

Poha (Aval/beaten rice flakes) –1 big handful

Salt –to taste


1. Wash and soak Urad dal seperately in a vessel and idli rice, raw rice, fenugreek seeds, and poha together in another vessel for atleast 2 hours.

2. Grind Urad dal first in a wet grinder to a very smooth paste. This usually takes atleast 30mins. Add water as needed while grinding. Do not add lot of water. The paste should be thick.

3. Remove the urad dal paste in to a container and grind the rice mixture with little water. Again do not add lot of water, add as needed while grinding.

4. Remove the grounded rice and mix with urad dal paste. Add salt and mix well. Cover and let it ferment for atleast 24hrs depending upon the weather conditions. After 24hrs you can see that the batter has risen well and its well fermented.

5. When making idlis, grease idli plates with oil and pour 3/4 laddle in to each mould. Steam the idlis in the idli plate in a cooker for about 7 mins in medium high.

6. Let it cool for a min and serve hot with chutney and sambar.

Sambar: The recipe is very similar to the radish sambar I posted earlier. For making sambar for idli’s either you can add combination of different vegetables (like bell peppers, carrot, potato, eggplant) or simply make onion sambar. When making onion sambar, you need to fry the onions before adding tamarind pulp. The recipe for the radish sambar is here.

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Mix the fermented batter well before pouring in idli plates.

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Steam the idlis for 5 to 7 mins.

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Closer look at the idlis.

Serving Suggestions:

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Serve idlis with chutney and sambar.

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Enjoy mini idlis immersed in sambar.

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For kids, serve mini idlis with ghee and sprinkle sugar on top.

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  One Response to “Idli Sambar”

  1. Idli, Sambar with the smell of thaiyal elai.. wow

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