Monday, November 21, 2005

Idli Sambar (Steamed Rice Cakes with Red Lentil Curry)

This is a delicious low fat dish of South India and can be enjoyed both as a snack and meal. Basically idli is a breakfast dish and is served with curried lentil or chutney or mixed lentil powder (podi).It can also be eaten as a whole meal during lunch and dinner.I am posting the recipes for idli,sambar and coconut chutney.


2 cups idli rava (cream of rice)
1 cup urad dhal (Black gram,minappa gullu)
pinch of cooking soda (soda bi carbonate)

Soak urad daal for about 3 hrs. Soak the idli rava in water separately. After 3 hours drain the water from the idli rava.Grind the urad daal till soft and fluffy and mix with the idli rava. Mix well.Place the mixture in a warm place for 8-10 hours or overnight to let the idli mixture ferment. The fermentation is slow in winter and quick during summer. The key to soft and fluffy idlis is in the fermentation process.After 10 hours you will find that the mixture will rise to at least double the volume.After fermentation add salt and pinch of soda bi carbonate and mix well.The batter is now ready to make idlis.

Grease idli maker plates with some oil and fill with idli batter. Steam covered for about 10-12 minutes. Remove each idli carefully with a spatula.Your soft and fluffy idlis are ready to eat with some hot sambhar and chutney. Left over idlis can be stored in the refrigerator and when required microwave them for a few seconds.I make upma with left over idlis ...:):) tastes good and quick to make.

For those who don’t have a idli maker…you can still make idlis with a flat bottomed wide vessel. Add 2 cups of water to the vessel. Invert a round shaped cake tin on the base of vessel. Take another round shaped cake tin, lightly grease it and fill it with the idli batter leaving about one inch height for the batter to raise. Place this on top of the inverted cake tin. Steam for 8-10 minutes. Remove the tin and cut into square pieces and serve hot.


1 cup tur dal (red gram,kandi pappu)
½ cup of peeled and cubed bottle gourd
¼ cup of chopped carrots into 1” pieces
3 slit green chillis
¼ cup of radish sliced into rounds(optional)
5-6 baby onions whole
1 tomato cut into 4 pieces
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
10 curry leaves
1 tbsp thick tamarind paste
2 tsps sambar powder(MTR is a good brand)
4-5 cups water
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp asafoetida(hing,inguva)

Soak the daal for 15 minutes and drain.Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook it along with vegetables except baby onions and tomatoes for about 7- 8 minutes after the pressure is reached.
Once its cooked add 2 cups water,sambar powder,tamarind paste,baby onions,tomatoes,turmeric pwd,sugar,green chillis,curry leaves,coriander leaves and salt and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium heat.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Add 2 whole red chillis and 1/4 tsp asafoetida and remove from fire and add to the boiling sambar. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove from fire and serve hot with idlis.

Coconut Chutney

1 cup grated fresh coconut(or cut into 2” pieces)
¼ cup of dalia (chick pea powder,puttanala pappu)
3 green chillis

For Tempering/Tadka/Talimpu:

½ tsp mustard seeds
½ urad dal(minapapappu,black gram)
10 curry leaves (optional)
1 whole dry red chilli

Grind coconut,chick pea pwd and green chillis adding 1 cup of water to a fine paste.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Add the urad dal and slightly brown it.Finally add curry leaves and remove from fire and add to the ground coconut paste.
Your coconut chutney is ready.Serve with hot idlis.


Anonymous said...

hi shailu
how r u doing???thanks for ur idly recipe.but can we use fenugreek seed instead of soda.will this make any difference.

sailu said...

Hi Anon,

Yes,you can add some fenugreek seeds but I dont think you should avoid soda.Add both by reducing the quantity of both a bit.Honestly,I havent used fenugreek seeds instead of soda.

But sure give it a try and see what happens..that's how we learn..:):)

Anonymous said...

thanx 2 ur site i learnt lot of dishes.
i tried idli also those are good.but the colour of idli is not pure white,they r some what cream can i made idli so white colour like ur idli in photograph.

Oheli Sen said...

I really like South Indian food. Sambar with idli or dhosa or daal vada is my fovorite.

I am Bengali so rice is my staple diet. Often I prepare Sambar and take it with rice and salads.