Idli, ranks as, a number one health dish. Fermented, steamed, easily digestible, you name it and It gets, all the ticks in the box, under that category.

Senior (as sometimes, Pa addresses my older one) when she was a little junior, used to be a pro at negotiating bedtime stories. She would say ” But Maa, am I asking you for 20, just 3 stories tonight, will do.” How does one argue this law point logic, with a mop of curly hair and peering big black eyes?! ‘Everything happens for good’ story most certainly her favourite, would feature as one of her 3 stories for the night.

Once upon a time, a king had a wise minister, whose all time advice was “Everything happens for good”. One day the King had an accident and he cut off his little toe, everyone around him sympathized but the minister maintained that “Everything happens for good”, upset by the lack of sympathy shown by the minister, the King, sends him to prison and jibes him to figure out ‘how this happened for good’. Later when the King ventured out hunting, he was caught, by the man-eating jungle cannibals, for their evening meal. Before putting him into the cooking pot, they happened to see his foot with a missing toe and declared him to be an imperfect meal, as per the Cannibal tradition. The king, who was spared, immediately comes back to his kingdom. Realizing the truth in his minister’s words, releases his minister and apologizes to him for the inconvenience faced in prison, to which the minister repeats “Everything happens for good”, for had he not been in prison, he would have gone along with the king and been the ‘next in line candidate’, to be a totally perfect meal for the cannibals.
No prizes for guessing, my lunch box during my school and college days, yes, Idlis, invariably. However, now I realize that, whenever I I look up for healthy recipes, I already have the best one, I can ever find, under my belt, effortlessly handed down to me. It is the most ‘taken for granted dish’ that is a daily standard affair as breakfast / tiffin in south. This soft and spongy steamed dumpling delight ‘The Idli’ is a sure testament of ‘Everything happens for good’!

Prep time: 9 – 12 hrs; Cooking time : 20 mins; Serves : 9 – 12

blog idli

Ingredients :

  • Parboiled Idli Rice / Parboiled Brown or Red Rice / Parboiled Millet Rice – 41/2 – 5 cups
  • Black gram dal / Udad dal (skinned whole / split) – 1/4 – 1/2 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Water – as required
  • Rock Salt – as per taste
  • Sesame Oil / ghee – 1- 2 tsps

Method :

1. Wash, rinse, soak the rice separately in one vessel and similarly, Udad dal along with fenugreek seeds in another vessel, with sufficient water, to assist in swelling up of the grains, for about 2 hrs.

2. Then, grind the udad dal along with fenugreek seeds in a wet grinder, adding water gradually, as required, for at least 20 mins, till you see stiff peaks in the fluffy batter. Remove it out into a vessel and set aside.

3. Now, grind the idli rice in the wet grinder, adding water gradually, as required, for at least 20 mins, till you get a batter of  pouring consistency. After about 20 mins, add the fluffy udad dal batter gradually in installments and continue grinding for another 20 mins. Keep the batter overnight for fermenting.

4. Next morning, add salt, about 1 1/2 tbsp or as per taste and mix well. Grease the idli plates with sesame oil / ghee, pour the batter in each of the moulds, place it on the idli stand and steam the idlis in a pressure cooker, without the whistle or an idli steamer for about 15 mins.

5. Serve these hot along with Coconut chutney, green chutney, tomato onion chutney, sambhar and Flax seed Molaga podi. It can combine with just about any accompaniments that you like.


1. For Millet Idlis, Brown rice and Red rice Idlis, Raw rice idlis (pacharisi idli for Varalakshmi Vritham) replace the the parboiled Idli rice with par boiled Millet of your choice, parboiled brown rice, parboiled red rice, raw rice respectively and follow the same recipe.( we cannot get healthier than this!)

2. Idlis can be cut into wedges and dipped in Flax seed Idli Molaga podi and served as canapes or a hors d’oeuvres to be snacked up on or even a great ‘To go’ kids lunch box idea.

3. Idlis can be cut up into small pieces and made like upma and called Idli seeyali.

4. Idli batter is also used to make Dosas, Uthappams and Kuzhipaniharam.

Cook’s note:

1. All the steps for preparing, the idli batter (just like the cake batter) are important for getting soft and spongy idlis.

2. Stone Wet grinder is a must and grinding the batter for a longer time period, gives it good amount of aeration, once again, the key to getting soft and spongy Idlis.

All the very to best to all, towards your efforts in mastering the art of making Idlis!



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