Tuesday, December 25, 2007

South India's Gift to the World

South India has produced some of the finest luminaries in the fields of arts, science, literature, theatre, etc...

As far as I am concerned the simple 'idly' is the biggest contribution of South Indian culture to the world.

Just think soft steaming white idlies with piping hot onion, ladies finger, pumpkin, and tomato sambar, accompanied with tender white coconut chutney, and crispy golden vadas, all washed down with a cup of Madras filter coffee. A heavenly experience, nothing can beat the taste of idly with sambar and chutney.

No one knows when they were prepared for the first time. References to the idly are made in works that are more that a thousand years old. Surprisingly the addition of rice as the primary ingredient is a custom that just evloved in the early seventeenth century(wikipedia).

Nowadays one can find different varieties of idlies - rava idly, mixed vegetable idly, mini idly(14 idlies floating in a bowl of steaming hot sambar), chili idly, fried idly, idly uppuma, the list is endless as one can substitute ingredients to satisfy one's taste and palate.

A simple recipe for soft fluffy idlies:


Idly rice 2 cups (Ponni rice if possible)
Urud dal 1 cup
cooked rice 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds(Methi) 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste


  • Soak Idly rice and Methi together in water for about 5-6 hours.
  • Soak urud dal in water for 3 1/2 hours.
  • Drain the water from urud dal and grind it in mixie with little water.
  • Fine grind it until the mixture is frothy. Keep aside
  • Now drain water from soaked rice and methi.
  • Grind these along with cooked rice and little water in mixie.
  • Now mix the ground items and add salt.
  • Allow it to ferment for 16 - 18 hours. Then make idlys in the idly steamer. Steam the idlys on high for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with sambar and chutney.
  • Images of different types of idlies

    Vegetable Idly Channa Idly Fried Idly Special Rava Idly

    Happy eating....:)

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