Tempting Idly

… Admin / September 6, 2023 / Photo Credit: AboutUttarakhand.com


A culinary marvel that exemplifies simplicity and nutritious sustenance, idly is a treasure from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This classic meal has become a breakfast favorite throughout the world because of its easy preparation and pleasing flavor. Idly is essentially a silky batter made from ground rice and urad dal (black gram). The uniqueness of idly lies in the fact that it is steamed before consumption. Fluffy, pillowy cakes that ooze warmth and tradition are the result of pouring the batter into carefully constructed molds and steaming them to perfection.

Idly’s versatility is part of what makes it so magical. Idly’s versatility as food that goes well with many sauces and condiments is apparent. Many people like it first thing in the morning because of its mild flavor and stomach-friendly nature. The importance of idly extends well beyond the dinner table; it symbolizes the ideals of simplicity and peace that are inherent to the culture of Tamil Nadu. The method of making it has been handed down through the ages, representing continuity between the past and the present. Idly is more than just a staple food in Tamil Nadu; it represents community, history, and the finer points of enjoying the little things in life. Idly’s classic flavor profile and emphasis on fresh ingredients have made it an evergreen symbol of Tamil Nadu’s culinary legacy.

  • Origin: Tamin Nadu, India
  • Category: Idly is a Tamil Vegetarian Main Dish which is considered Breakfast
  • Ingredient: Rice and Urad Dal are treated as main ingredients for this recipe. Other ingredients used are Fenugreek, Salt, Water
  • Time and Flavour: This recipe takes approx 8-12 hours and the flavour is Neutral
  • Nutritional Information: Idly contains 100 kcal calories per 100 g serving. This serving contains 1 g of fat, 1 g of protein and 20 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 1 g sugar and 3 g of dietary fiber, the rest is other nutritional component. [ These values may vary based on ingredients used and its quantity ]

Tamil dish - Idly

Photo Credit: AboutUttarakhand.com


Idly, a beloved South Indian dish, is renowned for its soft, spongy texture and mild flavor. It is a steamed rice cake made from a batter composed of fermented rice and urad dal (black gram) mixture. The rice and dal are soaked, ground, and allowed to ferment overnight, resulting in the characteristic airy and porous consistency of idlies.

To prepare idlies, the batter is poured into specially designed molds and steamed until they puff up and cook thoroughly. The outcome is a delightful, white, and pillowy cake that is incredibly light on the palate. Idlies are often served with a medley of accompaniments, including coconut chutney, sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew), and various types of spicy and tangy dips.

Idlies are not only a popular breakfast choice but also a versatile dish enjoyed throughout the day. They are known for their nutritional value, being easily digestible due to the fermentation process. This makes them a wholesome option for people of all ages. Idlies are not limited to South India and have gained popularity across the country and beyond, reflecting their universal appeal. Their simplicity, combined with their comforting taste, has established idlies as a staple in Indian cuisine.


  • Rice [ चावल ], 1 Cup
    → Uncooked And Soaked.
  • Black Gram [ उड़द दाल ], 1/2 Cup
    → Uncooked And Soaked.
  • Fenugreek Seeds [ मैथी दाना ], 1/4 Teaspoon
    → Uncooked And Soaked.
  • Salt [ नमक ], As desired
  • Water [ पानी ], –
  • Mustard Oil [ सरसों का तेल ], As desired
    → Use Any Oil Of Your Choice.

Adjust the batter consistency by adding water if it’s too thick or by letting it ferment for a longer period if it’s too thin. For extra nourishment, finely chopped veggies such as carrots or peas may be added to the batter. The batter may be refrigerated for a few days and used as required.

Method for preparing Idly

  • Thoroughly rinse the rice, urad dal, and fenugreek seeds. Soak them separately in water for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Drain the water after soaking and grind the rice and urad dal separately to a smooth paste. You may add water as required to help with grinding. Combine the two pastes, as well as the fenugreek seeds and salt. Blend well.
  • Allow the batter to ferment in a warm area for 8-12 hours, or until it has doubled in volume. Idlis’ distinctive texture and taste are created by fermentation.
  • The batter will have a somewhat sour fragrance when it has fermented. Stir it well.
  • Grease the idli molds with a little oil or ghee to make the idli steamer.
  • Fill the idli molds halfway with batter, allowing enough room for the idlis to rise.
  • In a steamer, steam the idlis for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • When the idlis are done, take them from the steamer and allow them to cool a little before removing the idlis.
  • With a spoon or fork, gently remove the idlis from the molds.
  • Serve the hot idlis with coconut chutney, sambar, or any accompaniments to your choice.

Health Benefits

  • Highly Digestible – Idly is very digestible because to the fermenting process.
  • Low Fat Content – Because it is low in fat and cholesterol, idly is a heart-healthy option.
  • High in Protein – Urad dal is high in plant-based protein, which is important for muscle repair and general body function.
  • nutritional-Rich – Fermentation increases nutritional content, including B-vitamins and minerals, which promotes general health.
  • Light and Satisfying – Idlies are steamed, so they're a light and filling meal that won't leave you feeling stuffed.

Although these components may offer some health benefits, it's crucial to keep in mind that everyone's experience may vary, and they must be consumed in moderation as a part of a balanced diet. If you have any specific health issues or concerns, it's recommended to speak with a healthcare provider.

To Conclude

Idly, a traditional South Indian delicacy, is the epitome of health and simplicity. This steamed rice and lentil cake has its roots in long-held customs, but it has now become a regional and global staple. Its simple ingredients—rice and urad dal—ferment into a tasty and nutritious snack.

The allure of idly is in its adaptability; it goes well with many kinds of chutneys, sambar, and even non-traditional condiments. Although its preparation seems simple at first glance, it takes skill to obtain the desired light and airy texture. Idly is popular morning food since it provides a nutritious start to the day.

Idly is a staple dish in South Indian cuisine, but it also has deep cultural importance. By bringing people together over a common cuisine, this humble dish exemplifies the region’s dedication to good nutrition, physical well-being, and social cohesion.

Thank You

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