Delicious ways to enjoy the versatile fermented dish – idli

Pay tribute to the soft and fluffy South Indian rice cakes on World Idli Day

30 Mar 2022

Known to be rich in vitamins and for aiding the gut flora, idli is one of the most well-known and versatile fermented foods. The fermentation process breaks down components and increases the bioavailability of minerals, thus helping the body to assimilate more nutrition and digest the idli easily.

The journey of rice and lentils to batter is a long and laborious one, but as fans would point out, completely worth it. Whether paired with chutneys and vegetable-laden sambar, coated in milagai podi or even topped with ghee and sugar, the idli’s mild flavour makes it extremely versatile.

On World Idli Day, here are some delicious ways in which you can enjoy these steamed treats other than dunking them in sambar and chutney.

Manchurian idli

This delicious dish can be enjoyed as a snack and prepared with fresh as well as leftover idlis. To prepare this Indo Chinese – South Indian fusion dish, cut the idlis into bite-sized pieces and coat them in a batter of corn starch, all-purpose flour, water, salt, and chilli powder. Shallow fry the pieces until they turn golden brown. Sauté finely chopped onions, capsicum, minced ginger-garlic, and thin slices of green chillis in gingelly oil for a few minutes. Add a mixture of corn starch and water, soy sauce, vinegar, chilli sauce and some tomato ketchup and stir for two minutes on medium-high flame. Add the fried idli and mix well until all the pieces are evenly coated. Serve the Manchurian idli warm, with a garnish of spring onions.

Idli chaat

This is a great alternative to enjoy chaat if you’re trying to avoid fried foods since steamed idli replaces the puri and samosas in this recipe. Cut the idli into bite-sized pieces in a bowl and add some thick curd, finely chopped onions, rock salt, tamarind chutney, mint chutney, and red chilli chutney. Mix it thoroughly. Sprinkle some chilli powder and finely chopped coriander before serving. Bonus tip: You can fry the idli if you insist on adding some crunch to your idli chaat.

Masala idli

This recipe calls for gunpowder (locally known as milagai podi), a condiment made from roasted and powdered sesame seeds, dried red chillies, and lentils. To prepare masala idli, heat sesame oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, and urad dal. Fry them till the lentils turn golden and then add the gunpowder to it. Fry the mixture for another minute and then add the idli and salt. Toss them all together and ensure that the idlis are evenly coated with the mixture. Serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander.

Crispy idli fry

This recipe is perfect to finish off those leftovers because it requires idlis that are cooked and refrigerated at least a few hours. All you need to do is to cut up the idli into fingers and fry them oil till they turn golden brown. The crispy idli fry is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sprinkle the pieces with a little salt and chilli powder and enjoy them with your favourite chutney.

What are your favourite idli preparations? Tell us in the comments.

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Vegan idli World Idli Day South Indian cuisine healthy food
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