Monday, June 10, 2013


There are some marriages made in heaven and one should never try and mess with that. Idli-sambhar is absolutely one such pair. Am not sure if my photography has done justice to this pair. These pictures were taken in April, when I was attending the LFP challenge and for some  reason it got lost in the zillion pictures that I have. When my better half told me last week that I should not have space issues for a couple of years at least  ( referring to the  iMac with 1tb of space, that he got me last year), it was a panic moment and I began a  ruthlessly spring clean  my Mac...and guess what I found :) I have mixed feelings about  the rustic styling, I am happy with it but am not sure if the whites of the idlis are real white, I could  have done a better job. But this blog is a journey, so I did not want to trash the photographs as it is part of my memories doing the LFP - 30 day food photography challenge. So here it is, the idlis not as perfect white but the recipe is perfect.

If you have never had idlis: they are steamed lentil and rice pancakes, the dough is fermented overnight, it is extremely healthy and sambhar is a spice curry made with vegetables and a coconut gravy.  I Made the sambhar with red pearl onions and tomato.

For the idli you will need an idli stand for steaming the dough. There are a lot of stands in the market, I have a simple one, you can go in for something fancy but I like to keep my traditional dish simple.


1 cup idli rava
3/4 cup urad daal / black gram ( split and without skin)

Idli rava is rice that has been dry ground and has a sand like consistency.

Soak the rava and the daal separately for 3-4 hours. Grind the urad daal into a very fine paste, almost a cake batter consistency.

Mix it with he rava and let it ferment for 4-6 hours in summer and 6 plus hours in winter.

Add salt. and pour it into idli stand and steam it for about 14-16 min. before you remove the idles, make sure it has cooled a bit.

Serve with hot sambhar and coconut chutney. I have many versions of coconut chutney, the one linked is just one of them. You can browse in the chutney section of the blog.  The traditional chutney used is a coriander-coconut chutney, will share it on the blog soon.


Sambhar is a very versatile dish and it can be paired with rice, dosa, idli and even flat bread. It is made from an aromatic spice blend, click here for my version  You can have various variations to this spice blend and you cannot go wrong with the recipe. You can also add combinations of different vegetables and make it unique and match your own taste buds.

The sambhar I have made for this idlis is made with pearl onions and tomatoes, I kept it simple to bring out the flavor of the idlis.

2 cups toor daal/yellow pigeon peas
3/4 cup pealed red pearl onions
1 large tomato

3-4 tsp tamarind juice
3-4 tsp sambhar spice blend
1 tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
salt to taste

1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/4 tsp asafetida
3-4 curry leaves

Cook the daal. Keep aside.

In a pan heat the ghee, add the mustard seed, let it splatter, add asafetida, curry leaves and the onions, roast for a bit , add tomatoes, roast and add a cup of water, salt and jaggery.

After the onion is transparent i.e cooked, add the daal, tamarind juice, sambhar powder and bring to boil. Check for salt.

Serve with idli and a dollop of ghee.

Here is a picture of my baby curry plant 

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  1. A classic comfort food...i am craving for it right now..

  2. Wow so lovely idlis.. Loved all ur clicks...

  3. You truly show food very different via your camera. Very interesting way to show idli and sambar. Makes one want to taste it. Delicious.

  4. To me, this is a healthiest dish in the whole your presentation and clicks..

  5. One of our staple food, love to start my breakfast with this beautiful idly and sambar.

  6. too tempting, dear..tooo tempting. just had a bowl of idli-sambar..the real tiny mini idlis from sharavana bhavan last weekend. deadly clicks, as usual.

  7. oh who thought idlis can luk so gorgeous ! tempting clicks !

  8. Beautiful post! Loved being at your blog :-)

  9. A wonderful speciality! I'd love to taste your idlis.




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