Home > Food > 11/365 – Idli – இட்லி

11/365 – Idli – இட்லி

Idli is a south Indian savory cake popular throughout India. The cakes are usually two to three inches in diameter and are  made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches  so that they are more readily metabolized by the body. The earliest mention of idli in India occurs in Tamil sangam literature.  It is also found in Kannada writing of Shivakotiacharya.

Most often eaten at breakfast or as a snack, idlis are usually served in pairs with chutney, sambar, or other accompaniments.  Mixtures of crushed dry spices such as milagai podi are the preferred condiment for idlis eaten on the go.

Idli was known in India by as early as 700 CE. The process of steaming was influenced from Indonesia subsequently between  800-1200 CE, giving rise to the modern day Idli. Earliest mention of the term ‘Idli’ occurs in the Kannada writing of  Shivakotiacharya in 920 AD, and it seems to have started as a dish made only of fermented black lentil. Chavundaraya II, the  author of the earliest available Kannada encyclopaedia, Lokopakara, describes the preparation of idli by soaking urad dal  (black gram) in butter milk, ground to a fine paste and mixed with the clear water of curd, and spices. The Kannada king and  scholar Someshwara III, reigning in the area now called Karnataka, included an idli recipe in his encyclopedia, The  Manasollasa, written in Sanskrit ca. 1130 A.D.

Varities of Idli:
A variety of nontraditional idlis exist these days, namely, standard idli, mini idlis soaked in sambar, rava idli, Kancheepuram  idli, stuffed idli with a filling of potato, beans, carrot and masala, ragi idli, pudi idli, malli idli and curd idli.

Tamilnadu Idli:
South Indian temple town Madurai in Tamilnadu is famous for its overnight idli shops where one can have hot and soft idlis  even at 2 AM. These idlies are served with sambar and also with more than three varieties of chutne. The softness of these idlis lie in the selection of rice and black gram (black lentil). Other temple towns in Tamilnadu like Kancheepuram and Tanjore are also famous for the tasty idlis. Idli with vadai curry combination is most popular in Chennai.

Karnataka idli
Apart from many other variations of Idlis in Karnataka, the people of Karnataka can be found continuing the 1100-year-old way  of making the idli as mentioned in the works of Shivakotiacharya or Chavundaraya. The finished product is called Uddina idli,  with the main ingredient remaining Urad dal (black lentil).

Ramasseri idli
Ramasseri, an offbeat village in Palakkad is known all over Kerala for the idlis it makes—the delicious Ramasseri Idli. Spongy  and soft, Ramasseri Idli is slightly different in shape from the conventional idlis. It is a little flat and round. Ramasseri Idli is  eaten with Podi mixed in coconut oil.

Idli Preparation

Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idli

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