Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Idli Sambar Podi ... a hearty South Indian breakfast

 idli sambar podi
 From the day I got married till date, every morning the one question that I have to face on waking up is 'what to make for breakfast?'.
Every single day. Well, almost.
Earlier, I did not have to bother. At home ... it was taken care of. And how!
When I was a PG, studying, I did not have to bother. I had no time for breakfast ... barring a few days when I would gulp down a glass of milk and rush.
But after I set up my own home, I decided that I would wallow in the luxury of a fulfilling breakfast everyday.
But that was not to happen ... not for a while.
The man had grown up attending morning school ... hence the term breakfast did not feature anywhere near even his peripheral vision.
So after struggling to introduce and willing him to love this beautiful thing for a good few months, I gave up.
Besides, seeing my plates of French toast or Upma or Parathas being rejected for lack of time to eat, was not a very happy thing to happen in the morning.
 So I gave up.
And happily focused on my favourite eggs and bread routine.

I love steaming hot, preferably spicy and savoury breakfasts. No cold milk or cereals for me.
Later, when B started to work from home, our breakfasts started to get more varied and leaned towards vegetarian versions.
Unless he is having milk and cereals, when I happily fry sausages for myself, it is more of traditional cooking.
And then I struck gold ... read learnt how to make the Idli.
Or Dosa, for that matter.
The trick lies in the batter and it took me a while to master it. And am still learning.
But now, I can make a mean dosa or spongy idlis well, if I may say so.
And my breakfast problem is solved .... largely.

idli sambar podi

I make a big batch of the batter and store it in the fridge. I
The following days see a varied spread of breakfast .... dosa, soru chakli pithe, saantlano pithe, poda pitha, savoury poda pitha, idlis .... the batter is so versatile.
Paired with a simple curry or a dalma or some chutney or sambar, we get a hearty, full and healthy breakfast that happily sees us through  the day.

I have made some posts on idli earlier. But decided to make this one to include the recipe for the Sambar as well as the Podi / dry chutney that I make.

To make the idli : I follow the same recipe for the batter that I have posted in all my earlier posts.
The only difference is that I add a teaspoon of Methi / Fenugreek seeds now.

Soak rice and Urid dal in the ratio of 2:½ along with a teaspoonful of methi seeds, for around 4 hours.
Grind into a paste , add a little salt and keep it covered for around 8 hours.

I usually soak them after lunch, adding a little water at a time and grind it after dinner.
And start using the batter the next morning.
The batter ferments perfectly overnight.
Store it covered well, in the fridge.
Do remember to keep it out and bring it to room temperature before using it again.

Steam the batter (it should be soft and not a very thick paste )  in an idli maker for not more than 20 minutes for plump, spongy idlis.

idli sambar podi

To make the Podi :

 Dhania / Coriander seeds - 3 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 4 or more, if you like it spicy
Chana / Bengal gram dal - 4 tbsp
Urad dal - 2 tbsp
Hing / Asafoetida powder - 1 tsp
Whole black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Dry roast the dals on low flame first.
Then dry roast the rest of the ingredients.
Cool and grind into a powder.

Store in an airtight bottle.
I use this Podi on idlis, spread on dosas and mix with plain rice with a little ghee too.

idli sambar podi
To make the Sambar :

I must make it clear first that since I am a Bengali, I have no idea about the authentic sambar recipe.
I do know there are different kinds of sambar for different meals.
And I do not even know if my version of the sambar will even qualify for a breakfast sambar or as the right companion to the idli.
All I know is this is the way I have always made sambar and love it too.

If  I am making it to eat with rice, I do add vegetables. Will post that version some day.

Soak Urad dal and boil it with some turmeric powder + hing + salt.

Heat oil.
Add mustard seeds + dry red chillies + curry leaves.

When the seeds start to splutter, add chopped onions and fry them till soft.

Now add the boiled dal + tamarind water + red chilli powder + sambar masala ( I use Everest ) + a little water.
Adjust salt.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for a while.

idli sambar podi
You can enjoy these fluffy idlis with my Tomato Garlic chutney too.
I did ... the next day.

Another look.
idli sambar podi

Enjoy !!


  1. ছবি দেখেই বোঝা যাচ্ছে ইডলিগুলো উমদা হয়েছে, নরম, ফুলোফুলো। ভেরি গুড যব, শর্মিলা।

  2. Pristine white fluffy idlis and podi...what else do we need...I love breakfast and idlis..and your post is too tasty to be true...I have to eat idlis....soon....
    Lovely pics mam...the steam wafting from idlis is too good..take care

    Warm regards,


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!