Idli – this white as snow and fluffy delicacy belongs to the southern states of India. Made by, fermenting a ground batter of black lentils and half boiled rice, and steaming them into circular molds, this is one dish that has not only won the popularity award but also the healthy diet award. Each plain idli has approximately 39 calories, 2 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams carbohydrates and no fat.
As I child I remember my “Amma” grinding a whole vessel full of the batter, in an old fashioned grinder. The grinder in itself was a one of a kind home appliance, occupying an enormous amount of space at home. The stone that would grind the batter in the grinder would weigh a ton. I remember “amma measuring, soaking and grinding the batter with perfection. She would put just the right amount of water to make sure the batter was of the right consistency. This would render the right texture to the idlis. Her final task would be to clean the enormous grinder! Phew!!!
At least once a week my tiffin to school would be these fluffy idlis topped with a special powder that was made out of roasted lentils and red chillie. I remember my friends going gaga over it. When I moved out on my own, I realized the first thing I missed were my Idlis in the morning.
But like all other things in our present day life, batters are more easily available in the market and the giant sized grinder has metamorphosed into sleeker kitchen appliances. And what more the white fluffy Idlis in hotels too have newer innovations. Heard of Schezwan Idlis? Or how about Idli Manchurian? Hmmm or may be Idli Tikkas?
But despite all these newer versions, for me what always stands in the numero uno position is a breakfast of steaming hot fluffy idlis, with a bowl of sambhar and piping hot filter kaapi!!!!