Idli Sambar

Idli Sambhar
Photo Credits: Ravi Talwar

Steam cooked rice-and-dal Idli or Sooji Idli (quicker) with Sambar, this healthy and filling breakfast is a regular item in most South Indian homes. Originated here but loved all over, you’ll often find this dish as a light lunch option too. This combo tastes best when served with coconut chutney.

To read some interesting facts about Idlis, visit India-Infofacts

Ingredients for Rice-Dal Idli

  • Urad dhuli dal (split husked black gram)                      1/2 cup
  • Thick coarse rice                                                          5 cups
  • Salt                                                                             To taste

Ingredients for Sooji (Semolina) Idli

  • Sooji (Semolina)                                                           1 cup
  • Sour Curd (Yogurt)                                                       1/2 cup
  • Salt                                                                              To Taste
  • Eno powder (or Baking Soda)                                         Pinch
  • Water                                                                           As required

Ingredients for Sambar

  • Arhar dal (pigeon pea)                                                   1/2 cup
  • Mixed vegetables, cut in 1/2 inch square pieces               1 cup

  (Beans, carrot, bottle gourd, eggplant , pumpkin)

  • Turmeric powder                                                           1/2 teaspoon
  • Dried whole red chilies                                                   2
  • Mustard seeds                                                                1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves                                                                   12 – 15
  • Tamarind paste                                                              1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder                                                          1 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala                                                                1/2 teaspoon
  • Amchur (Dry mango powder)                                          1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder                                                             1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt                                                                                To taste
  • Sambar masala                                                             1 teaspoon
  • Cooking Oil                                                                     1 tablespoon
  • Water                                                                            As required


For Rice-Dal Idli

  1. Soak urad dal and rice separately in water for 6 – 8 hours or overnight. Drain and grind them separately in food processor into fine pastes.
  2. Combine both the pastes in a bowl and add salt. Keep this batter aside for 4 to 5 hours for fermentation at a warm place.

For Sooji Idli

  1. Combine the sooji and sour curd to a thick paste.
  2. Add salt and some water if needed to form a thick dropping batter. Keep it aside for half an hour.

Tip: You can add some mustard seeds and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) to the idli batter to enhance its taste.

Important: Do not add the Eno powder or baking soda at this point. Add it just before pouring this batter into idli pan for steaming.

  1. Meanwhile put the arhar dal, 2-½ cups water, cut vegetables, salt and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker and place it on medium heat.
  2. After 1 whistle, reduce the heat and let the sambar cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Then turn off the heat. Allow the steam to escape fully from the cooker and then carefully open it.
  3. Take the idli stand (idli mould pan) and grease it with a drop of oil in each mould.
  4. Now stir the idli batter well once again and pour 1 tablespoon of batter in each mould. After filling each mould, give the stand a gentle shake to evenly settle the batter in the moulds.
  5. Now pour 1 cup water in the idli maker pan or a pressure cooker and put it on medium heat. Allow the water to come to a boil.
  6. Put the idli stand in the cooker or idli maker pan and close the lid but do not keep whistle over it in case of pressure cooker. Let the idlis cook in the steam for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile put a medium size deep saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon oil in it. Once the oil gets heated add mustard seeds to it and let them crackle.
  8. Lower the heat and add curry leaves and whole dried red chilies.
  9. Add in spices and tamarind paste; mix well and pour this mixture in the cooked sambar. Stir well and return the cooker to low-medium heat.
  10. Let the sambar simmer for another 5 minutes. Then remove the cooker from heat and transfer the sambar into serving bowl.
  11. After 15 minutes of cooking the idlis, remove the cooker or idli pan from the heat and open the lid. Carefully lift out the idli stand and let it cool down a little.

Tip: To check whether idli is cooked or not, insert a clean toothpick in it. If it comes out clean, that means idli is ready.

  1. Now separate the idlis from the stand by running a sharp knife along each mould below the idli edges. Transfer them ito the serving dish.
  2. Serve hot idlis with sambar and coconut chutney.

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

Leave a Reply