Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Organic Rava Idlis with Sambar and Chutney

A bowl of organic idlis made with lots of freshness of veggies is a great way to start  your day. I'm fond of cooking, & like re-mixing my recipes without compromising the goodness and nutrients. I love to add colorful chopped or pureed veggies to my dough or batter, what ever dish is on the go. This time I added handful of blanched and pureed veggies to the rava idli batter and the results were rewarding. Within  a few minutes a cute and colorful platter of idlis was waiting for me to be tried and tasted. A few months back I had cooked a small batch of  cocktail colored idlis at my son's birthday. My idlis were a huge success, specially with the Kids. 

Traditionally the idlis are made by soaking rice flour and urad dal, grinding to make a smooth batter, thereafter steaming in a pressure cooker. In my present post, I'm sharing my recipe of instant rava (sooji or semolina) idlis. Semolina is made from durum wheat. It is low fat and high carbohydrate food, full of vitamin E and B complex, minerals, nutrients, so is popularly used to make pasta, cereals or cooked as rice or in sweets. 

If you are craving for hot idlis and don't have much time, go for Instant Rava Idli Mix. This can be made at home too by simply dry roasting the semolina, adding dry roasted curry leaves, mustard seeds and cashews. Store in ziplock bag or airtight container. Here is the procedure of instant oil free idlis ...

Semolina/Sooji : 1 cup 
Curd: 1 cup
Eno Salt: 1 tsp or one sachet (or 1 tsp baking soda plus  1 tsp lime juice)
Salt :1 tsp 
Spinach Puree : 2 tsp, boiled and pureed
Red Pepper and Tomato Puree : 2 tsp, boiled and pureed
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cooking Oil : 1/2 tsp for greasing the moulds

First things first for making idli, we need a idli maker. Idli can be made traditionally in a pressure cooker or steamer. In this recipe, we are going to steam the Idli's in a microwave safe idli maker.
Microwavable idli makers are readily available in the market these days, in fact these are available in different sizes. On my last visit to India, I picked up a mini idli maker. I found a couple of these on Amazon

Preparing the base mix:
Add measured quantities of semolina (sooji),  salt and  whipped curd/yogurt in a bowl.
Mix these ingredients gently for 1 minute with a spoon until it develops into a  smooth consistency batter. Divide this batter into three separate bowls. 
Preparing Idli's:
We will now add different ingredients into each bowl to get three different colors and flavors of idli. 
  • To make fresh green idli, add spinach puree and eno salt in the first bowl, mix gently. 
  • For red idlis, add  red pepper,  tomato puree and eno to the second bowl, give it a quick stir. 
  • For white idlis,  add roasted cashews and eno to the third bowl, again mix well. 

Prepare the idli moulds by lightly brushing with oil and pour half cup of water at bottom of idli stand. Use a tablespoon to pour separate batters into the idli moulds. As you can see in the picture I added a mustard seed on top of each idli. (Makes it look Good :-P !!! )

Once we are done with the batter, cover the idli maker with the lid and place it in a microwave.

For Regular size Moulds, cook in the microwave for approx 4 minutes, and for mini-idlis's cook for ~2 minutes. Once done, wait for a couple of minutes, remove the lid & scoop out the Idli's using a  spoon or idli spatula.

Piping Hot Idli's are ready to be enjoyed with homemade tomato, coconut chutneys and sambar.... !!!
Sambar or Sambar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and toor dal, and is very popular in the cooking of southern regions of India. It can be made tangy or spicy to suit your taste, and a makes a deadly combo with Idli's.

Recipe of Sambar:
Ingredients: -
Arhar or Toor Dal: 1 cup
Onions: 1, finely chopped
Tomatoes: 2, finely chopped
Ginger: 2', grated
Carrots: 1, grated (add more veggies like eggplant,bottleguard to taste)
Spinach: 1/4, finely chopped
Tamarind Paste : 2 -3 tsp
Salt : 1tsp
Chilli, Turmeric: 1tsp
Oil: 2tsp
Coconut chutney: 2tsp,optional

For Tempering:
Mustard seeds: 1tsp
Curry Leaves: few sprigs
Cilantro(coriander): few leaves
Cooking Oil: 1/2 tsp

Wash the dal and gently steam it in a pressure cooker by adding water, salt and turmeric.
The traditional method of adding veggies is by cutting into big chunks.
But I prefer to finely chop/shred the seasonal veggies at hand.
This makes the dal more uniform and its being like by the kids too.
In a nonstick skillet, take 2-3 drops of oil  and add mustard seeds.
When the seeds pop up, add curry leaves.
Take this tempering out of the pan and keep aside to be added later.
Add some oil in the skillet. Add chopped onions, tomatoes and ginger, saute well, followed by carrots and spinach, give it a quick stir. Season the masala with salt and chilli to taste.
Now to add tanginess to the sambar, add tamarind paste and half cup of water.
Finally add sambar masala. Let all the ingredients simmer for 5 minutes on a slow heat.
Add this masala to the steamed dal and check the thickness.
If the sambar is too thick, add some warm water and adjust the spices to taste and can also add some coconut chutney. Finally add the tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves and cilantro sprigs.

A refreshing and hot sambar is ready to be enjoyed with idlis or rice.

I'm also sharing with you my recipe of instant coconut chutney when I am out of stock on fresh coconuts. Most of the ingredients below are always there in my kitchen closet, so can easily make nice chutney in few minutes.

Click Here for a printable Recipe - My Creative Flavors

Instant Coconut Chutney
Ingredients: -
Roasted Channa dal: 1/4 cup
Roasted Peanuts: 2tsp
Yogurt: 2 tsp
Salt, Chilli: 1/2tsp or to taste
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: few
Oil: 2 drops

Soak the coconut flakes in water for half an hour.
In the mean time, if you dont have these, then dry roast the channa dal and peanuts, let it cool.
Grind coconut, channa dal and peanuts in a mixer.
Add a  yogurt for consistency & tanginess, Season with salt and chilli to taste.
Heat two drops of oil and splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Add this tempering on coconut chutney.

Enjoy your chutney with Idli/Sambar.

I'm sending my Little Idli's to monthly mingle where the theme this month is,
“Small Bites – Soul Food for your Loved Ones”


  1. Very nicely garnished and prepared.....toooo goood!!!

  2. Thank you for colourful and lovely looking idlis mangla.. thanks for sending them to my event..

  3. beautiful quick and delicious one of my favourites

  4. @ Shruti, Satya and Torviewtoronto - Thank you so much for the appreciating comments. I'm glad to know that you liked it... !

  5. I have been planning to buy a idli maker for so long...this is a great idea!

  6. Great presentation and photos.

  7. @ Kulsum, @ Pam - Thx for appreciating !!!

  8. Those look great Sonia - when I first saw them, I wondered if they were a sort of savoury friand, so am enjoying discovering delicious looking new food on your site! I wonder if they could also be adapted to use cornmeal, too...

  9. Hi Sonia,
    1st time here..Loved the blog and recipes.. Idli looks yummy and so colorful..very creative..

    Gald to follow you.

  10. @ Sticky Penguin - Your words of appreciation are always precious for me... !

    @ Panchpakwan - So glad to know that you liked it !

  11. Extraordinary GOOD.No words to appreciate your art of cooking.Presentation GREAT GREAT GREAT.

  12. Sonia your organic idlis and moong ka halwa are really very tempting ...feeling like eating it immediately.keep it up!


  13. @ Hind and @ Shalu, Thanks for the complements. Your encouraging words keeps me going...!

  14. Beautiful idlis. Love the presentation. I'll try them soon.

    Check out my cooking blog too:


  15. This whole post has been so interesting and taught me something completely new - from the name idlis to the special idlis equipment. Really excellent - thank you.

  16. Amazingly creative!! I have never seen Idlis look so pretty and appetising...beautiful photography...Wonder if I can make it in glass bowls as do not own a microwave idli maker yet.

    Beautiful work! Glad I came to your site...


  17. Beautiful idlis! Will definitely try
    Please do visit my blog

  18. Very nice blog...Prepare Special Dishes in your Kitchen with Bambino Instant Rava Idli Mixes. Blended with Cashew Nuts, it will be a favourite breakfast for all. Thank You..


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