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Idli Sambar

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Nutritional information

5 gm
2 gm
50 gm
18 gm

Idli Sambar

  • Veg
  • 25 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy



Idli sambar are almost inseparable members on a traditional South Indian platter. Idlies are steamed cakes made of fermented rice-and-lentil batter. The first menu item in any South Indian restaurant is invariably idli. Sambar is basically spiced lentil soup. The main ingredient in Sambar is tamarind concentrate. The tanginess of tamarind cuts through soft and bland idlies, making the whole idli-sambar combination a big hit in Indian cuisine.

Fermentation provides mild sourness to idlies and blends well with contrasting flavors, such as spicygun powder, rich coconut chutney, and tangy sambar. People who don’t consume spice can have sugar, milk, or curd with idli. Sambar, however, can also be prepared with moderate use of spices.

Health Benefits:

The fermentation involved in making idlis is extremely beneficial for gut health. Idlis are perhaps one of the world’s healthiest breakfast—they are fermented, steamed, and extremely gentle on the stomach. Idlis are so healthy that, in South India, that they are one the first solid foods introduced to infants.

Sambar is rich in protein and contains antioxidants from tamarind. Drumsticks, also known as Moringa, have anti-bacterial and detoxifying properties. The vegetable,and many other parts of the Moringa tree, have been used in Acient Indian medicine (Ayurveda) from time immemorial.

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How to make Idli Sambar

  1. Soak tamarind in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Blend tamarind with fingers until tamarind is extracted completely.
  3. Strain clear tamarind water.
  4. Heat a pan over medium flame and drizzle some oil.
  5. Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chilies.
  6. Sautee chopped onions until translucent.
  7. Add drumstick chunks and sauté for a minute.
  8. Add diced carrots and potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle turmeric powder and red chili powder and give the vegetables a quick stir.
  10. Dispense tamarind water, turn the pan over high flame, and let simmer.
  11. Add sambar powder.
  12. Add parboiled lentils and cover the pan for a few minutes.

To prepare idlis, grease idli molds with sesame oil, pour idli batter into the molds and steam for 10 to 15 minutes.

Note: Do not fill the molds completely. Ensure that there is room for batter to rise.


March 30th is celebrated as World Idly Day!

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