14 Idlies and a Sambar!

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14 Idlies is the way this dish is called in the restaurants in Madras. These are mini idlies soaked in buckets of Sambar. Being a native of this city, I enjoy my Idlies the way it is eaten natively. Idlies are quite popular in Andhra also but Tamil Nadu is famous for its Idlies and Dosas, and if other states also have this, then they must’ve borrowed it from here!
In restaurants, when you order Idly, you get 2 with loads of Sambar. That’s the way it is supposed to be eaten. And when hubby dear started living here, he was having a peck at the sambar. I told him sternly, when you are in Madras, become a Madrasi. I guess living in this city for the past 8 yrs has finally made him one. These days, he takes only sambar soaked Idlies!
My daughter is another fan of this item but she likes to have hers mixed and mashed in sambar. She asks me in telugu “Annam Laga Chesipettu Ma!” (Mix it like Rice and give me). I too remember eating like this when I was a kid. When I used to take lunch for school, it always used to be breakfast items. As I recollected earlier, Podi smeared Idlies are my favorite, so is my daughter’s. I almost have this silly pride when I feel that my daughter has most of my taste. But I wouldn’t want to confess this out loud! Hubby dear has this little sentiment that his little princess is more like him!
Now coming to this 14 idlies, this is steamed like the regular Idlies, only its a better way to get the kiddo eat her lunch. I find that she completes her lunch box without much ado. So having found this successful, packed this idly tray to my sil for her kids. Heard that they are much more excited to carry their lunch boxes these days!
Amma serves a different sambar with Idlies. This sambar tastes excellent with Idlies and Dosas but not though with Rice.
So here you go!

wondering why the tray looks like this?…well the Idlies are in the plate!!!…:)

14 Idlis

Idly batter
Oil for smearing
Idly tray

Smear the idly tray with Oil. We normally use sesame oil (gingelly/nallanai as in Tamil or Manchinune in Telugu) for Idlies. Take a spoon and fill the Idly tray and stream for 10 mins or till done.

Sambar for idlies

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal – 1 cup
Sambar Onions – 100 gms
Sambar Powder – 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 medium
Tamarind pulp – small lime size
Coriander Leaves – few chopped
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch
Hing or Asafetida a pinch

Final touch

Fresh coconut – 1 Badha (one piece)
Dhania/Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek – few

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – few
Garlic – 4 pods

Method to Prepare:

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. This makes it cook fast. Put it on for 2 whistles. Remove and let it cool down.

Soak tamarind and extract pulp from it.

Soak Shallot (Sambar onions) for 5 mins, this way the skin comes out easily. Chop Onions and tomatoes.

Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sautรฉ till they are cooked, add tomatoes, Sambar powder and salt. Cook till the tomatoes are soft.

Then add the tamarind pulp and water. Let it come to a boil. Then add the cooked toor dal. The dal should be well cooked. We usually mash with pappu guthi, which a long wooden stick like ladle.

Cook the sambar on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well.

Meanwhile, heat a small pan with oil. Roast the fresh coconut, dhania and fenugreek. Make a paste of it once its cool.

Add this paste to the boiling sambar and put it on high flame for 2 mins.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Take the bowl which has the mini idles, pour the hot sambar. Do not cover if you want to pack this for lunch.

After a while, this is ready to be eaten. Normally my idles are soft but this makes it extra soft and smooth.

This is my daughter’s Lunch Box, which she was very happy to share with the camera!

Sending this to Sharmi who is hosting the JFI: Rice. I had planned on sending so many for this event. But couldn’t manage. Guess Sharmi will be happy!


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14 Idlies and a Sambar!
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  1. 14 idly with sambar and that touch of ghee on top?.. Heaven… Kids seem to really love the kutty idlys.. My kids too just eat so many when they are made in this mini size.

  2. those kutti idlies are so cute.. i got the mould this time when i wen to india. i thik it is so sweet that ur daughter requests how you plate her idlies!!

  3. Idlis or dosas are genrally reserved for our weekend breakfat. I love idlis soaked in sambar and chutney is also integral part of the breakfast tht day.

  4. ohhhh this is my favorite. I took some pics to blog about mini idlis long back but the pics didnt come so well. I love it in hotels when they serve with some ghee on top. yummy yum.

  5. hey u both r like me. i too used to mash my idli sambar and i can’t eat idli without sambhar luv it.i love these mini idlis.sambhar is my all time fav.luv ya

  6. my mom used to send me also the exact sized idlies.. i am not a huge fan of idly though.. sambhar is the only accompaniment that makes it bearable.. and karam podi of course ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh Srivalli I want to come over and have those idlis :). The way you have described it, soaked in sambhar my mouth is watering ๐Ÿ™‚
    I liked the sambhar recipe too.I am trying it for sure. So your post is bookmarked ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Srivalli, I’m anxious to taste this sambhar which is good with idlies but not rice! I usually eat my sambhar plain (confession time) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the story of your daughter asking for it mashed like rice, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thats nice to know Lakshmi

    Thanks Lathamma ..thats nice to know

    So glad to hear that Bee.

    Yes, me too…Laavanya

    ehmm…thats what your mom says too…lakshmi

    thanks Rajitha

    Agree with you Suganya

    Thanks for liking them Sukanya

    ahha…but if you count the lunch box, there are only 14!. I ate the remaining 4 Sia

    Thats nice Raaga

    Agree with you Kamini..nice to see that you have changed your profile..

    Thanks Madhu…nice of you to drop by…

    Thats great to know Pooja

    Thanks Sirisha

    Will look forward to your post Sharmi

    Thats nice to hear ramya

    hahha…thats good Nags

    You are most welcome archana…will look forward to you trying this and letting me know abt it…

    hhaha…then you try this and let me know Linda

  10. Cynthia, there is nothing wrong about!, hop to my place, will serve you a plate full!

    Padma, I have a 6 plate one. This of course is the small ones that make a 18 small ones

    Viji, thanks

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