Idli with Vengaya Sambar | Basic Idli Recipe with Onion Sambar

Sharing is caring!

I remember always having an undying love for Idlis, maybe because I love eating the Idlis with Podi or because my brother hated them. Even now he hates Idlis. During childhood, it was always like this, if he likes something, I will not like it and made a point to always pick a fight with him. But he never budges for anything. Oh how I longed to have a sibling who will do the proper thing and fight with me.
I used to hear tales from my friends about their fights with their sister or brother and I used to go back home with the built up fury to pick a fight with my brother. But everything goes flat because he just never falls pray to that. I had a very dull childhood with no fights with him nor any other dispute. This went to such a greater extent that I used to argue with my mom, saying he never fights and I was feeling left out of the drama. She used to find all this very amusing and asked if I purposely deny eating what he likes.
Yes, he used to like ven pongal, so I never liked it and almost never ate it until high school. Name a vegetable he doesn’t like and I will love that. He is a very reserved, calm person and of course, now I know what a wonderful person he is, but during childhood, I hated him because he wasn’t like the normal brother you would expect and fight with me. So all you gals and guys who have memories of sibling fighting, I envy you all!
I guess the mind of a kid is strange to imagine. I wonder on these myself and laugh how silly it is to fight with Amma because my brother never fought. But my liking to Idly may have started for various reasons but the simple fact remains that I still like it very much and plan to have it for atleast two days in a week for breakfast. This is the most simplest, healthiest and easiest breakfast to make in a jiffy. I hope you have guessed to which event this is going to
For Idly, we always make only onion sambar with coconut chutney. Amma makes a red chilli chutney which I simply love. It’s just red chillies, with ghee and Idli, it’s a topper! Since I don’t have a picture I will save that for another day. But let me talk about our onion sambar. We don’t like any other vegetable added to the sambar we make for Idlis, it’s plain Sambar, Onions Sambar! As I have said many times, my in laws love the idlis with the sambar and chutney that Amma makes, so the first day of their arrival is always a bucketful of Sambar and Idlis for them.


Parboiled Rice – 4 cups
Urud dal – 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds – 5 nos (opt)
Salt to taste
How to make Idlis
Wet grinder method
Clean and soak both the rices and Urud dal for 5-6 hrs separately. Grind the Urud dal first by adding enough water. You need to grind till it comes out like a butter. Remove, then grind rice to a fine paste, making sure you add required water in middle. Then add the urud dal paste to the grinder again and let it run for 5 more mins. Add salt
Let it ferment for 10 hrs or overnight.
Next morning, first thing you can do is to mix the batter once again and let it rest. For best soft idlis, don’t mix again when you pour into the moulds. Just gently pour down into each mould. Keep for 15 mins for getting cooked and serve hot with Vengaya Sambar!

Vengaya Sambar ~ Small Onion Sambar!

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

For Seasoning

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

How to make Onion Sambar / Vengaya Sambar for Idlis
Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. Put it on for 2 whistles or till the dal is cooked. 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. We normally don’t chop the onions very finely. It remains as big bulbs. Chop Onions and tomatoes.
Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sauté 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.
Cook the sambar on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
This plate of Hot Idlies with Spicy Onion Sambar is our healthy eats in the morning. So this is on its way to Tasty Palettes. Suganya wont say no for healthy idlis I am sure.

Idli with Vengaya Sambar | Basic Idli Recipe with Onion Sambar

Course Breakfast, Dinner, Main Dish - Gravies
Cuisine Tamil Nadu
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

You may also like


  1. Chinna vengayam sambar is my favourite and we had it for breakfast today with rava idli – another favourite…my brother loved to eat period, so there wasnt much to fight about food – we fought about everything else! 🙂

  2. delicious!! my combo goes a different thoug..i love idlis with sugar and ghee( the way they make kids eat idlis :):)) and dosas with vengaya sambar!

  3. It was the same with me and my brother. since there was 4 yrs age difference, we never fought. He was the quiet sort and I was always willing to give in, so we never fought.

    Love idlis.

  4. I love idlis and can’t remember a time when I didn’t like them! 🙂 Yday I came across the small onions, now I know what I’m gonna make with them. It will be a long while since I ate the small onion sambar, it was a regular thing back in India.

  5. wow idli looks so nice. i been trying to make idli from past 1 year but never got good idli, tried all website method, all tips but nothing working out, yesterday also i tried and failed badly.

    it have very less ingredient very less procedure but not turing out good, i am really upset

  6. idli looks perfect.

    i hv doubt some use dal & rice in the rarion of 1:2, 1:3 and 1:4. what is the difference, is any difference it makes on idly, how? if you know pls explain

  7. so nice, very nice looking idly.

    how idlu will be so white, is it quality of rice or the grinding the dal to smooth makes difference in colour. mine never be so white, i used idly rava, idly rice and boiled rice never got this colour, i even washed rice for 10-15 times till water go clear but still not got good white colour.

    one more thing, can u pls tell me the consistency of the idly batter, as i always go wrong with it, and i even don’t know whether mine is correct, i always get the consistency of mango milk shake thickness, is it ok or still it should be more hick


  8. satya, yeah you got it right..thats what I have always felt that to be..:D…thanks

    Nags, ehmm..another one of the clan!…thanks though

    Padmaja, glad to know noel loves idlis…thank you

    Asha, yes you are right…

    Rachel, oh yeah..thats great…I envy you ok!

    Lavanya, thanks for the nice words…

    Happy cook, thats the way to eat them right!

    Miri.,..hahha..thats you guys must’ve had lots of fun!

    Suganya, thanks for hosting this event!

    Manju, ehmm…you are still a kid alright!

    Anon, Kindly leave your name, so that I know whom I talking too…thanks…try this proportion…it always comes out soft and nice

    Anon, would be nice to know your initials….thanks…As I have given Parboiled rice is 4 and urud dal is 1. This has always worked well for us. More dal will make it hard. and also there should be enough water

    sharada, thank you..Quality of rice does make a difference. But you should not clean it so many times. Just about 2 or 3 times, its enough. Let it soak for min 6 hrs and after grinding, let it ferment for overnight. We always use regular idly rice. we never use idly rava. First grind the urud dal, frequently adding little water. It shouldn’t get heated up or very tight. You will see it coming out as a butter like texture. this is when you can remove it. Then add the rice and again keep adding water in frequent intervals so that it gets ground evenly. The batter should not be coarse. When you touch the batter, you shouldn’t feel any granules. At this stage, you can add the urud dal and again run for 5 mins. In my grinder, for 4 cups rice and 1 cup urud, it takes about 45 mins app. rice alone should be running for 15 to 20 mins. Yeah, the consistency can be like mango milk shake. When you let it ferment overnight, next morning it should have got double. Only then it means it has fermented well. atleast a hour before you can mix once again and let it rest. Just scoop and pour down as a one shot for soft idlis

    Try this proportion and let me know…which method do you follow to grind?..

    Uma, thank you!

    vimmi, nice to know abt your brother…thank you

    Seema, thank y ou..yeah meddu vada would’ve made all the difference right

    Namratha, glad you are going to make that sambar…thank you

    swati, thanks

  9. hi, thanks a lot for your nice and explaining everything in details, thank you very much, i will grind in mixie, i live in australia and i keep the batter for 1 and half day for fermentation. mine idly programme will start like this, thursday afternoon i soak dal and rice, i will grind in the night, keep it for fermentation for next whole day ie friday and make idly on saturday morning, then also mine never ferment like all your double in size, always it smell sour and i make idly

  10. sharada, why don’t you try leaving it in the oven with the pilot light on?, this might work right. Or maybe you can preheat the oven to a moderate temp and then leave the batter to ferment in it. I haven’t tried this method, but it might work as I have heard my friends in cooler places do this.

    also keeping it for so long will sour the batter!

  11. I have not yeat dared make idlis from scratch….I am still the in the packeted idlis attempt :o( But I am hoping to get over the fear and try it out. I will let you know once I make my very own home made idlis. Thanks for sharing the recipe :o)

  12. yes i treid that too keeping it in oven, preheating, but no, i really don’t know where i am going wrong, anyways i will try with your method lets see, i will update my idly making expereince.

    one more request when u do idly again, pls post the catter photo as i need to know the consistency,pls

  13. Hi Srivalli,
    I came across ur blog first time and saw ur yummy idlis. Please tell me that parboiled rice…tht means how long shud I cook rice…?
    Awaiting 4 ur reply.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Hey…Very nice explanation for the idlis!…Please do clarify one doubt. Are you getting soft idlis even on 2nd day with your procedure?
    Bcoz whenver I make idlis with rice, it bedomes rock hard on 2nd day…..
    Please clarfy.
    Deepthi Pullela Gared

  15. Deepthi Thank you, Yes we do refrigerate the batter after we make and prepare a day after. Meaning when we make idlis on Monday, we next make it on Wednesday or so.

    Even in this way the idlis will be soft.

    Getting the right texture depends on lot of factor, not to mention the place where you live.

    It's normally advised never to stir the batter too much.
    Scoop the amount you require for the first day, refrigerate the rest right away. The next time you do, remove from fridge at least 30 -40 mins ahead, stir well and keep it aside. This way you are bringing the batter to somewhat room temp, and also stirring makes sure you mix the yeast/enzymes well.

    The batter has to be thick, this way it will rise well and also be soft.

    Do try and let me know.

  16. Hi
    Ur blog looks really nice. What about the procedure if I am using a mixie as I don't have a grinder and it never comes out right for me?

  17. When my niece told me that my sambar is having fans i thought i will experiments with it and make it in more variety. and then i found your. i was just surprised. vengaya sambar. wow. this i will try day after tomorrow itself. thanks for sharing such a good one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating