You know about Idlis and love them, right? But can you think of idlis being eaten like soft noodles? Folks, it's Idiyappam, the fine noodle-like idlis that are being talked about here. However, the real happiness gushes in when these are savoured with Kerala-style Egg Curry. The simple Idiyappams prepared by making rice flour dough and squeezing it like noodles from the idiyappam makers, appear as attention-worthy salty soft and white sewai. While the Egg Curry, prepared in multiple steps with boiling potatoes and eggs, grating coconut and straining coconut milk, and preparing masala with whole spices, onions and green chillies is worth all the effort. All in all the curry made in rich coconut milk gravy along with slightly mashed potatoes make the egg curry a thoroughly relishing treat.

Idiyappams may sound new to some North Indian fellows, but they have been a part of South Indian cuisine for ages. Food Historian K. T. Acharya traces the origin of Idiyappam to the 1st century AD in an ancient Tamil country according to the references in the Sangam literature. The Tamil word Idiyappam would seem to a layperson, a combination of Idlis meaning beating and Appams meaning pancakes, and so it is. It is rightly formed by pressing the rice flour dough into noodles, woven into a flat disc-like shape and steamed to form divine-tasting thin soft strands of idiyappam. 

They are also called noolappam or nool puttu in Malayalam for their appearance, wherein nool means strings or thread. Made with three simple ingredients: rice flour, salt and water, Noolappam can be seen as a healthier and evolved version of noodles. In Karnataka, it is known as Otto Shavige and it is also termed semige in Tulu in Mangalore and Udupi. When eaten with coconut milk-based spicy and flavorful egg curry this becomes a tastier delight. But the dish is not just confined to India and is a staple food and popular throughout Southeast Asia including Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Ingredients:

For Egg Curry

4 -5 eggs

2 potatoes 

3 onions

3-4 green chillies

3-4 sprigs of curry leaves

1 ginger 

7-8 garlic 

1 cup grated coconut 

3 cardamoms 

1 cinnamon 

1-2 star anise 

2-3 cloves 

½ tbsp turmeric powder 

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tbsp garam masala

½ tbsp pepper powder 

1 -2 tsp salt 

1-2 tbsp oil

For Idiyappam

2 cups rice flour 

1-2 cups of hot water 

1 cup grated coconut

Method:

For making Egg Curry, boil potatoes and boil eggs separately in pans and not in a cooker.

Then crush ginger and garlic into a coarse paste and set aside.

For getting coconut milk,  grate the coconut, add a little water to it and squeeze them well.

Strain the coconut milk and keep it aside.

Peel off the boiled eggs and potatoes when done. Slice the eggs into halves, and cut the potatoes into small slices

In a wok, heat coconut oil, add cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and cloves, and saute for a second.

Add chopped onion and green chillies and saute them well.

Add curry leaves and saute for a second.

Then add crushed ginger and garlic paste, and saute till shallots become translucent.

Then add all the powdered spices.

Saute until the raw smell of the spices completely goes off.

Add some salt and combine them well.

Pour a sufficient amount of water and mix them well.

Add boiled potato pieces and coconut milk, mix them well and cook.

Then add some salt for taste and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Finally, introduce boiled egg slices and cook for a few minutes.

Turn off the flame and keep it aside.

For preparing Idiyappam, firstly heat water in an idli steamer.

Then in a bowl take rice flour and hot water little by little and mix both thoroughly to form a smooth dough.

Fill this dough into the idiyappam maker, press and close the lid.

Then sprinkle the previously grated coconut in each of the idli moulds or plates.

 Then squeeze the dough in the idiyappam maker over the idli plate in a circular motion to get noodle-like threads all over.

Steam these well for 10 to 15 minutes until done.

Serve the tasty idiyappam with egg curry.

Try Egg Curry With Idiyappam for dinner. Though the recipe appears a bit lengthy and unfamiliar to the north Indian taste palette, the easily available ingredients and some common traditional cooking norms do make it a sorted affair. The nutrition of eggs and aromatic flavour of coconut and ground spices make it an unskippable option.