5 Idli Variations To Add Variety To Your Breakfast
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There is nothing quite like a hot idli with coconut chutney and sambhar on a pleasant morning. The flavours complement each other so wonderfully; no wonder this dish is loved by people all over the country. Idli is the quintessential breakfast of South India or even India as a whole. These fluffy, soft steamed rice cakes that are made with fermented, ground rice and lentil batter are everyone's favourite. As they are made by steaming the fermented batter, these rice cakes are on the healthier side. A win-win situation.

Idli is made by soaking the rice and lentils and then grinding them separately. Once they are completely ground, they are mixed together and flavoured with salt. Later, the fermentation begins, and this leads to a batter that is larger in volume. Once the preparation is done, the batter is then placed in an idli-maker, a piece of cookware specifically made for making idlis and getting their traditional shape. The batter is then steamed in the cookware, resulting in soft and pillowy idlis.

Although the most common idli is made with rice batter, there are other options you can always experiment with. With the likes of ragi and rava, this dish is filled with many varieties. Whether you are bored of the same old idli or just want to explore the different possibilities, the following idlis will definitely help you get started.

Ragi Idli

Ragi idli, made with finger millet (ragi), provides a nutritious twist to the traditional idli. Its primary ingredients include ragi flour, rice, urad dal, and salt (or rock salt for preference). The batter can be refrigerated for up to two days and is versatile for making dosa as well.

These ragi idlis are best enjoyed with coconut chutney. With ragi in place of rice as the primary ingredient, the nutritional value of these idlis increases in comparison to before while also adding a distinct brown colour to the idlis.

Oats Idli

This idli features a blend of oats, urad dal, rava, curd, and a medley of herbs like coriander leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, and more. Unlike traditional time-intensive idli preparations, this one is swift as it does not require fermentation. Oat idlis tend to have higher dietary fibre than rice idlis, thus aiding in weight loss.

Oats idli is a healthier twist on traditional Indian rice idly. It's made by blending oats into a fine powder, which forms the base of the batter. A tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and urad dal is added for flavour. Herbs and spices like coriander and ginger are introduced to enhance taste.

This mixture is combined with rava (semolina) and oat flour to create the dry batter. After cooling, yoghurt and water are added to achieve the desired batter consistency. The batter rests for better texture and flavour. Finally, it's steamed to make idlis. Serve these idlis with tomato chutney or idli sambar for the best taste and experience.

Rava Idli

Rava takes the spotlight, making this suji idli incredibly light and soft.  You can even enhance the batter with grated carrots for a touch of sweetness and added nutrition, although that's entirely your choice. Customise it to your heart's content by incorporating various veggies or none at all. The key ingredients include ghee, water, yoghurt, spices like curry leaves, ginger, chilli, hing, coriander leaves, and more, along with baking soda for leavening, and, of course, rava.

This idli has more of a crumbly texture than regular idlis, so if you are someone who enjoys such texture, this idli is for you. You can serve this idli with a variation of the regular coconut chutney by adding coriander, which will give it a fresher flavour.

Sama Chawal Idli

Though named sama chawal, it's not true rice but barnyard millet. It's also known as "vrat ke chawal" in parts of India. This variation is perfect for those with gluten sensitivities or vegans seeking a nutritious meal. This is a fast-friendly dish that pairs beautifully with a coconut chutney and vegetable sagoo, a gravy with mixed vegetables like carrots, beans, potatoes, and more. You'll require sama chawal, baking soda, rock salt, sabudana, and water for this idli. Feel free to experiment by adding your preferred veggies to the batter.

What separates this variation from the typical rice idli is that you can consume these idlis even on vrat or fast, making them an essential dish to master. Sambar and coconut chutney are well-liked accompaniments to serve with sama chawal idli.

Barley Idli

If you're seeking ways to incorporate barley into your diet, try this soft and spongy barley idli Recipe. Steamed South Indian Tiffin or Breakfast preparation with barley, rice, and lentils that uses little oil. If you're new to using barley as an ingredient, this Idli recipe is a great place to start. Eating barley idlis in place of rice idlis will help you get more protein and dietary fibre.

The ingredients you will need for this idli are barley, urad dal, rice, and salt to taste. You can also add fenugreek seeds if you prefer. These idlis are best enjoyed with tomato-peanut chutney.