Trust the South Indians when it comes to whipping up healthy yet tasty meals. Yes, we’re talking about the ever so ubiquitous idli, one of the most loved South Indian staple that screams all things health. Having garnered such a strong fan following for itself, in India and abroad, the humble idli has its very own day to celebrate its goodness. World Idli Day, celebrated on March 30, is when this rice-based dish is paid an ode for being one of the healthiest foods (not us, but it’s the World Health Organisation saying this!). Traditionally made using rice and urad dal and evolving over the years to suit global palettes, the idli has come a long way. However, nothing amounts to a complete south Indian meal experience than a plate of freshly steamed idlis with its must-have accompaniment – sambar. The oh-so aromatic sambar is a lentil-based stew made with an array of vegetables. Made using dal, a good source of proteins especially for vegetarians and vegans, a mouthful of this savoury soup packs a number of health benefits.
Light, fluffy and warm, idlis or rice cakes, as known to our western counterparts, have travelled the distance from south India to establish a place of importance in almost all Indian homes. And why not? A 20 gm idli has just 39 calories, which means an average person can have a good 52 idlis to meet their daily calorie requirement. Traditionally prepared with a batter of fermented rice and urad dal, you can up your cooking game and make variants of idli recipe without compromising on nutrition or flavour. Click here to discover all the secrets to making perfectly soft and fluffy idlis each and every time. And for a detailed guide to all things idli, click here.
For an even healthier idli recipe, you could give this multigrain idli recipe a try. Follow Chef Ranveer Brar’s simple instructions in this Hindi recipe video to make the idli recipe at home.
An everyday affair in almost all South Indian homes, sambar recipe is usually made with tur dal (some sambar recipes suggest using masoor dal or red lentils, or even a mix of dals at times) and an assortment of veggies, depending on your choice or availability. The key ingredient in the sambar recipe that lends all the flavour to a bowl of sambar lies in the aromatic and flavourful sambar powder. If you want to skip the store-bought ready-to-use sambar powders, this homemade sambar powder which can be prepared in under 10 minutes could be a life-saver. While it’s true that each of the south Indian states boast of their very own secret sambar powder recipe, the uniqueness of each style of sambar depends on the souring agents. If you are new to south Indian cooking, look no further than this step-by-step guide to make some mean sambar. Once you’ve mastered the basic sambar recipe, you could better it by giving these tips and tricks a try.
Here’s a step-by-step Hindi recipe video by Gurdip Kohli Punj to make sambar at home:
Click here for the ingredient details and step-by-step recipe.
Also read: All you need to know about dal tadka
More Ways with Leftovers
You gave in to your craving for garama garam idlis and a bowl of sambar by making more than your tummy can take in. Wondering what to do with the leftovers? Instead of letting it sit at the back of your refrigerator for days, or simply forcing yourself to have the same idlis and sambar for days, here are some fun ways you can up your cooking game and make the most of your leftover idlis and sambar. From an idli salad to an idli pizza, you can instantly upgrade that plate of steamed idlis. Click here for more such ways to give your idlis a yummy makeover. Coming to the sambar, instead of simply having it plain or with a bowl of rice, you could get a bit adventurous in the kitchen. From sambar masala rice to sambar parathas and upma, there are a million ways. Steal ideas from here, to turn your leftover sambar into something a bit exciting each and every time those hunger pangs kick in.
Must Try South Indian Dishes
Why simply stay limited to idli, sambar and chutney when south India offers a wide range of nutritious breakfast staples such as dosas and uttapam, which can be served alongside an assortment of chutneys and sambar. Here are some more simple and healthy south Indian breakfast options. Besides, south India’s affair with rice is not something unknown of. Apart from dishing out idlis and dosas, which never fail to go out of fashion, there are some other lesser-known but equally tasty rice dishes prepared in various parts of the south. Whether you’re looking for options to serve at breakfast, something savoury, a light snack or something to indulge your sweet tooth in—rice makes anything and everything possible. From neer dosa, chakodi to pathiri and ela ada here are some of the south Indian delicacies made using rice.
Also read: All you need to know about chutney
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