Posts Tagged ‘South Indian breakfast’

Mini Idlis in Sambar

This is again another popular item in “Saravana Bhavan”. These are baby idlis that are just bite sized, miniature version of regular Idlis. They would be apt for soaking in Sambar and enjoyed as “Sambar idlis”.My daughter loves the baby idlis.

Baby idli plateNote:

The recipes for Idlis and Sambar are posted in my previous posts.

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South Indian Breakfat

In South India, the traditional way of serving food is in”Vaazhai ilai” or plantain leaf . Plantain leaf has a nice aroma that would enhance the food. Living in the US, ceramics and paper plates have become part and parcel of our lives. Last year, when we had gone to India for a vacation, we visited “Chidhambaram” -Nataraja temple. My grandfather’s brother lives there. They hosted us and served  a meal in the leaf. It was an artificial banana leaf made out of paper( Just like paper plates). We could not make out the difference. It was just like an original leaf. I liked them and bought 100 leaves for 100 rupees. Literally 1 leaf is 1 rupee. It makes me feel like I’m in India, ………..if i don’t look out the window to see the snow in Boston.

Saravana Bhavan” is a  very famous family restaurant in south India-TamilNadu. There is nobody that would have not eaten “IDLI, VADA, PONGAL  set” from there. The picture above is how it would be, except the picture above is devoid of Vadai. It would be served with 3 chutneys, milagapodi and sambar. Although, these days instead of serving in the whole leaf, the leaf is cut in a round shape and placed on a metal plate and served.

Tri color chutney

Tri color chutney

I have posted the recipe for all the dishes on the plantain leaf in my previous posts. The Tricolor chutney, Saffron, White and Green, reminds me of “Indian National Flag”.

Indian National Flag-Jai Hind!

Indian National Flag-Jai Hind!

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Venn Pongal

“Shankranthi” is celebrated as Pongal in Tamilnadu. It is also the harvest festival. During the 3 day festival, Chakara pongal (sweet) and Venn pongal(Spicy) are prepared at home and offered to Surya Bhagavan-“The Sun”. Venn Pongal is very healthy and is a frequent menu at home. It can be served with Gotsu,Sambar, Coconut chutney,Rojapoo chutney,Hot lime pickle. 


  • Ponni or Jasmine Rice- 1 cup.
  • Split Moong Dhal-1/2 cup.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Turmeric powder- a bit.
  • Asafoetida- a pinch.
  • Ginger pieces- a few.
  • Cashew nuts-6.
  • Black pepper whole-10.
  • Pepper jeera coarse powder-1 tblsp.
  • Curry leaves-1 arc.


  1. Dry roast moong dhal until a nice aroma starts coming.
  2. Soak the moong dhal in water for 10 min.
  3. Wash the rice and add it to soaked moong dhal, add 4 cups of water,turmeric and pressure cook till 3 whistles.
  4. Take a kadai-put ghee-add all the ingredients  mentioned above for seasoning one by one and add it to the cooked rice.
  5. Mix them well  with salt and serve hot with a little ghee.

Venn pongal with a drop of ghee would actually melt in your mouth…..

Note: Adding salt would increase the boiling point and moong dhal may not get cooked properly. So, add salt after the rice and dhal are cooked. Venn Pongal is a dish, where rice is cooked really soft.

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“Maligapoo Madiri”- is an expression used to describe idlis which are as soft as a Jasmine flower. Yes,this is the Most famous dish of south India that is as soft as a jasmine and melts in your mouth. There is no household that would not make this dish. It’s a typical breakfast dish that  is easy to make, provided the dough is ready. Some households have this as a staple breakfast. It’s such a comfort food, even when somebody falls sick or running a  fever, they would be allowed to  have Idli’s because, its so easy to digest. This is one of the dishes, that is appealing to both kids and adults.

Ultra table top grinder


I have a lot of North Indian friends and friends from East and West India, that always ask me “how to make Idlis? “Things that are simple to me could be of interest to others. So, thought, why not post the very famous Idli. Idli’s range from Kanjeevaram,menthya idli, plain rice idli to Kushboo Idlis. I am going to be posting the simple regular Idli. Idli preparation needs some prior planning. The rice and Urad dhal has to be soaked for 8-9 hrs and ground to paste and allowed to ferment. So, if you are planning to make Idlis tomorrow, you have to start the preparation today. But  when the dough is ready, Idlis can be made in a snap!                                                                   

Idli Steamer

Idli Steamer


  1. Preboiled Rice -Idli rice or Idli Rava-3cups.
  2. Whole Urad Dhal-white-1 cup.
  3. Salt-1tspn. 


  1. Soak  rice and urad dhal  for 8-9 hrs.
  2. Grind them to a smooth paste with salt added to it. 
  3. Allow it to ferment- if required  a little yeast can be added in the winter time.
  4. Use the top layer of the fermented dough for Idlis and the bottom layer can be used for Dosas.
  5. The Idli plates can be coated with a little oil , so Idlis come out without sticking.
  6. Steam the idlis in a idli plate in a cooker.
  7. To check if the idlis are done, just take a small spoon and insert in the center.If it comes out clean, the idlis are done. You can also tell the idlis are done with the aroma.
  8. Enjoy them with a drop pf gingelly oil and milaga podi-or idli podi , chutney and sambar.     

Idli Milagapodi recipe from my Mom     

  • Channa Dhal-1/2 cup. 
  • Urad dhal-1/2 cup.
  • Dry red chillies-2cups.
  • Black sesame seeds-2 tsp.
  • Salt-2tspn.
  • Asafoetida-1tspn. 

Keep a little gingelly oil in a pan-roast all the ingredients. Sesame can be added at last.Grind them to a coarse powder and store in a container. Use it with gingelly oil.

I got both Idli grinder and steamer from the US.

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