If a contest is held to choose South India's favourite breakfast recipe, then the soft and fluffy idli would definitely be crowned the winner. From Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, idli and fragrant sambar has taken over the South Indian homes. However, if there is a ‘capital’ for idli, then it would surely be the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Just like Kerala has varieties of fish curries, every region in Tamil Nadu has their own variety of idli.
Chennai is a hub of traditional and new age idli shops that sells the good old dish nonstop. Murugan idli and Idli factory are two of the most popular idli joints in the capital city. The recent idli gate scandal, when a British professor called idli the most boring dish, has brought together South Indians from all over the world to defend their favourite dish.
It is an impossible task to find out how many varieties of idlis are available in the whole of Tamil Nadu. Some people say that there are at least 185 varieties of them. Here are some of the popular ones.
This is the classic steamed breakfast dish that is enjoyed with sambar and chutney.
This variety is the saviour for the diabetic patients. Oats powder and carrot are the main ingredients.
Nutritious and delicious, thinai idli is made with millet.
Instead of rice, semolina is used to make this idli.
One of the most popular food items in Chennai, it comes with a spicy chutney powder.
Tamil Nadu has a special love for actress turned politician Khushboo. So, they have named an idli after her to express their admiration.
In Chennai, idli and sambar is truly a match made in culinary heaven. However, the idli lovers of the vibrant city are all game to try out different side dishes like the classic coconut chutney, spicy fish curry or even mutton curry.
Healthy and tasty
Nutritionists say idli is the perfect dish to enjoy in case you are trying to shed some extra flab. Idli is packed with nutrients and is light on the stomach as well. As oil or other greasy ingredients aren’t added, steamed idlis are the perfect breakfast dish to kick start a day on a healthy note. Besides, idli has high protein and low calories.
Sojan Joseph who works in the IT sector in Chennai has no qualms in expressing his abundant love for idli. “No burger can give you the satisfaction and joy when you dunk soft idli in sambar and enjoy it. Welcome to Chennai where you can eat as much idlis without getting bored. You could enjoy it with chutney, sambar, fish curry, mutton curry or whatever you like,” Sojan signs off.