Mini Idlis in Sambar: Soft fluffy mini idlis dunked in ghee laden flavourful sambar.
I was introduced to this dish at Saravana Bhavan when I came to Madras many years ago. It was so delicious that whenever I went back to the eatery, I would ask only for this, and this remains in my list of Chennai favourites apart from Kanjivarams and strong filter kaapi. Now I am addicted to this brew.
On that note, these are a few err…well, a lot of my favourites that associate with Madras 🙂 in a random order. Today being Madras day, I only thought it befitting to finish this post that had been lying in the drafts for sometime, as a humble mark of respect to a place I call home. Go Madras:
The long stretch of Marina Beach
The heritage site of Mammalapuram
The exhilarating drive along the East Coast Road all the way to beautiful Auroville Pondicherry retreats.
Architecture dotting the cityscape ranging in a wide chronology
The ancient Temples and Cathedrals
Museum and arts gallery
Music and Arts
Guindy national park, Vandalur zoo
The Drama and Movies(life-sized cut-outs are missed 😉 )
The Yacht Club and The Race Course and other Sporting events
Business and job opportunites
Shopping (branded, designer, to bargaining off pantheon street.)
Lastly and certainly not the least for the foodie in me, this place is a gastronomical treat. From Idli-vada-sambar to Sushi and more.
It certainly is one of the best metropolis to live in considering all aspects though I wish the sun could be a little less harsh in the Summers. Winter is a very pleasant time not freezing cold yet you feel a nip in the air.
I may have missed a couple and more of subjects on Chennai, but namma Chennai or Madras definitely caters to all uniquely. ‘Chancey ille’. ‘WHISTLE PODU’ 🙂
On that note, I’ll leave you with the simple recipe to mini idlis if you do have the batter and sambar prepped and ready.
Soft fluffy mini idlis dunked in ghee laden flavourful sambar. I was introduced to this dish at Saravana Bhavan when I came to Madras many years ago. It was so delicious that whenever I went back to the eatery, I would ask only for this. Thus this remains in my list of Chennai favourites apart from
- Steam the batter in greased mini idli moulds in an idli steamer or pressure cooker(do not put the weight on) for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Place in a serving bowl.
- Pour the hot sambar over the mini idlis until fully dunked. Lace with warm ghee and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Enjoy with hot filter kaapi.
- For sambar: Cook about 1/2cup of soaked masoor dal, fat pinch of turmeric, pinch of asafoetida, 1 – 1 1/2cups of water in a stewpot for about 10minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash the lentils. Now add about 6shallots, a quartered tomato, a green chilli, 3-4cloves of garlic, a cup of assorted and chopped vegetables(I used beans, carrot, ash gourd, drumstick, potato). Add 1 tsp of tamarind paste and about a cup of water. Add about 2-3heaped tsps of Sambar powder(freshly ground or storebought). Give it all a good stir. Season with salt. Add a pinch of sugar. For a thinner gravy, add some more water. Simmer for another 10-12minutes. Temper some mustard seeds, pinch of cumin and fenugreek seeds, dry red chilly, a stalk of curry leaves and a dash of asafoetida and sambar powder in ghee and pour over Sambar. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.
- For batter: I made the batter in the grinder using four cups of Idli rice and a cup of good quality plump urad dal. Soaked the rice and lentils separately for about 5hours. First ground the soaked urad dal and few fenugreek seeds with some water to smooth and creamy(takes about 20-30minutes) removed to a vessel. Then added the soaked rice with about 1/2cup of beaten rice and water and ground to a smooth batter. Added to the urad dal batter. Gave it all a good mix. Let it sit overnight for fermentation. Added salt and gave it a light mixing before preparing the idlis.