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Idli Chutney - A Yummy South Indian Breakfast Dish

Updated on July 21, 2015
Idli Chutney
Idli Chutney

Idli Chutney

Idli Chutney is a hugely popular South Indian dish generally served at breakfasts, and an item you're doubtlessly bound to find in most restaurant menus. A great thing about this dish is that it serves up a double whammy, not just in terms of taste, but also from a nutritional point of view. Yeah, folks, oft skipped point, certainly for me anyway, but obvious nevertheless, is that owing to the fact that we steam them idlis (as opposed to frying), they have only very little oil. Thus, they are low in fat and easily digestible.

I have added fenugreek seeds to the batter which gives a wonderful fragrance and fluffiness to the idlis. For the chutney, I have used red chillies which thus colors it up, and adds to the taste as well.The tadka is obviously one the primary things about the chutney and the curry leaves flavors it up a great deal. While I have used dal for my chutney, I have also given the preparation for coconut chutney below.

So, check out the recipe for this yummy delicacy.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 3 people


  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup urad dal (split black gram)
  • 6 or 7 grains of fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 cup chana dal (split bengal gram)
  • 1/2 cup coconut (grated)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/4 inch ginger
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped)
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 pinches of asafoetida
  • Oil
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • 1 inch round ball of tamarind


1. Soak the rice with fenugreek seeds, and dal, separately for 7 to 8 hours each. Then, grind them (separately and) finely, and mix them. Add a little salt to it and keep the batter aside for fermentation, for 7 to 8 hours. After that, mix everything well. So, then, that's your idli batter.

Note: The batter should be of a thick and pouring consistency.

2. For our chutney, dry roast the chana dal and soak it for 3 hours.

3. Soak the tamarind in half a cup of water for an hour. Then take out the pulp by squeezing the soaked tamarind in it's own water.

3. After soaking the dal, grind it with coconut, red and green chillies, ginger, garlic coriander leaves and tamarind pulp. The amount of water you add while grinding, in your blender, depends on your preference for the consistency of the chutney. Add salt to it. So, in it's most basic form, this is our chutney, without the tadka, which we're gonna add later.

Instructions for cooking

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, and on a slow to medium flame, add mustard and cumin seeds. And when they splutter, add asafoetida and curry leaves. When curry leaves splutter, switch off the flame. This is the tadka for the chutney.

2. Now, add this tadka to the chutney and mix it well. Your Chutney is ready. Now, let's look at making the idlis.

3. Oil the idli mold (or mould) lightly. Pour 1 cup-shaped spatula's worth of idli batter into each mold. Add water to the base of your pressure cooker or cooking vessel, and place the mold in it. Close the lid and without the whistle, steam it. Do bear in mind that after the steam starts blowing, steam the idli batter for 15 minutes. Switch off the flame.

4. After 5 minutes of letting it cool, take the mold out and scrape each idli out with a flat spatula.

Note: Do this for the rest of your batter and get all your idlis ready this way.

5. Your steaming hot, delicious and soft idlis are ready.

6. Serve it with the chutney we prepared earlier.

7. Your yummy Idli Chutney is ready.

A chutney variation for you - I have prepared the chutney using chana dal, but if you prefer coconut chutney, here's how you ought to prepare it.

Grind 1 cup of grated, fresh coconut, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, 1/4 inch of ginger and 2 green chillies, finely. Add salt to it and temper it with the tadka we had prepared earlier for our dal chutney. Serve your idlis with this Coconut Chutney, along with Sambar (check out my recipe for Sambar).

Your yummy Idli with Coconut Chutney is ready (check out the image for it below).

Idlis served with Coconut Chutney and Sambar
Idlis served with Coconut Chutney and Sambar

This has always been a favorite of mine and I don't hesitate to state that I often have this for my lunches and dinners as well. It's just so easy to have, mouth watering, fluffy idlis, perfectly steamed, served with delicious chutney, made from dal or coconut, they're just as delicious. This is usually served with sambar which makes the whole dish awesome. Make sure to get the batter done right - I know you will. Oh, one of my favorite items in this dish is the dry chutney powder served with it, called podi.

So, don't wait a bit - make this at your own home, and enjoy.

5 stars from 1 rating of Idli Chutney


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