What is idli sambar? How to make it-full process.

Are you looking for a delicious, healthy and easy to make dish? Look no further than idli sambar! This traditional South Indian dish is an incredibly popular breakfast item, but it can be enjoyed at any time of day. With its unique combination of spices and flavors, idli sambar is sure to be a hit with everyone in your family. In this article, we will explore the history of this dish, its ingredients, and how to make it. So, let’s get started!Idli Sambar, South Indian cuisine, Idli, Sambar, traditional, vegetarian.


For Idli-

  • 2 cups idli rice
  • 1 cup urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for soaking and grinding

For Sambar

  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beans, drumsticks, etc.)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • Few curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for cooking

Instructions –

  1. Soaking and Grinding the Idli Batter
  2. Rinse the idli rice and urad dal separately a few times under cold water.
  3. In two separate bowls, soak the idli rice and urad dal with fenugreek seeds in enough water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. After soaking, drain the water from the urad dal and transfer it to a blender. Add some fresh water and grind until you get a smooth and fluffy batter. The consistency should be thick and airy.
  5. Transfer the urad dal batter to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Now, drain the water from the idli rice and transfer it to the blender. Grind it into a slightly coarse paste. The texture should be grainy.
  7. Add the idli rice batter to the mixing bowl with the urad dal batter. Mix well until both batters are combined.
  8. Add salt to taste and mix again. The salt helps in fermentation.
  9. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the batter ferment in a warm place for about 8 to 10 hours or overnight. The fermentation process may take longer in colder climates.
  10. After fermentation, the batter will rise and double in volume. Give it a gentle stir to release any excess air.

Preparing Sambar-

  1. first of all Rinse the tour dal under cold water and transfer it to a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water, turmeric powder, and a few drops of oil. Cook on medium heat for about 4 to 5 whistles, or until the dal is soft and mushy.
  2. then, heat oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat.
  3. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Stir for a few seconds.
  4. Add chopped onions and slit green chilies. Saute until the onions turn translucent.
  5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  6. Add the mixed vegetables and salt for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add sambar powder and red chili powder (if desired). Stir well to coat the vegetables with the spices.
  8. Pour in about 3 to 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sambar simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and flavors are well combined.
  9. Once the toor dal is cooked, open the pressure cooker and mash the dal using a spoon or whisk until smooth.
  10. Add the mashed dal to the simmering sambar and mix well.
  11. Adjust the consistency of the sambar by adding more water if needed.
  12. Season with salt according to your taste preferences. Allow the sambar to simmer for another 5 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

Preparing idli-

  1. Grease the idli plates with oil or ghee.
  2. Pour a ladleful of the fermented idli batter into each of the greased idli molds, filling them about 3/4th full.
  3. Place the idli plates in a steamer or idli cooker. Steam on medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the idlis are cooked through. To check if they are done, insert a toothpick into the center of an idli; it should come out clean.
  4. Once the idlis are cooked, remove the plates from the steamer and let them cool for a minute or two.
  5. Gently remove the idles from the molds using a spoon or a blunt knife. They should come out easily without sticking.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining batter until all the idlis are cooked.


  • Serve the hot idles with a generous ladleful of sambar and enjoy the authentic South Indian flavour.
  • You can also serve idles with coconut chutney and/or tomato chutney for added taste.
  • Idlis are traditionally eaten with the hands, so feel free to dig in and relish the flavours.

Conclusion –

Making idli sambar at home might seem intimidating at first, but with this step-by-step recipe, you can easily recreate the authentic flavors of South India in your kitchen. The soft and fluffy idlis paired with the aromatic and flavorful sambar create a perfect harmony of taste.

Whether you enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, idli sambar is a versatile dish that is loved by people of all ages. So, gather the ingredients, follow the instructions, and treat yourself to a delightful South Indian culinary experience.

Enjoy idli samber-

Are idlis gluten-free?

Yes, idles are gluten-free as they are made from rice and urad dal, which are naturally gluten-free ingredients.

Can I store leftover idli batter for later use?

Absolutely! The leftover idli batter can be refrigerated for a few days. Make sure to cover it properly to prevent any contamination.

Can I freeze idlis for future consumption?

Yes, you can freeze cooked idlis. Just place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer. When ready to eat, steam them again to reheat.

What is the best side dish for idlis other than sambar?

Apart from sambar, coconut chutney, tomato chutney, and gunpowder are popular side dishes that go well with idlis.

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