There’s more than a few things about Indian food that makes it one of the absolutely best cuisine in the world. Unparalleled in taste and unmatched in ingredients, diversive in essence and dynamic in interpretation, perhaps what makes the culinary fare from this part of the world an all- loved indulgence is that there is no dearth of healthy options to choose from for a gastronomic experience that can lead any foodie to ultimate salvation! So inclusive is the amalgamation of the hale and the hearty in Indian food that you can go eating to your heart’s content and yet revel in a totally sprightly existence.
Not to say that everything India brings to your palate is guilt free. Deep fried samosas, sugar loaded mithaais, carb laden biryanis, calorie laced gravies, fats abundant snacks and a host of other lipsmacking offerings are far from healthy. But when it comes to be hale and hearty without being bland, trust us to endow the world with them all. One such especially healthy delight that stems from the southern part of our country is the versatile delicacy idli, which commands so much awe that there even exists a day exclusive to it!
March 30 is when the World Idli Day is celebrated and for good reason of course. Relish them as a hearty breakfast or indulge because they are one of the healthiest snacks around, there’s nothing that can come in your way of devouring up multiple idlis just because.
Benefits of Idlis
A humble get together of just rice and lentils in their simple form, idlis can be the perfect comfort food. Of course you can go as innovative and experimental about them as you prefer, which can then make it also one of the fanciest treats on offer. So what makes these very unassuming idlis so special that has the entire world revolving about these circles of deliciousness? Here’s taking a look at all the reasons why idlis deserve their own special day as one of the healthiest and tastiest foods around-
The perfect diet food
Idlis are steamed rice cakes that don’t make any use of oil which naturally makes them a really healthy diet food. That itself makes it a low calorie food which translates effectively into an apt diet staple. What’s more, because idlis are so versatile, you can tweak the standard idli recipe a bit to replace white rice with brown rice, oats, rawa or quinoa for an even boosted shot at dietary health.
A filling breakfast
Because of the rich dietary fibre content of lentils that essentially go into the making of idlis, this South Indian staple is also a healthy, filling breakfast. Not only it is the perfect way to start your day with the healthiest of ingredients, it also is all the morning power you need. As a breakfast that renders you full yet not glutted, a serving of idlis will ensure you go about your day with all the energy and nutrition in the world.
An easy to digest delicacy
What makes idlis a filling but not heavy breakfast is that they are very easy to digest. This is a property the food derives from the fermentation process that characterise its making. Fermentation aids in the digestive process by leading to better breakdown of minerals and nutrients. Which means that it is as perfect as a snack as it is as an early morning meal giving you one more excuse to go indulge!
A perfect source of nutrients
Idli is a superfood, at least in south India. And the wide range of nutrients encompassed by a single of these soft and fluffy cakes is what can make them a superfood elsewhere as well. Rich in fibre, protein and iron courtesy lentils and delivering adequate dose of carbs, energy and calcium with the rice, idli is an allrounder.
However, that isn’t just all idlis have to boast. A food prepared through the method of fermentation, idlis help the body in assimilating as much nutrition as possible. Fermentation increases the bioavailability of nutrients and minerals because they lead to complex compounds being broken down easily. This aids in a healthy gut and with all the required nutrients already in tow, leads to a long and healthy life. Also, gluten, saturated fat and cholesterol free in their traditional avatar, idlis are significantly low on everything your body can as well do without which makes them an even healthier meal to relish.
Types of idlis
Like we said, idlis are versatile which means they obviously have different interpretations. So which of these popular idli varieties would you be trying to make the coming World Idli Day a happening affair for you? Make your pick already!
Soft and fluffy, chettinad idlis are made from a batter that incorporates rice and dal in the ratio 4:1. Characterised by a batter ground to an extra fine consistency, this is one idli that is somewhat sticky to the feel because of its smooth encompassment.
Grainy and coarse, the Udupi idlis make use of a 3:1 rice- lentil batter that however is not ground very fine. The idlis therefore turn out to be not very fluffy and are more feelant to the bite than the standard softer type.
These are even coarser idlis from Kancheepuram, that even make the prasad offering at the Varadharaja Perumal Temple there. Apart from its 4:1 batter consistency, this type of idli also is a more flavorful variant of the standard idli as it is tempered with spices. Traditionally, these idlis are cooked in flat vessels and are served sliced rather than whole.
Softer than even the soft Chettinad idlis, the Ramasseri ones are super soft preparations. In fact, these exhibit almost a melt in your mouth texture and happen to be wider than the regular ones. Almost like a dosa, ramasseri idlis are flat and broad, prepared in specially designed mud pots mounted one on top of the other.
Lighter, fluffier and softer, thatte idlis does everything a notch higher than what you would expect out of them! They also are flatter as well and unique in that the thatte idlis also has tapioca pearls finding their way into the typical rice- lentil batter.
Mallige Idlis or Kushboo Idlis translate literally as Jasmine idlis, that is a derivation of their jasmine white color. These idlis make use of a batter that incorporates not just rice and dal but also tapioca pearls and rice flakes which makes them even softer and fluffier, almost pillow like!
Moodes might not come essntially attached with the suffix idli but that does not make them any less ‘idlish’ than the others in the list. Cylindrical shaped idlis made from the same standard batter, moodes are unique in not just the shape but also in them being steamed enclosed in banana or other fragrant leaves which lend them an exotic characteristic taste and flavor.