Idli and Paruppu Sambar (Ukkudum, Thor bela Sambar)  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The idli is a savory cake popular throughout South India. The cakes are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented white lentils (urad daal) and rice. Most often eaten at breakfast or as a snack, idlis are usually served in pairs with chutney, sambar, or other accompaniments.

Here I'm giving the basic recipe for preparing idlis (recipe from my mother-in-law) and sambar (recipe from my friend Swapna).

Idli Recipe:


Idli Rice - 4 cups
White lentils (Urad daal) - 1.5 cups


1. Soak idli rice for 8 hours or overnight. Soak urad daal for 1 or 2 hours.

2. In a wet-grinder or mixer grinder, grind urad daal with very little water. You have to add 2-3 tsp of water for every 5 minutes. If you are using a wet-grinder, urad daal takes about 30 minutes to be completely done. It should be very nice and fluffy in texture.

3. Remove the urad-daal batter into a large pan and keep aside. Now grind the rice similarly, adding 2-3 tsp of water for every 5 minutes. It takes about 20 minutes for the rice to be done. It should be coarsely done in texture.

4. Remove the idli batter into the pan and mix with urad daal batter along with 2 tsp of salt. You should mix it with your hand for 5 minutes to get it fermented nicely.

5. In a oven, switch on the light and keep the vessel of batter in the oven overnight. It should be fermented by morning. It will look creamy in texture. With a stirrer, stir the batter nicely till it gets strong in texture. If required add 1/2 cup of water.

6. In a idli cooker plate, grease the moulds with ghee or a little oil and pour 1/2 cup of batter on it. Do the same with all the idli plates. Steam cook (with one cup of water in the cooker) for 5-7 minutes and switch off. Idlis are ready to be served hot with sambar.

Sambar Recipe:


Thor Daal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 5
Green chilli - 1
Onion- 1/2
Tomato - 1
Tamarind - 1 small pulp (soaked in 1 cup water and drained puree)
Idli Sambar powder - 1 tsp
MTR Sambar powder - 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Cilantro (chopped) - 2 tsp


1. Pressure cook thor daal with turmeric powder and 1.5 cups water.

2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chillies.

3. After a few seconds, add onion and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Then add 2 cup water and sambar powder, then cover and cook for few minutes.

5. Add daal, MTR powder, Tamarind puree and Salt and Boil for 10 minutes in medium high. If needed add water.

6. Garnish with coconut and cilantro leaves.

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Priya's Sourashtrian Kitchen by Priya Sriram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.