Sambar Idlis


Sambar Idli is one of the staple items that I make for breakfast during weekends since that is the only time hubby has enough time to sit and enjoy a leisure breakfast. If not he lives on eggs, toast and oatmeal most of the time. Now with a crawling baby at home, we seem to have a much more packed schedule in the mornings. So we welcome the weekend with a leisure breakfast and an even late lunch. I used to make a simple moong dhal based sambar for idlis before. They are super simple and delicious. But when I came across the famous “ratna cafe sambar” from Kannamacook’s blog which is so popular in a food group I am part of in Facebook, I knew my mom’s simple moong dhal sambar was going to have a tough competition. Since then, I seem to be making more of that version of sambar since I have time on hands in the weekends to dry roast the spices and make a fresh spice powder, which the recipe calls for. Kannama’s recipe calls for cooked moong dhal and toor dhal which is something I usually do not have have at hand. So it takes me extra time to get that cooked and then get the sambar going. So I tweaked the recipe a little and made small changes. Also, I did not opos it as she has done in her recipe. You can find the original recipe here – Rantna cafe sambar.

So here is my version of the sambar with idlis. There can be no other breakfast as comforting and healthy as a idli and sambar 🙂

Ingredients for sambar :

For masala paste:

  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp jaggery
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dhal
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut

For the dhal and sambar

  • 1/4 cup moong dhal
  • 1/4 cup toor dhal  (Or use 1/2 cup moong or toor dhal)
  • 1/2 cup veggies of your choice ( pumpkin, drumstick, capscium or small onions)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • water and salt as needed


Soak the dhals for atleast 20-30 minutes in hot water.

Meanwhile  for the masala paste, saute the onions and tomatoes in 1 tsp oil until translucent and set aside.( Alternatively, you can grind them raw. I sometimes find the onions I get here turn bitter when I grind them raw.) Saute the coriander seeds, red chilly and urad dhal until nice and golden. Now grind them along with the onions, tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients for the masala paste with very little water, say about 1/4 cup and set aside.

In a pressure cooker, add the soaked dhal, 2 cups water.

Add the veggies of your choice, chopped tomatoes and curry leaves, on top of the dhal.

Now add, the masala paste on top of the veggies.

Pressure cook it in medium heat with the weight on, for 3 whistles.

Let the pressure settle down. Open and adjust salt, and add some water if you find the sambar to be thick.

Temper with mustard seeds and cumin seeds in ghee and add it to the hot sambar.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.


Recipe for Idlis:

  • 1 cup urad dhal
  • 4 cups idly rice
  • 1 cup poha
  • 1tsp fenugreek seeds
  • salt to taste


Soak the rice, fenugreek and poha together in water in a big container.

Soak uard dhal in another container. Everything should be soaked over night or for a minimum of 8 hours.

Once they are soaked, grind the urad dhal first with little water until they are smooth and fluffy. A wet grinder gives the best result for grinding. A mixie does a good job as well.

Transfer the ground urad dhal batter into a big container and then grind the rice and poha mixture until they are smooth. Add water while grinding as needed.

Transfer the rice batter in the same vessel as the urad dhal batter and add 1 to 2 tsp salt.

Mix everything thoroughly and let it ferment overnight or until they rise. I usually leave them in the oven with the lights on overnight.

Pour the batter into idli moulds and steam them until they are soft and fluffly ( say 8 to 10 minutes)

when done, take the idlis moulds out and cool them by sprinkling some water and use a knife to remove them. Serve hot with sambar and chutney 🙂

This entry was posted in BREAKFAST, INDIAN TIFFINS, Recipes, SOUTH INDIAN and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sambar Idlis

  1. Yum! I’m definitely going to try this!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s