Masala Idlis

masala_idli 002

While talking to MIL last week, I was telling her how DS is not fond of Idlis. The 4 year old will eat dosas but somehow has not developed fondness for Idlis. Now if you are anything like our family who take their Idlis seriously this statement can be quite a shocker. If the extended family back home hears this, then I am pretty sure everyone will offer suggestions to bring the ‘rebel’ back onto the Idli track. ?

Until he can come with his own theories for dislike, my theory is that since he does not like chutney, the idli by itself is bland and hence it does not appease his taste buds. I presented this thought to MIL and she suggested trying Masala Idlys. Now I was all ears while she eagerly handed over the recipe.

Seasoning with onions, grated carrot is prepared, added to the idly batter and then steamed the regular way. The Idlis cook up the usual way and have a wonderful flavor. There is no need to make additional chutney. I loved the idea and prepared them the first opportunity I had.

The 4 year old ate one or two, but depending on his interest and enthusiasm I am sure he has not become an Idli convert yet. The parents however loved and enjoyed the taste. Sigh!

masala_idli 009


  •  1 measure Idli batter
  •  Curry leaves
  •  Chopped Onions (optional)
  •  Carrot grated
  •  Curry leaves
  • grated Ginger
  •  Cut Green chillies (optional)
  •  Handful of coriander leaves
  •  Mustard seeds
  •  Salt, oil


  •  Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add curry leaves, onions and mix well. Add the grated carrot, ginger, green chillies and chopped coriander leaves and mix until they slightly cook and the leaves wilt. There is no need to over. 
  • Add this and salt to the prepared Idli batter. Mix well and check for seasonings.
  • Steam idli the usual way. Serve hot.
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  1. Madhu says:

    I know for South indians Idly-chutney is like religion…Love the texture of idlies, will try them soon.
    May be it needs a different name and shape to convert him..u know kids..:)

  2. Desi Soccer Mom says:

    Supriya, my son will not eat idlis either! He loves dosa so much, the other day I made it out idli batter made of idli rava and he still ate it.
    The only way my son eats idli is when I cut it in strips, shallow fry it on a skillet with some ghee, salt and fresh black pepper. I just make it crunchy all around and he gobbles it up with ketchup, his favorite condiment. 🙂 It is much like your idli fries without the tadka.
    On that note, my husband also prefers dosas to idlis, so I am the only one who eats them in my home. I think I am gonna try your masala version next time round. 🙂

  3. Sumi says:

    Its the same case with my son too.When I told the folks back home I got back a big sigh meaning “If only I made it often…” 🙂
    Your masala version sounds interesting, let me test it with my son and let you know.

  4. Uma says:

    My little one eats idlis only if I give sugar for dipping them 🙂

    This is a nice variation to regular idlis. Looks so delicious.

  5. Cilantro says:

    My daughter has idlis without any problem. She loves both idlis and dosais. I am the only one not to like idlis in our family. I will have to try your version for me.

  6. arundati says:

    we’re on an idly binge thanks to K’s resolve to not eat breakfast if it isn’t idly… this seems so refreshing… i am trying this out tmrw… thanks!!

  7. Asha says:

    Your son has company HATING Idlis. My daughter!! She HATES idlis with passion, she would somehow okay with dosas (eats just one) but as soon as she sees idlis oe even the smell of batter, she moans and groans. She has 2 tiny ones soaked in sambar, that’s it. My son eats tham, doesn’t make fuss.

    Love masala idlis, must make sometimes. Trisha is away at college, so I don’t have to feel guilty! 😀

  8. Priya says:

    nice idea..your husband would have liked it more so because the recipe was from his mother..:-) just kidding. :-)not seen such good photos of idli.

  9. Srivalli says:

    Oh..they look so soft and inviting..I love idlis, can’t say much for my kids..though daughter likes to eat the plain ones always with tomato chutney..boys somehow eats them..I am most tempted to try this for them…Do send it to the event if your son likes it again..:))

  10. soumya says:

    hahaha i know being a South Indian and not interested in Idli’s are un acceptable. But luckily my son and dh love Idly’s and this is a nice change to try.

  11. Miri says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much – my daughter was the same too till last month(she’s 4 and a half now)when she discovered idli podi with til oil – now she loves having idlis with it!

  12. ujwal says:

    hey Supriya,
    Your son has company and it is Me!! Can you believe it. I am somehow not a big fan of idli. I love dosa’s but idli is kind of ok. Will try this version next time I make idli’s

  13. spice says:

    Love those….I usually make it with instant kind idlis sooji/rawa idli…..U’ll laugh yesterday only we were talking that sometime food specially made for kids is so tempting(for grown ups) that when kids take lot of time to eat, we feel like finishing it…it’s hard not to eat atleast for me…

  14. redchillies says:

    Thanks Madhu. Idli is religion alright! I know what you mean, my next project is to come up with different name and shape. Sigh 🙁

    Thanks Sook. They are stemed have a good amount of protein and because of the seasoning, they are delicious. I hope you get to try them.

    Thanks Jaya. Thank God, I am not the only one here. Anytime I say idli, he makes a face. But I have to work on making him an idli convert 🙂

    Thanks Sumi. Glad we have so many on our boat here. I get the same hearing too, as if somehow it is our fault 🙂 Do try this on your kiddo and let me know if this works.

  15. redchillies says:

    Thanks Uma. I have tried sugar and oil too and it works. But I worry that he may get addicted to that taste and eat idli only because of sugar.Did I tell you that I worry for no reason 🙂

    Cilantro, that is pretty good. What do you usually give with idlis for the little one? I think I will have to provide this recipe to your mom to try it on her little girl ! 🙂

    Arundati, frankly I do not mind eating idlis everyday as long iam given sambhar and chutney. I mean it when I say ‘given’. I am too lazy even to make chutney along with idli. But do give it a try and let me know.

    Prathibha, even we loved this one. We could snack on this all day along.

  16. redchillies says:

    Thanks Sharmilee, glad you liked it.

    Thanks Parita. I love idlis too and could have it many times a week.

    Thanks Sweatha. Like Cilantro I will send this recipe to your mom to try on you 🙂

    Thanks HC. It is easy and good one to try.

    Thanks Lata ji. I have not tried idli sandwich before and I am very interested in the recipe if you can please provide. I will check your blog.

  17. redchillies says:

    Thanks Asha. I am glad that my son has company. I need to try it with sambhar, but I am way too lazy to made chutney let lone sambhar. Good luck to Trisha.

    Thanks Priya. Glad you liked them.

    Thanks Ashwini. Agree, onions added crunch and balanced that sour taste of idli batter.

    Thanks Sowjanya. I like the idea of mini idlis. I have not tried idli sandwich before, would definitely like the recipe. I have also asked Lataji for it.

  18. redchillies says:

    Thanks so much Priya. DH was way happy with the idli, maybe he felt it was “maa ke haath se banaya hua” 🙂

    Thanks Srivalli. Good idea about tomato chutney, I gotta try once. I do have something else for your event, so will send you that 🙂

    Thanks Pavani. Yes onions added a differnt taste to the idli.

    Thanks Soumya. Laugh all you want 🙂 somehow DS needs to become a idli eater if not a idli lover.

  19. redchillies says:

    Thanks Miri. Good idea. I will try idli with podi and see if he likes it.

    Thanks Ujwal. What ?? Tukka idli istha jaina ve? tugele Amma ka he recipe petaita, then you can try it :-))

    Thanks Homecooked for the kind words. Come on over home anytime 🙂

    Thanks Ranjani. They tasted differnt than the regular idlis for sure 🙂

    Thanks Maya for the warm comment.

  20. redchillies says:

    Thanks Spice. Could not agree with you more. Me and DH have the same conversation that DS’s food tastes way better,mainly because I am lavish with oil and butter. 🙂

  21. Usha says:

    I am more of a dosa person, but these idlis really sound flavorful and yum ! Will definitely try these the next time I have idli batter 🙂

  22. Soma says:

    🙂 I would be overjoyed with these too. For some reason I more fond of idli these days than dosa. I am yet to use veggies or masalas with idli. Will surely do it next time. My DDs love idli!

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