Variety is the spice of life

Majority of Delhiites go for the regular white-coloured rice idlis, sambhar and chutney. The traditional variations, available in Delhi, are the Kanjeevaram Idlis and the Minitadka Idlis.

The basic, traditional idli is rice and dal based, which is steamed. The variations are basically made using the same base and adding further ingredients. Sometimes, even the base ingredients are changed but the same process is followed, hence still called an ‘idli’, so one can have any color imaginable and also any taste, depending on the condiments added.

Some concept cooks like Tarla Dalal have introduced 181 different types of idlis. These idlis could be region specific, or specific to its presentations.

As per people of Delhi, idli is as much accepted as North-Indian food as it is in the South. You may own a whale of restaurant or a small cart, no idli maker can be considered small. They are always on the go.

Chef Arun Kumar TR, Zambar, says that “Though, the innovations and variations are innumerable ranging from Indian to “Chinese’ styles they are eventually are steamed dumplings and always healthy.”

If idlis wouldn’t stop changing colors and ingredients, they would stop ‘exciting’ the tastes buds of South-Indian food lovers.Also Kumar says that “idli can also be made using a base different from rice, may be the next innovation in Idli.”

In Delhi, most commonly available idlis are Rice Idli and Rawa Idli, but it is also made of five grain cereals, rava, oats, ragi, barley, corn etc.

While Rice Idli is made from boiled sela rice and urad wash, Rawa Idli is primarily made from rawa, dahi and South Indian tadka. Adding ingredients like tomato, coriander, vegetables and nuts can give distinct flavours and colors to idlis making them more appetising to the eyes as well as the taste buds. They are also the healthiest options, for people who have a large apetite.

Chef Seema from Sagar Ratna says, “Tomato gives a tinge of tanginess to the mild taste of idlis, while coriander and spinach can add
to the taste.”

People who go out to eat, always enjoy change, but idli will always be a favourite because of its healthy attributes, size and also price.
Old idli lovers are losing out on innovated idilis such as Idli Fries, Stuffed Idlis, Tossed Idlis with vegetables and tadka, Podi Idlis, Mini Idlis with ghee etc and even an Idli Burger!

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