Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Colorful Idly with Carrots & Chana Dal

Back home, a breakfast is still a breakfast. It is not brunch, lunch or supper. Breakfast items are few, and everyday one of them is prepared and eaten by 9 AM. My mother never uttered the words – “I’m not feeling well today and not making any breakfast for you”. As a grown up, living in a silent world with plenty of time to reflect back, now I realise, my mother like me, must had several reasons to slack off, if she wanted to. But she never did. I am sure many of you can relate to what I am talking about. That kind of devotion was given to us when we were children. This is the reason why I often mention ‘amma (mother)’ as recipe source. If I have the courtesy to write a cookbook author’s name as recipe source for a blogged recipe, why shouldn’t I return the same courtesy to amma, from whom I learned most of my cooking from.

Colorful idly with carrots and chana dal aka masala idly is one of her recipes. Finely grated carrots and chana dal along with green chillies and cumin etc. are added to the leftover idly batter for a next day morning breakfast. Imagine the taste of upma, and these idlies almost taste like that. Steam cooked in round shape, they are a pleasure when served hot with chutney and sambar. Though they are a breakfast item back home, here I often make them on a weekend for brunch, lunch or for supper.

Idly plates filled with idly batter - ready for steaming

This is same as idly preparation except that we add bunch of other ingredients and change the lilly white, cloud like plain idlies into colorful, somewhat dense masala idlies.

(for 16 idlies)
3 cups of Idly batter
(urad dal and rice ravva(cream of rice) in 1:2 ratio, soaked, grind into smooth batter and kept overnight for fermentation)
Ingredients to add to idly batter
1 cup of grated carrot (1 big carrot)
¼ cup of chana dal (soaked in water for atleast an hour)
¼ cup of coarsely crushed, roasted peanuts or cashews
¼ cup of finely chopped cilantro
2 to 4 finely chopped or minced green chillies
1 teaspoon of cumin and few curry leaves
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

Mix the ingredients with idly batter thoroughly. Fill the round impressions of idly plates with this batter. Place the idly stand in an idly cooker and steam cook them for about 20 minutes or until the batter sets completely. Remove the idly stand from the cooker, run a spoon under each impression and separate the cooked idlies from the impressions. Serve them hot with peanut or coconut chutney and sambhar.

Idlies with veggies, served with peanut chutney, and shallot sambhar
Masala idlies with peanut chutney and shallot sambhar

For more detailed recipe of idly, about idly stand, idly plates and idly cooker etc., – click here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots,Chana Dal,Rice Ravva (Cream of Rice),Urad Dal (Washed) (Tuesday April 11, 2006 at 1:54 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

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25 comments for Colorful Idly with Carrots & Chana Dal »

  1. Hey Indira..

    I do somewhat different version of this recipe.We call it kanchi idli.I shall post it sometime..

    Comment by BDSN — April 11, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  2. wow…masala idli like masala dosa….nice idea of your mom’s. I have the idli stand but i don’t have the idli pressure cooker…any ideas on how to use the idli stand in another vessel?

    Comment by Nabeela — April 11, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  3. Nice post, Indira. Reminded me of my mom’s veggie-idli recipe. Not only idlis, she’d toss carrots, peas and beans into e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, for added nutrition. I’d never understand her obsession then, but now i’m glad she taught me to eat healthy.

    Comment by Sandhya — April 11, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  4. Hi BDSN…You mean THE famous Kanchi idly. I can’t wait, then. I think yogurt is also added to the idly batter, right?

    Nabeela… you don’t need pressure cooker, just a big vessel with tight lid, to fit the idly stand, that’d also work fine. check the link I posted, you can find more details about how to cook idly.

    Lol… I know, my mother was also like that, Sandhya. Thanks.

    Comment by Indira — April 11, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  5. Hi Indira- your description about mom made me remember my mom and I am tearful. What you said is very true. The stuff I make here is nowhere as nutritious or balanced as she makes. I always end up too tired to cook on weekends and we all end up eating out. At 55 and after 30 years of cooking several meals, she still makes no excuses.

    Her carrot idly recipe looks delicious. I made your ponganalu with peanut chutney and it was delicious.

    Indira replies:
    I know, 3 meals a day, everyday, I don’t know how they managed or found the energy. They are superwomen. Their generation is like that, I think.
    I am glad you had success with ponganalu recipe, Mika. It tastes great with peanut chutney, isn’t it? I love that combination.

    Comment by mika — April 11, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  6. Indira:

    I totally agree with you on the mom making 3 meals a day thing. I was talking to a friend recently and we were talking about the exact same topic about how our mom’s back in India had the time and energy to make such eloborate things for us. It makes me feel so appreciative of my own parents so much :).

    Thanks for the post

    Indira replies:
    You are welcome, LC.:)
    In previous post, you asked about the tv programme, I remember it now, Its “Sugar Rush” on food tv.

    Comment by Luv2cook — April 11, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  7. Nostalgia here too Indira. What a colorful post! Long time now, we wanted to post about the softest plain idlees in the world 🙂 We will do it soon. Inspiration, as always, is here Indira. You are brilliant. Cheers!

    Indira replies:
    You are too kind, VKN. Thanks!
    I know, I am going to find more useful tips for idlies from you and your family. Looking forward to reading your post.

    Comment by VK Narayanan — April 11, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Hey Indira..

    No I have never added yogurt to my kanchi idli..actually the batter should be a lil hard than regular plain i dont add yogurt ..

    Indira replies:
    Thanks for your reply, BDSN.
    We add yogurt to the ravva idli, I thought your Kanchi idli is also prepared in the same way.

    Comment by BDSN — April 11, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

  9. Hi Indira:

    very touching note and great looking colorful idlis!! Will def give it a try!!


    Indira replies:
    They are colorful compared to plain white idlies, aren’t they? Thanks Seetha.

    Comment by Seetha — April 11, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

  10. Indira: One more dish to my “must do’s”. Looks very colorful. Love the notes on amma,they are great.
    Kanjeepuram idli’s are very famous and very easy to make. I have plans to blog about it sometime too. As bdsn said, we normally dont add yogurt, but season pepper, cumin seeds, g. chillies, ginger, curry leaves, hing, chopped coconut pieces and corriander leaves to the slightly thick idli batter. rest of the process, same as preparing idli.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Karthi.
    I’ve heard about the famous Kajeepuram idlies, but never had a chance to taste them. Looking forward to trying out from your recipes. Thanks for sharing the recipe here with me, KK.

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — April 11, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

  11. Hai Indira,
    Yesterday night,i did the same idly with rava.What a coincidence.My mom will call it as “instant idly.”Nice to see ur recipe.

    Indira replies:
    That is a happy coincidence. 🙂 Ravva idly – yum.:)

    Comment by vineela krishna — April 11, 2006 @ 4:21 pm

  12. Pretty idlis! Your comment on your Amma reminds me of my own and my Ammamma and my Patti..those superwomen who really gave their whole self to the meals they prepared. In retrospect, food was always their way of showing a deep love that was never verbalized. My sis points out that it was a way that they found self-expression and their own sense of identity and accomplishment even though they were not careerists like us today. I feel a lot of us Indians are so thoroughly spoilt by dreamy childhoods spent eating fresh cooked meals and of such a fantastic variety too. I kick myself for all those meals taken for granted growing up in India..Only after you live alone and really bite the dust here so to speak, do you fully realize the value of their loving toil- more precious than anything that even mastercard can buy:) Found your comment quite moving Indira.

    Indira replies:
    Living on your own sure changes how you look on things.
    My addition of recipe source as amma… for some, it looks corny, but for me it has always been returning the courtesy. I think the manners starts at home.:)
    Thanks Janani.

    Comment by Janani — April 11, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

  13. I make similar idlis, Indira. Only sans the Chana Dal. Great pictures and nice write-up. It takes very little for me to announce that ‘I am not cooking today’. My mother did that far less often and my grandmother (my father’s mother) feels extremely guilty if she ever does that (she is 80+ now).

    Indira replies:
    I am also like you, Vaishali. It takes very little for me to throw in the towel. I don’t know what I’d do, if I had children.

    Comment by Vaishali — April 11, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  14. Oh Indira,

    Sometimes i wish i just have enough patience as you. I visit your site everyday but first time to comment. About mom yes, you are right. My working mother made sure we had all our three meals ready everyday. Mom, what great beings they are.

    Great work here Indira.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Kirthi, patience, me… are you talking about me? 🙂
    Thanks for taking time to comment, Kirthi. I appreciate your nice words.

    Comment by Kirthi — April 11, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

  15. Thats what I always wish for – a complete and healthy breakfast every morning. But never seems to work for me. I too wonder how my mom prepared variety breakfasts for all of us every single day. Hmm… I think its time to change this lazy lifestyle.

    The idlies are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will be trying it out soon.

    Comment by RP — April 11, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

  16. Hai Indira,
    I came across your website when looking for puffed rice recipe 2days ago. So from last 2 days in my free time,i am checking out all the recipes u have posted so far. I should say very beautiful pictures and your writing is very very nice. Thank you for sharing all your recipes.
    Masala idlies looks very good I make with rava instead of idly batter we call it ‘rava idly’ or ‘fast idly’. Will be looking forward to more south Indian reipes from you.

    Comment by Madhu — April 11, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

  17. Indira the idlies looks great. Its similar to kanchipuram idlies. I guess all mom love the idea of adding atleast 1 or more vegetables to whatever possible. Thanx for the recipe.

    Comment by Priya — April 11, 2006 @ 6:37 pm

  18. Hi Indira,

    Very colorful post.Thanks for giving me a great idea on how to use leftover idli batter. I always made veggie uttapa out of it , again as a way to include vegetables. This gives me one more way to do it.
    Agree with you about mom.They really are superwomen…

    Comment by Vee — April 11, 2006 @ 7:35 pm

  19. wow, the recipe looks so tempting:) will give a try soon Indira!

    Comment by Priya Balabhaskaran — April 11, 2006 @ 9:53 pm

  20. Hi Indira,

    The recipe looks very tempting. I just made idli’s last week. but shall try this next time. Thanks for the recipe.


    Comment by Shireesha — April 12, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

  21. Indira, this post really touched my heart. I’m often surprised at these old timers’ energy for making three meals a day. Here for us, bread or cereal usually passes off as breakfast.
    But i must say you are doing a wonderful job….tempting us all to get off the couch and start cooking….with all these dishes we grew up on. Will make these ‘enhanced’ idlis soon!

    Comment by Bharti — April 12, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

  22. Hi,

    Your idli recipe & photo looks really tempting. It is also very simple and I am sure going to try this weekend.

    I am a member of a community site in which exotic collection of south indian recipes are available…

    Try this idli recipe if you would be interested – Cup idli with Masal Kuzhambu

    Comment by Rathi — April 13, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

  23. I enjoy reading ur column.It brings back fond memories of childhood in India.ur recipes r written in such a simple manner.keep the good work going.

    Comment by Ruchi — November 15, 2006 @ 8:59 am

  24. I tried this. My hubby venkatesh said it was nice… Oh . You are my guru

    Comment by Anuradha — April 19, 2007 @ 11:58 am

  25. I tried this masala idli today for breakfast.It turned out nice.Usually i add lots of veggies to my rava idli.I never added anything to the plain idli.This is my first time.Since a long time i thought i should add carrots to the idli batter for more nutrious b’fast.This is a bit different recipe.Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    Comment by Siri — February 22, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

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