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Colourful Cocktail Idlis

Idli or idly is a type of savoury rice cake, originating from India, popular as breakfast food in Southern India and among Tamils in Sri Lanka. The cakes are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils, rice and is served with coconut chutney and sambhar or stew.

Idli recipes are very common in my house and I make it frequently for breakfast and also for lunch boxes. I try to make different types of idli recipes and hence it does not make a monotonous meal. Having said that, rava idli or semolina idli is very consistent in our weekly menu. Perhaps because this recipe does not require previous day preparation and also no overnight fermentation.

I have used this idea of mixing chutney/edible colors with the rice to make rainbow pulao/vegetable biryani for long time now, especially when we plan any get together or office potluck. Colours just make everything lovely & happy. This time I got the idea of trying idlis with different color chutneys. I’m always in search for new snack recipes to be serve as starters, so I decided to try the idli idea..


  • 3 tsp oil

  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds (Rai)

  • Few curry leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup rava / semolina / suji, coarse

  • ¾ cup curd / yogurt, whisk

  • 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ cup water

  • ¼ tsp eno / fruit salt


1. Firstly, roast rava for 5 minutes or until the rava turns aromatic. Cool the rava completely and transfer to a bowl.

2. Furthermore, add ¾ cup curd, 2 tbsp coriander and ½ tsp salt. Mix well forming a thick batter.

3. Now add ½ cup water and mix well forming a smooth batter. Rest for 15 minutes or until the rava absorbs water.

4. Mix well and add water as required, to form an idli batter consistency batter. Now, divide the batter in two or three bowls according to the number of chutneys/edible colours you are using.

5. Mix each chutney with the batter and combine it well. Taste the batter and check for salt and spice. If it’s not spicy enough add some chilli powder or ground green chilies.

6. Just before steaming add a ¼ tsp eno (fruit salt) and mix well till it turns frothy. alternatively, add a pinch of baking soda.

7. Grease idli moulds with oil/ghee. I spray it with a non stick spray. You could choose to use either mini idli moulds or the regular ones. If you have only the regular size idli moulds, pour the batter, steam it as usual (for 10-15 minutes). After sometime remove the idlis from the moulds and cut each idli into 4 pieces. Mini idlis can be served as it is.

8. In a kadai, heat 3 tsp oil and splutter 1 tsp mustard seeds and few curry leaves (chopped). Add idlis, sauté for 1 minute.

9. Use a toothpick to skewer idlis, one of each color or arrange it in a platter.

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