Signature of Tamil nadu-this would be the right way to explain today’s platter I have chosen for our south Indian breakfast trail.Idly-the word itself shouts comfort to me.How do I even explain idly-soul food,comfort food,one of the healthiest breakfasts in the world.I still wonder how this humble dish attracts so many people,a vegan,a dish involves not even one drop of oil,simple enough to cook in just 10 minutes(of course you need fermented batter),remains to the most favorite breakfast for most south Indians.Medhu vadai-a dumpling with black gram(urad dal) is again a very healthy protein rich food and good for growing kids especially girls,urad dal strengths the pelvic bone.Next sambar-A thick stew made of veggies and pigeon peas is a powder house of vitamin and protein.As I write this post I realize how I have been taking this healthy platter very light and have never realized the greatness :). Just 2 idlys,medhu vadai with a good amount of sambar will keep you going till almost noon.
Idly is a typical Tamil breakfast made of rice and black gram.A small amount of fenugreek seeds(1 teaspoon) is soaked along with rice.The soaking is done for at least 8 hours.Then it is ground to a very smooth paste with little water.Grinding is very crucial for idly.The yrad dal should be ground till is very smooth and fluffy.Then the batter is left for fermentation over night.The next day morning the batter is ready for making idlys.Idly is best served with sambar,milagai podi and chutney.
Medhu vadai is made with urad dal-chillies-onion(optional).A small ball of batter is flattened over a piece of banana leaf,a hole is made in the center and deep fried from both sides.
There are umpteen recipes for sambar and the most favorite happens to be restaurant style tiffin sambar.You can add ghee to this at the end but I don’t like that way.I like to season it with sesame oil.
Again so many varities of chutneys here,mostly served ones are coconut and tomato-onion chutney.
Milagai podi(gun powder)
There are people who opt for fiery hot dry chutney powder out of all the varties of side dish in front of them(read me) :)Personally I feel nothing can come near idlys-served with gun powder and a dollop of sesame oil-food for soul,guilt free 🙂
Tiffin sambar 1
Tiffin sambar 2
Milagai podi 1
Milgai podi 2
Last but not least one cannot and should not ignore that small piece of banana leaf on that plate.Apart from adding a beautiful contrast to idlys,and a stunning visual appearance to the platter,eating from a banana leaf has its won benefits,when hot food is eaten from banana leaf,the vitamins from banana leaf is absorbed by the food.Not only idlys it is very good to eat any meal served over banana leaf.If it not possible for you to consume from banana leaf directly,try following this tip(from a very old Tamil magazine)
While you are cooking/packing food,tear banana leaves according to the size of the plate and place the leaves(washed) over the plate.Now spread your cooked food(should be hot) and consume after 10 minutes.
1.If you want make your breakfast even more filling,include a small serving of pongal
2.Check here for tips on soft and spongy idlis