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Did you know? Idly is from 10th century

Idli &sambar sambar, a common South Indian food, has undoubtedly changed how South Indian cuisine is viewed and consumed throughout India. Idli &sambar is a meal that relies on household customs and varies across communities, households, and geographical areas. Idli sambar is the most nutritious breakfast. Lentils in sambar and dal in Idli are a good source of proteins. It is packed with carbs, minerals, fibres, and vitamins too. Make idli sambar a part of your healthy diet. The fermentation of the batter makes idlis a probiotic food, meaning they incorporate essential amino acids. This makes steam-cooked idlis extremely nutritious, so much so that they're often used in bespoke ayurvedic treatments.

Origin of idly

Idlis may have originated in Indonesia, a nation with a long history of producing steamed and fermented food, claims renowned culinary historian K.T. Achaya of India. He proposed that the cooks working in the royal kitchens of Hindu princes in Indonesia brought the fermenting technology to India. He mentions the renowned Chinese traveller Xuan Zang, who states unequivocally in A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food that India did not have a steaming vessel in the seventh century.

Other historians theorise that the word "idli" may have been derived from "iddalige," which appears in the 920 AD Kannada work Vaddaradhane written by Sivakotyacharya, or "iddarika," which appears in the 1130 AD Sanskrit text Manasollasa, both from the 12th century and both written by King Someshvara III.

According to yet another idea, the idada, a food that was introduced to southern India in the 10th century AD when a group of Saurashtrian silk weavers landed in Tamil Nadu, is the source of the idli. The same components used to make idlis, rice and urad dal, are also used to make idada, a steamed white dhokla. Idli's etymology is the subject of yet another intriguing claim. The Saurashtrian traders moved south in the 10th century AD following Ghazni Mohammed's assault on the Somnath temple. They named it Idli and introduced it once they had settled in.

Idli is currently regarded as one of the most iconic Indian dishes, despite the fact that it may have originated in distant countries. Idlis can be created from a variety of components, including rava, ragi, vegetables, cheese, and even chocolate. These variations reflect modern demands and tastes. They also have a wide range of sizes and forms in south Indian restaurants. Despite being a favourite among vegetarians, idlis are also frequently served with chicken, mutton, or fish curries.

A known Fact

As part of India's first human space journey, the Defense Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) has created "space idlis" for astronauts as well as chutney powder and sambar powder. Popular throughout peninsular India, this dish's enigmatic beginnings serve as a metaphor for the country's rich cultural diversity.

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