World Idli Day

World Idli Day is celebrated on March 30th. A day to know more about this delicious food.

Idli is the favourite breakfast dish in South India. Along with Sambar, a variety of chutnies, and molaga podi, chilly powder is a mouthwatering and nourishing delicacy.

Idli is not just tasty but also healthy and nutritious. It is not fried but is steam cooked. Its fermented batter is a finely wet ground mix of rice and gram.

Idli fulfills the needs of a stomach. It gives carbohydrates for energy and protein for growth. Its good bacteria generate lot of Vitamin B. An interesting thing is that a person consuming Idli daily may not have head ache because the black gram has the property to inhibit head ache. The side dish Sambar is one of the nutritious vegetable broth that contains many vegetables, spices, tamarind, Asafoetida etc. which keeps the stomach healthy and prevents acidity and indigestion.

WHO on Idli

As per the WHO, Idli is among the most nutritious food in the world. Made of fermented black lentils and rice, the nutrient quotient in Idli is high. The WHO Recommends idli as an ideal food.


Idli through the times

Early writings on Idli can be seen in Karnataka. Vaddaradhane of Sivakoty Acharya of 920 CE., describes Idli as one of the 18 items served to a guest / Brahmachari visiting homes.


In Kannada literature Iddaliga is a steamed food made with urad dal batter.

King Someshwara of Kalyan the capital city of the Western Chalukya Empire, in his work Manasollasa in 1130 CE writes about the preparation of food in royal kitchens. He mentioned Idli as the first food items among others.

King Someshwara Inscription

In Tamil literature Maccapuranam, mentions the” Ittali” , around 17th century CE.

The Gujarati work Varanaka Samuchaya (1520 CE) mentions Idli as Idari, and also mentions its local adaption Idada.

A variant of Idli known as Sanna Hittli is popular amongst the Goans and other Konkani people.

Another variant known as Enduri Pitha is popular in Odisha.

Migration of Idli to Indonesia

Idli is known as “Kedli” in Indonesia. Kedli is one of the most favourite foods of Indonesia.

Indonesia then known as Suvarnabhumi was a Hindu Kingdom state.

There was a regular connect between the Kings of Suvarnabhumi and the Kings of Tamil Nadu and Orissa. One version of history is that one of the Kings of Suvarnabhumi had come to take a bride. Along with bride Queen many cooks accompanied the royal entourage back to Suvarnabhumi. The making of this Idli could well have gone there as one of the delicacies, which we called Kedli now in Indonesia. 

Some opine that the migration of idli could have been the other way from Kedli to Idli. Whichever way it is, Idli is a tasty wholesome nutritious food, which can be eaten anytime from morning breakfast to night dinner.


Varieties of Idli

Now there are varieties of Idlis some of the popular once being,

  • Thatte Idli – Flat Idli
  • Maliga poo Idli – White Fluffy Idli
  • Kanchipuram / Thiruvallur Kudal Idli – Cylindrical Idli
  • Mangalore Kadubu Idli
  • Mangalore Muday Idli
  • Goans and Konkani Sanna
  • Khushboo Idli – Soft Fat Idli
  • Mini Idli – small Idli
  • Rava Idli
  • Ragi Idli
  • Chinese fried Idli

Relish Idli this day

Our simple Idli has taken names and shapes and kept abreast with modernity. On this Idli Day, let us relish the different varieties of Idli.

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