A South Indian friend from Singapore who came visiting asked me, “What is the best place to eat idlis in your town?” For him any country which has Indians should have an Idli place and the taste of it will tell a lot of information that words cannot tell. It was interesting to hear for someone who only had idlis at home and have lived in countries where idlis in a restaurant were something that I couldn’t even get in my dreams.
In every country I have lived, if I have Indian friends home one of the dishes that I always remember to make is idlis with sambar (handmade lentil stew). It is a perfectly easy dish to make, and I never have to worry about anything usually as it is gluten-free, vegan and something that children and adults love it alike. The idlis themselves are tasty and yet not spicy, a perfect example of how you don’t need spices to make your food tasty and the sambar that goes with it takes care of giving an extra flavour with spices and balances it out for people who look for the hot-sour-savoury flavour mix to go with the idlis.
This is also a food that my Indian and non-Indian food love without any distinction. Also, this is a food that health food lovers go ga-ga about. Idlis are carbs and the lentil stew is full of protein and a good source of iron and other minerals as usually the stew is made with vegetables as well.
I for one love it with the sambar, but I also like to experiment with different kinds of chutneys and chutney powders to go with the idlis. The choices are unlimited. Just one idli can go with sambar and coconut chutney, tomato chutney, onion chutney, mint chutney, coriander chutney, peanut chutney and much more. The dry chutney powders include sesame seed chutney, garlic chutney, lentils chutney, etc. What is your choice of chutney and what flavour would you like to eat your idlis with?