10 Comments to “Idly (Idli) – Rice Cakes”

  1. Anitha

    Sep 2nd, 2010

    Iddlies are truely yummy even with a simple tomato chutney.. especially the raw onion-tomato chutney they used to make in Tirunelveli areas! Hmmmmm… would love to eat Idly and that raw onion-tomato chutney from any road-side shop in Tirunelveli!

  2. Shathik Ali

    Aug 1st, 2011

    To enjoy the true & traditional taste,wet cloth is to be used on Idly moulding trays and never oil greased trays; while introducing traditional food recipes to the world, please do not change the original method of preparation, for the sake of easy-go.

    • Uma

      Aug 2nd, 2011

      Hi Shathik, thank you for pointing out the old method of using the wet cloth for making idlys. Some people still prefer it, and even use the older large idly makers for that purpose.

      When we talk about traditional food, we must keep in mind that traditions are constantly evolving. For example, pressure cookers are a relatively recent introduction from the west, but today cooking many Tamil foods without them is inconceivable. Same goes for gas stoves (and electric stoves for many people). The food itself is also constantly evolving. Potatoes and green chillies, which are a staple of many Tamil foods, are originally from South America and were introduced into India by the European colonialists. They were not found in Tamil cooking till recently in our history, and if some Tamilians had not adopted them, they would not be part of our tradition now! Same can be said of many dishes that were originally Mughal introductions, such as Biryani and Halwa.

      Today in Tamil Nadu the majority of people no not use the wet cloth method, for reasons that are understandable. It is cumbersome, requiring care and extra effort in cleaning and drying the cloth, and replacing them periodically. The new idly makers allow us to use a little oil to grease the pans and make idlies that are just as good, or even softer for some people’s tastes. These are modern conveniences. In this website I am presenting recipes for the modern person who has a busy schedule but is interested in making delicious traditional food. If we were to make everything the way our mothers made them, Biryani would take 5 to 6 hours to make, and forget about using store-bought sambar powder!

      I think our tradition will remain strong as it evolves and adapts to modern living. For some people, these are not acceptable changes. They are welcome to use the age-old techniques of cooking. Why stop with the wet cloth, they are also free to use the traditional wood-burning or charcoal stoves too!

  3. DR BHAVANA SHREE

    Mar 17th, 2013

    tht was a v nice way of putting across things gently yet strongly.. people would better learn to enjoy things as they are instead of finding fault with such trivial things.


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