September 21, 2006

Micro Idli Vada/ Steamed Rice Dumplings in Yogurt

What do you call idlis that are just about the size of a coin? Is there a formal name for it? I was introduced to it by my mom-in-law during her last visit here. She made this as a light dinner. It ended up with me liking them so much I got the corresponding idli stand. I call it the micro idli. If anybody has a better name,lets have it.
The micro idli stand makes about 15 idlis per level. Barely a teaspoon of batter is poured into each idli so 10 of these idlis is equal to one ordinary idli.
This is a very delicious alternative to idli sambar and dahi/thair vada. No frying involved. Micro idlis or baby idlis are soaked in a coconut flavored yogurt and tempered with spices. You can eat quite a bit before you realise it. I make it as a light dinner, as an appetiser or as a snack. The ground green chilies and dry red chilies adds some heat to balance the mildness of the yogurt. Add chilies as per individual spice tolerance.
Ok, so now I got feedback that these are originally called Mini Idlis and Sambar Idlis and cocktail idlis. In Bangalore and probably Madras, they are served dipped in sambar. I wonder how they would taste with rasam. So should I change the name of my post? And thanks to all those who responded to my query. It was interesting to read all the stories associated with it.
These are not Rava Idlis. These are regular idlis but made in the small mould. So if anyone cannot find the Idli Rava in their Asian stores, use normal method to make idlis. One good Basic recipe is RP's Workshop's Idli recipe.

You will need:
For Idlis
Idli Rava(A kind of rice flour)- 1cup
Urad Dal- ½ cup
Salt-1 tsp
For the Yogurt Base:
Plain Cold Yoghurt- 2 cups
Water- 1cup
Coconut-1 cup
Green Chilies-5
Curry leaves-3
Ginger-1/4 inch piece
Salt-1/4 tsp(to taste)
For the seasoning:
Oil-1 tbsp
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves-one sprig
Red Whole chilies-2
Salt-1/4 tsp(to taste)
1. Idli: Wash and soak the urad dal for 4-5 hrs and grind well with water. Add the idli rava and enough water to blend it. Grind for some more time to make a smooth batter. Scrape into a large vessel and cover with aluminum foil. Pierce some holes in it with a fork to let the air escape. Keep in a warm place overnight to ferment. When it is well fermented, add salt and enough water to make it slightly pour able.
2. Grease the micro idli moulds and pour about ½ tsp of idli batter in each mould. It will rise when cooked so do not fill to the brim. Steam in a pressure cooker (without the weight) for 7-10 minutes. Remove and unfold into a large serving bowl.

3. Now the yogurt base: Grind the coconut, the green chilies, ginger and curry leaves with little water to a fine paste. Add the yogurt, water and blend well. Add salt as needed. Pour the yogurt sauce all over the micro idlis. Let it soak the sauce in. Add more yogurt mixed with water as needed.
4. Tempering: heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan. After a minute, lower the heat and add the mustard seeds and cover till it finishes spluttering. Keep a safe distance if uncovered. Now add the curry leaves, and red chilies. Pour over the idlis. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This tastes best when the idlis are freshly made. If planning to use the next day, keep the idlis and the sauce separately and mix heated idlis only when ready to eat. The idlis tend to get hard in the refrigerator.

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Linda said...

Hi Shaheen - these look like alot of fun, to make and to eat. Yogurt sauce sounds lovely :)

Jayashree said...

Looks like sambar idlis....idlis soaked in sambar...kind of like sambar vada.

Anonymous said...

i make mini idlis dipped in sambhar or vada in yogurt, but this is something new, shall try soon

sudhav said...

Shaheen thats a whole bunch of yummy idli's.i can feel the taste here..thanks for sharing..

seema said...

heyy this is something new on the Yogurt sauce bit...i've had these mini idilis here but not with the sauce...will try this one!

Missed the squid receipe..caught up now though...that pic looksss so inviting n temptin..just wannaa have them for just nearin lunch time !!!

Priya Bhaskaran said...

Hey Shaheen... wow yummy recipe--- never had idli in yogurt--- will try for tmrw evening snack-- my hubby after seeing the picture--he is like: pls make this and give me-- I love anything made of going to try tmrw:)

shilpa said...

Shaheen, never tried idlis and yogurt. Will try this soon. In Bangalore these idlis were called mini idlis. They were served dipped in sambar. I just loved them.

Foodie's Hope said...

Cooool Idlies, literally!! Thank you, perfect for summer lunch!!

archana said...

This will make a nice refreshing lunch, thank you for ther recipe. I would love to buy a micro idli stand. My mother has one, and when we bought it , it came with a label with "mani (spelled as money) idli stand" written in malayalam. I know people calling these idlis as mini idlis,sambar idlis etc.

Meena Kandlakuti said...

nice presentation and photos are very tempting to eat idlis right away:-))thanks for sharing

Chandrika said...

Shaheen, your recipe sounds delicious and your photo looks yummy! Will try it soon.. :-) Thanks for sharing...

Shaheen said...

linda, it is fun to eat. try it.
jayshree, sudhav, now i get it, these probably originated as sambar idlis.
seema,yogurt sauce is just a nice way of saying thair idli.:)
priya, meena do let me know if it turned out well.
shilpa,i haven't stayed in b'lore so i was new to the mini idlis.
asha, they are literally cool too.
archana, i got the idli stand from our little india here on oak tree road, and compared to the indian cost, i did have to pay many "mani" for mini idli stand.
chandrika, thanks for the kins words.

Revathi said...

Hmm mini idlis... its a very fast moving dish in the Saravana bhavan.. called 14 idlis served with sambar....

Priya S&S said...

Never tried these cute little idlis in yogurt.. beautiful pictures Shaheen !!

Priya Bhaskaran said...

Shaheen, tried this evening !! came out yummy.. we both liked it very much....

Anonymous said...

We call them cocktail idlis.

Jayashree said...

Shaheen, I have posted the recipe for padavalange thoran on my blog. Thx for stopping by and leaving a comment.

maneka nirmal said...

shaheen...we make mini idlis at home with sambar..but never imagined the option of having it with curd sauce.nice recipe..'ll give it a try when the next time i have the patients to grind the idli batter...thanks for sharing.

Ashwini said...

I think I have heard them being called as cocktail idlis. But this is such a yummy idea - combining two fave snacks and making one!
I loooove that bowl Shaheen :-)

sra said...

i also heard of them being called button idlis!

indosungod said...

Shaheen, I had this at a friends place and have loved them since, kids favorite too.

Shaheen said...

revathi, 14 idlis seems apt for the size.
priya,it is a refreshing snack.
priya, happy to know ur family loved it.
jayshree, thaks for postin i am going to check it out.
maneka, hope u will grind the batter soon.:)
anon, it would have been nic eif u had left a name.:)
ashwini,sra, i have added the term cocktailand button idlis.thanks.
indu, good that u know what it is. i was starting to feel that this was a weird combination.

Krithika said...

This one is new. Never had these mini idlis in yogurt sauce. Looks mouth watering. Thanks for sharing.

Annita said...

I haven't tasted these mini idlis ,Shaheen.But it looks inviting and i think i'll also have to get a mini idli stand on my next India visit.

mitr_bayarea said...


first time visitor to ur blog, have a dinner planned for tongiht and mini idlis w/sambar was on the menu, now its mini idlis in yogurt-I hope this comes out as nice as it looks on your picture.

Shaheen said...

Kritika,they are yummy. If you like dahi vada, u will like this.
Annita,don't u have an indian store near you to buy this? I could sent it to u if you want one.
Mitr, I pray it comes out well so your family is happy.

Zerin said...

Hi Shaheen,

I tried out the idlis, but mine turned out to be sticky. it didnt come out of the mould in the idli shape. it was all mushy. can i make dosas or uthappams out of the batter? I took the double amount of the quantity(I have a lot of members at my place). how much water should i add to it? i think the water i added became a little too much

Zerin said...

thanks for your tip. I am not an idli lover, but once i had rava idlis made by my aunt. it was great so wen i saw shaheen's recipe thought will try it out, but it was a disaster. now am going to make uthapams out of it. hope it turns out ok.

Shaheen said...

hi zerin, was wondering where u were.:) Ramazan Kareem to you and all your family memebers.
Abt the idlis, did u use idli rava?
if it came out sticky, it probably hasn't risen enough. It should rise uo to be almost double in quantity. You could try this with regular idli maavu too(rice-dal. Add just enough water to make it pourable. Not double, just about 1 cup or so. And this mix can be used for dosa or uttappams too. Don't get disheartened, I could never make idlis properly earlier, but its all in the mix.

Shaheen said...

Hi zerin, i thot so. i am the mallu girl.:)
i should have clarified. its not rava idli, its idli rava, a kind of rice powder used to make idlis instead of using regular rice. if you cannot find it, use 1 cup urad dal and 2 cups regular rice and grind it.

Vetri Sudar N Jagan said...

Way too good. I tried it and everyone just loved it! Tastes similar to "thayir vadai" but idillis instead of vadai gives a yummy taste!