Chilli idli is a variation of the south Indian rice cakes called as Idli. Idli is ubiquitous in Tamilnadu and is one of the most common food items that you can find there (next only to rice). Chilli idli or kaima idli is basically a fried dish where you have fried idli pieces as the base ingredient.
Chilli idli is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. It is very easy to prepare and can be done quickly as well. It is also a popular snack item but mainly served as a dinner dish in restaurants back home.
In you preparation, deep fry the idli pieces to give restaurant touch. Make sure to steam idlis six to eight hours ahead and store it in a refrigerator. So that the pieces will absorb less oil while frying. If you are health conscious like us, you could simply spray some cooking oil on top of the pieces and bake in the oven until the sides are crisp and change color. But I would say, once in a while you should skip all your calorie calculations and do it the tasty albeit not so healthy way ;).
Here is my version of restaurant style chilli idli 🙂
- Vegetable oil- for deep frying
- Idli – 7 nos
- Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – a sprig
- Onion – 1
- Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbs
- Tomato, large – 1
- Green chilli – 2
- Green Capsicum or bell pepper, cut lengthwise – ½ cup
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Pav bhaji masala – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup – 1 tbsp
- Salt as required
- Garlic powder – 1 tsp (optional)
- Onion powder – 1 tsp (optional)
- Cashews – 1 tbsp
- Cilantro, chopped – 2 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Steam the idlis and refrigerate it at least for 6 hours.
- Heat oil in a frying pan, and meanwhile cut the idlis to desirable bite size pieces.
- Fry the idli pieces until it turns brown and crispy. Drain on a plate lined with paper napkin and set aside.
- Heat a pan with a tbsp of oil, season with fennel seeds and curry leaves.
- When they start to sizzle, add in the chopped onion. Sauté until the onions turn translucent. Add in ginger-garlic paste and stir fry until the raw aroma disappears.
- Now add in chopped tomato followed by slit chillis. Sauté for couple of minutes until the tomatoes are mushy without any chunks.
- Add bell pepper and give it a stir.
- Now in a low flame, add chilli powder, coriander powder, pav bhaji masala, salt and ketchup. Stir well until all the masalas are well mixed.
- Add in the fried idli pieces to the masala and give a good stir until the masalas are blended.
- Now add ¼ th cup of water and bring it to boil. When the water is completely absorbed, add in garlic and onion powder. Give it a stir. Switch off the flame.
- Garnish with fried cashews and chopped cilantro.
- Drizzle few drops of lemon juice on top before serving.
- Enjoy hot chilli idli with onion raitha!
What is your version of chilli idli?