Mixed Veggie Idli with Sambal

My mother’s idlis and vadais are famous amongst family and friends. So, the two are regularly made at home. Unfortunately, I have never been fond of either and used to often eat instant noodles whenever they were being made at home. On the rare occasions that I did eat them, it had to be only that made by my mother. However, I became a fan the first time I tasted my mother’s experimental mixed veggie idli with sambal. I still don’t eat idlis or vadais outside of my home but I am no longer fussy when idli is on the dinner menu at home.

So, today, I am sharing my mother’s recipe for the mixed veggie idli and sambal.

Mixed veggie idli with sambal

Mixed Veggie Idli

Cooking time: 10 – 15 mins + Soaking and fermenting time: around 12 – 24 hours

Makes 16 idlis

Mixed veggie idli


  • Urad dal (Black gram) – ½ cup
  • Basmathi or samba rice – ½ cup
  • White raw rice – ¼ cup
  • Carrot – ¼ cup, grated
  • Leeks – ¼ cup, grated
  • Onion – ¼ cup, grated
  • Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
  • Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves, finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil


  1. Soak the urad dal, samba or basmathi and white raw rice separately for a minimum of 6 hours.  Overnight soaking is better.
  2. Grind the dal and rice together with a little water to a thick batter consistency, much thicker than pancake batter.
  3. Cover and keep for 6 hours.
  4. After six hours, heat a little oil in a pan and lightly sauté the fennel seeds, chopped onions, curry leaves for a few seconds before adding the carrots, leeks and chillies and fry lightly. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Stir in the sautéed vegetable mixture and the chopped coriander leaves into the batter mix. Add salt, to taste, baking powder (optional) and a little water so that the batter is easy to pick with a scooping spoon.
  6. Pour the batter onto the idli molds on an idli steamer and steam for about 10 mins.
  7. This batter mix makes 16 idlis.
  8. Serve hot with sambal.

Note: For those who do not have an idli steamer and wish to simply try out this recipe once, the alternative would be to pour the batter into a small bowl placed in a larger bowl with water and steamed, similar to a steamed pudding. The steamed idli can then be overturned onto a plate or tray and then cut into pieces. This would mean though that you would not get the standard or usual shape of idlis and would need to repeat the process a couple of times till the batter mix runs out. Then again, if you do end up liking what you eat, you would probably want to invest in a regular idli cooker with a four or five tiered idli stand for the next time around.


Preparation time: 5 mins

Serves 4


  • Scraped fresh coconut – 1 cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5, chopped
  • Onion – 1, medium sized, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Oil


  1. Heat a little oil in a pan and roast separately the chopped red chillies, then the curry leaves, chopped onion and finally the scraped coconut and remove from heat.
  2. Mix all and dry grind them to make the sambal.
  3. Serve with the mixed veggie idli.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

2 thoughts on “Mixed Veggie Idli with Sambal

  1. Years ago when I was travelling in south India I ate idli every day for five weeks — just couldn’t do curry for breakfast! Thanks for this recipe — I will try it this weekend!

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