World Idli Day Date in the current year: March 30, 2022

World Idli Day World Idli Day is a holiday for all Indian food lovers out there. Observed on March 30 every year, it was started in 2015 by M. Eniyavan, an idli caterer from Chennai. The holiday celebrates the favorite breakfast dish in South India.

Idli (also spelled idly) are a type of savory rice cake made from fermented black lentils (mungo beans) and rice. They are a popular breakfast food in South India and Sri Lanka. The firs mention of a mungo bean dish similar to the modern idli dates back to the 10th century AD.

However, ancient idli recipes differ from modern ones in three key aspects: they do not include rice; the batter is not fermented; they do not require steaming. The first idli recipes that use a mix of rice and black lentils date back to the second half of the 13th century. Some food historians claim that the dish originated in Indonesia, but there is no reliable evidence to support this theory.

The idli batter is made of four parts rice and one part de-husked mungo beans. The rice and the beans are soaked separately for at least four hours, preferably overnight. Fenugreek seeds and other spices (chili peppers, coriander, cumin, ginger, mustard seeds) are sometimes added to the water for additional flavor. After soaking, the rice is coarsely ground and the lentils are ground into a paste. Finally, the two ingredients are combined and left to ferment overnight. During fermentation, the volume of the batter doubles.

Idlis are steamed in a special mold tray for fluffiness. Once filled with batter, the tray is placed atop a boiling pot and covered with a lid until the idlis are ready. Depending on the size, it usually takes the idlis 10 to 25 minutes to cook. Instead of a more traditional stovetop steamer, some people use electric idli cookers with non-stick coating.

Since idlis taste quite plain, they are always served with condiments, such as sambar (a lentil-based vegetable curry), various chutneys, or malu mirisata (spicy Sri Lankan fish curry). There’s also a variation of idli stuffed with potato, carrot, beans and masala. Although idlis are usually savory, sugar is sometimes added to the batter to make them sweet.

In addition to the traditional idli recipe, there are countless variations that have emerged due to different cooking customs and available ingredients in different parts of India and Sri Lanka. To reduce cooking time, parboiled rice, ground rice or cream of rice may be used instead of raw whole rice. A variation of idli named rava idli, which is popular in Karnataka, is made with semolina instead of rice. Another grain that may be used to replace rice is finger millet (kodo).

A variation of idli popular in Goa and parts of Karnataka is called sanna. In addition to black lentils, the batter contains coconut milk and coconut water for fermentation. To reduce cooking time, idlis may be made from unfermented batter. In such a case, dahi (a traditional Indian fermented milk product similar to yogurt) is added to the batter to give it its signature sour flavor.

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International Observances, Unofficial Holidays

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World Idli Day, food days, international observances, unofficial holidays, South Indian cuisine