Idli – The Best Weight Loss Food from India

Written by

Idlis are amazing! Here’s why..

Recently Idli (or Idly) has gained the reputation of a weight loss food that is nutritious, easy to digest and very tasty. They contain zero fats, no cholesterol, and provide the body with much need carbs and a bit of protein.

So What is Idli?

Idli is a soft disk shaped cake like breakfast food made by steaming a mixture of fermented rice and white lentils in a pressure cooker. This is the staple breakfast food in all of Southern India where it is eaten along with a sauce known as shambar or coconut chutney (made using grated coconuts).

How to Make Idli?

Making idlis can come across as a tad bit difficult especially if you are a beginner. But with practice you can easily master this dish.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make idlis:

  • 1 cup of split white lentils soaked in water for around 3 to 4 hours (You can also use split black grams).
  • 2 cups of rice soaked in water for 4 hours.
  • Idly cooker or regular cooker with idly container.

Step 1: Grind the soaked split white lentils (urad dal) using minimal water using a grinder into a fine paste.

Step 2: Grid the soaked rice using a grinder into a coarse paste.

Step 3: Mix these two together and let the mixture ferment for 8 to 10 hours. The fermented mixture will rise up, so make sure to use a large container.

Step 4: Pour this fermented batter into your idly container and steam it for 15 minutes on high flame.

Step 5: Serve with chutney or any other sauce.

Idlis can be eaten with a sauce or chutney. Traditionally, they are eaten with coconut chutney.

Nutritional Information

Idlis contain no fat and no cholesterol. A single idli, contains appox two grams of protein and similar amount of dietary fiber along with 8 grams of carbohydrates.

Reference: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2

When to Eat Idlis?

Idlis can be eaten for breakfast and even for dinner. Because they are easy to digest and contain all the right nutrition, you will not feel heavy or bloated and at the same time feel full and have the feeling of satisfaction.

Is Idli Fattening?

No, we can safely assume that idli is not fattening unless of-course you are stuffing yourself. This is because, idli is steamed and has zero fat content. In addition to that, idli fills you up quickly and is easy to digest as the fermentation process increases the availability of proteins making it easier for the body to absorb energy. 6 to 8 idlis in the morning should be enough to fill you up sufficiently and can keep you feeling full for for at-least another 3 to 4 hours.

Even though idli is not fattening, if you are consuming idli along with the coconut chutney or any other sauce, you need to be wary of the fattening elements in it. In general, coconut is high in fat. A cup (around 80 grams) of coconut meat can contain up to 280 calories and roughly 20 grams of saturated fat. Although, it needs to be noted that coconut does not contain any trans fat. It also contains protein and a lot of dietary fiber which can aid in digestion. It also contains Vitamin C, calcium and lots of iron. So coconut is definitely a healthy option as opposed to other sauces and can be a perfect compliment to your idlis. Just be sure not to consume too much chutney.

An lighter and equally tasty alternative to coconut chutney is the idli powder(podi) which is a powered mixture of various dried spices and coconut oil. Learn how to make idli podi in the following youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2HQWB-tNSY

Making Idli is Too Difficult!

It is true the idli not the easiest dish to make. Initially, your idlis might turn out to be very hard or very soggy. It can take a lot of practice and experimentation before you get things right. Also, if you are are living in colder conditions, the idli mixture will not ferment easily and might take more than 10 to 15 hours. In addition, you also need to invest in an idli container.

Considering all this, an easy way to get started would be to buy your idlys from a nearby Indian restaurant. Preferably a restaurant that serves south Indian food. Start eating ready-made idlis for breakfast for around a couple of months and if you find yourself liking it and also see your weight reducing, you can then invest in an idly container and start experimenting at home.