Kutty Idly – This is yet another childhood delicacy. Idlies are the staple breakfast and/or dinner main course.. that we know. Kutty means small and these are a smaller version of the same batter but with a different mould – smaller to have a tempting trick on children and some grown ups too!
And who said it’s not for adults? It is a sort after breakfast or tea-time snack in restaurants all over Tamilnadu, especially the cities. Patiently making countless small idlies is though easier than taking the idlies out of the mould!
These are also called Button Idlies or Mini Idlies or may be some other names too, in course of introduction to connoisseurs from other states and countries. The word ‘kutty idli’ is slowly diminishing to ‘mini idli’, in the pretext of adding comprehension to any new comer. (Thankfully Idli is only Idli till today.)
kutty idli/mini idli
When it is a kids’ meal, in most houses, kutty idli is had with the chutney of the day. It is quite an ideal size for children to pick up and have their meal themselves. Remember, children were always fed till they themselves felt they need to be independent…! What a luxury in those days! No stress on the child to pick up food till at least age four I suppose. (This does not include the occasional feeding that goes on till high school too by ammas and aachis… I enjoy this luxury and love even today when I go home.)But mostly not anymore… sometimes better for good reasons.. children start at a very early age today…
Before getting more nostalgic, now, these Kutty Idlies are perfect for children to pick up their breakfast, dinner or evening snack themselves and relish it too!
These idlies get a special image lift, when they are soaked in sambar – the tangy lentil curry. The Sambar version can be altered to preferences, spicy, tangy or subtle in flavours or just with more lentle suitable for children. As they are soaked in hot sambar, the soft idlies become softer, easier for elders as well. The sambar here is not the usual sambar, it tastes the best with Araichu Vitta Sambar – Sambar made with freshly ground spices.
Here, I have tried to give the same flavour of Araichchu Vitta Sambar with the same Amma’s Sambar Powder with ground coconut and coriander seeds.
This complete meal is called Sambar Idly – idlies soaked in Sambar. Do not make the mistake of ordering Idly Sambar in a restaurant keeping in mind idlies soaked in Sambar. When it is Idly Sambar, you are served normal idlies with chutney and sambar. When it is Sambar Idly, you got it right!
Things needed for Kutty Idlies-
Kutty Idli Mould – mine makes 18
Idli batter – see https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/16/basic-idlidosa-batter
Steam idlies in the mould or those without the mould can use very small bowls as moulds. Or just cut the normal idlies into four or six pieces… the idlies to be soaked in sambar is what matters after all!
Thengai Araitha Sambar
- We would need atleast 3 to 4 cups of sambar to soak one set of idlis (18)
- Check the recipe of sambar at https://dosaikal.com/2012/02/08/sambar. Make 1/2 quantity of the sambar to be enough for soaking idlis
Make Sambar with no vegetables This sambar is made with only shallots and it is called Vengaya Sambar- In general, the sambar to go with rice has vegetables in it but the kuzhambu/gravy/curry to go with idlies and dosais are made with shallots and no vegetables; keeping all the other ingredients like tomatoes, tamarind, sambar powder and lentils intact
- This Sambar is less time-consuming with no added vegetables and shallots cook very fast
- Roast 3 tsp grated coconut with 2 tsp coriander seeds till coconut becomes golden brown. Grind into coarse powder
- When shallots are cooked in tamarind-sambar powder and the already cooked lentil is added, bring the kuzhambu to a boil. Now, add the ground coconut-coriander powder and let the Sambar boil till the raw smell of coriander is gone
- Garnish with coriander leaves and asafoetida and sambar is ready
Place the steamed kutty idlies in a wide bowl and pour hot Sambar and let it soak for at least ten minutes
Serve in small bowls.