In the lead up to World Idli Day on March 30th, an analysis by an online food ordering platform revealed that Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Chennai are the top three cities that ordered the most idli on the platform.
Who wants white, oval-shaped, mostly salt-less items as breakfast (or the entire day) every day? *Raises hand and looks around to see many more*. Idlis have traveled a long journey from Southern parts of India to almost everywhere in the world to become the ideal breakfast choice. On World Idli Day today, let’s talk about them.
Tracing its roots: Is idli really Indian?
According to food historian KT Acharya, idlis may have originated from what we now know as Indonesia since they had a penchant for fermented food. The cooks employed by Hindu kings in 800-1200 CE may have brought the recipe with them. However, there are others who differ. According to references in Al-Azhar University Library in Cairo, Arab traders brought the food to the subcontinent.
Arabs and idlis: A brief history
According to many food historians like Makhdoom Al-Salaqi (Syria), Zahiruddin Afiyaab (Lebanon), Arab traders ate idlis as they were strict about their dietary preferences. They were quite particular about wanting ‘halaal’ food, and Indian cuisine failed to offer it. That’s when they started making rice balls, which they would eat with coconut paste. The modern idli came into existence after the 8th century.
Nutrition- Check, Easily digestive- Check: Idlis are the best
According to the India Breakfast Habits Study, three idlis and a bowl of sambhar are one of the most healthy breakfasts one can have. This study was conducted in four metro cities across people ranging from 8 to 40 years of age. Since idli is fermented, it has an abundance of nutrients like folic acid, niacin, thiamine, biotin, and Vitamin K. They help in bowel movement and make skin radiant.
Who says your idli has to be boring?
With time, the staple idli too has revolutionized. There are a dozen ways you can give a twist to white idlis, to make them scrumptious. Spinach idlis, cocktail idlis, stuffed idlis, oats idlis, and chocolate idlis, to name a few. As for us, we wouldn’t mind celebrating World Idli Day, every day. Happy World Idli Day, everyone.