This dish is one of my earliest food memories. But until recently, I never knew what it was called. While growing up I always referred to it as “orange idli upma” or “gundu idli” (coz’ of the big chunks) or simply ” that idli thing you made when we went to the park”. Then when I started to cook, this was one of my earlier trials(as you will see below, its quite a simple recipe), I started calling it “Masala idli”, adding ‘masala’ to a food’s name makes it official, right ? 🙂 Recently, while I was browsing for something else, I stumbled upon this familiar recipe and figured out it is called “Idli Siyali”. After all, this has a name , that too such a sweet name. 🙂
- This is usually made with left over idlis. Your idlis “must” be in room temperature if not colder. Fresh idlis will lose form and crumble.
- Cut the idlis into big cubes, roughly 1 idli into 4 pieces.
- To make the masala, you will need 1 big red onion, 1 medium tomato and few curry leaves. Tomato and onion should be cubed , no fine chopping.
- In a pan/wok,heat 2 tbsp of oil (sesame oil, preferred), splutter a tsp of mustard seeds and fry a tsp each of urad dhal and channa dhal to golden brown.
- Saute the onions and curry leaves, Onions do not have to brown.
- Add the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt to sweat the tomatoes.
- Tomatoes do not have to soften too much. Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 3 tsp of sambar powder (add more or less as you wish) and some salt. If you do not have sambar powder, use 2 tsp of red chilli powder and 1 tsp of coriander powder. Let the powders mix with oil.
- Add about 1/2 cup of water. Water allows the sambar powder to cook fast. But don’t add too much water, as the gravy is going to be reduced to a thick paste anyways. Also add a pinchof vellam/jaggery/brown sugar.
- Allow the masala to boil thoroughly and reduce. When you see the oil separating , it is done.
- Add the cut idli pieces to the masala and mix it gently without breaking them.
- Sprinkle coriander leaves and remove from heat.
You can use boiled egg instead of idlis in this recipe to make a quick egg masala.
Another variation, is instead of using tomatoes ,you can also use tamarind juice.