Recipe for a Kerala Breakfast

Recipes for iddali and chutney, a typical Kerala breakfast, are given in this article. Iddali - typical kerala breakfast A steam-cooked dish, the iddali is a clean food item. Its health value could be enhanced by adding vegetable pieces to the iddali dough. The chutney (a spicy relish) could be made with different ingredients. Using different kinds of leaves, both its flavor and health value could be improved. (In the pic right, the relish is chutney powder - a masala - instead of chutney proper.)

Preparing An Iddali Breakfast

Preparations for an iddali breakfast typically start in the morning of the day before. The main ingredients have to be soaked for six hours and then ground into a liquid dough. The dough then has to be fermented overnight.

Making the Iddali Dough


  • Rice (preferably the special iddali rice) - 3 cups
  • Split urad dal (black gram) - 1 cup
  • Salt - 2 tsp

Different kinds of rice can produce iddalis of different consistencies and appearance. The right kind of rice (iddali rice) would produce the soft, much-liked, iddalis.

The urad dal must be split before it is used. It is split using a traditional hand-mill found in most Kerala households. Or you can buy a pack of split urad dal.


  1. Soak the rice and dal separately in water for six hours. Add enough water to cover the soaked content even at the end of the six hour period.
  2. After the six-hour period, wash the rice and dal. Remove the black skin of the dal. You would find this easy when the dal is soaked.
  3. Grind the urad dal throroughly, with sufficient water, to make a very smooth, almost frothy dough.
  4. Grind the rice. Rice should not be ground as smoothly as the dal. Instead, the rice should be converted into semolina-sized particles, with just enough water to hold the particles together.
  5. Mix the dal and rice dough, add salt and stir thoroughly. Cover and keep overnight for fermentation.
Fermentation occurs at around 24 degrees celsius. In cold conditions, place the dough mixture in a warm environment. The volume of the mixture would be almost double at the end of a successful fermentation (pic right).

Making iddalis

Iddali-plateIddalis are cooked in a vessel filled one-third with water. The vessel can typically accommodate two iddali plates (see pic left) at the top end. The vessel is placed over a fire to generate steam to cook the iddalis.

Pouring dough into cupsThe dough mixture is stirred once again thoroughly and poured into the cups on the iddali plate (pic right). Ideally, the mixture should not be filled to the brim. As steam cooking expands the volume, the iddali could spread untidily over the plate if too much dough is poured.

Removing cooked iddalisThe vessel is closed and the dough steamed for about ten minutes. Check that the dough is completely cooked (it should not be dough any more). When cooked, remove the iddalis from the plate using a spatula (pic left).

If you wish to enhance the health value of the iddalis, you can add grated carrot and finely chopped beans (both together maximum one cup) to the fermented dough just before stirring it and starting the cooking.

Recipe for Coconut-Pudina Chutney


  • Grated coconut - 1 cup
  • Pudina (Mint) leaves - 2 tbsp
  • Large Green Chillies - 4 nos
  • Ginger piece - 0.5 inch
  • Fresh lime juice - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp


Blend all the ingredients in a blender after adding sufficient water. The quantity of water could depend on your preferences. If you want a dough-consistency chutney add just enough for the blending. For a watery chutney, add more.

A Healthy Breakfast

A steamed carrot-and-beans iddali and pudina chutney could provide a healthy breakfast!

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