picture of Susan Cheryan

Susan Cheryan

This recipe for Idli, comes from Susan Cheryan. She is a mother to 2 beautiful daughters. As most young mothers, Susan enjoys cooking for her husband and children and creates delicious meals & treats for them.

At a recent Potluck Susan's contribution of Idli Sambar was delicious and very popular amongst the guests. Although the combination of Idli and Sambar is well known, Susan's version is the type made in Kerala, India, her hometown.

Idli is a savory, lentil cake that is steamed. It can also be made in a sweet form with the addition of sugar and dessicated coconut. Both forms are delicious. Sambar is similar to dhal, but it has a slight sour tang & includes a variety of vegetables.

Urad dhal is a lentil that is available in three forms. Its original form, a whole black lentil: a split form, where the lentils are split, exposing the creamy white interior but retaining the black skin & Urad dhal, in this recipe, light cream color lentils, with the black skins removed.

As all lentils, Urad dhal is also an excellent source of protein. It is used in many Indian recipes. Apart from Idli, it is also used to make a lentil savory cake, Vadde and Dosa. These ingredients are available at Indian grocers. Use idli steaming pans to steam the idlis, see image below.

Here is Susan's recipe.


  1. One cup Urad dhal
  2. ½cup par-boiled rice
  3. Two and a half cups idly rice
  4. 1 tsp fenugreek seed
  5. salt to taste


  • Clean & wash dhal & rice. Then soak all ingredients together
  • About 8 hours later, pulse this mix in a food processor or your choice of tool
  • Add salt to taste & allow it to ferment overnight
  • Next day, stir mix & pour even amounts of batter into Idli pans for steaming
  • Steam idlis for about 10 to 15 mins. This quantity should yield 12 idlis. Keep aside to cool
  • The idlis are ready to be eaten. Follow Susan's recipe to add extra flavor with the following steps

Sauté for Idlis

  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • I tblsp. oil
  • A few curry leaves & red chillies, torn
  • 2 tblsp. roasted & ground Urad dhall
  • 12 idlis
  • Heat a pot. On medium heat add 2 tblsps. Urad. Watch carefully & stir lentils briskly to avoid burning. It is done when it reaches a golden color. Cool & grind in coffee grinder
  • Cut each idli into four pieces. Heat oil and sauté ground urad dhall
  • Next add curry leaves, red chillies, mustard & cumin seeds. Now sauté the idlis. Be gentle, so as not to break the idlis. Keep aside.

Susan's Delicious Idli


Typical Idli Pot. Note the trays that fit in layers in this tall pot. The water for steaming fits in the base

For Susan's Kerala Sambar Recipe, check, Kerala Sambar

If you have any questions or would like to add a recipe of your own, email me, Nirmala, at email address
I will be happy to help with inquiries. The site will be regularly updated with tasty recipes, hints and tips. You will find my contact information at Contact

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