Idli with sambar and green and red chutney

Photo of idli with sambar and green and red chutney.

Idli with sambar and green and red chutney is a well-known and traditional South Indian breakfast, with a light, fluffy texture and delicious taste. Providing a balanced serving of protein, fiber, and other nutrients, this diabetes-friendly alternative gives you a full start to the day without raising blood sugar levels.

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus fermenting time)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving size: 3 idlis per person


For idli:

  • Idli rice, 1 cup (250g)
  • Urad dal (split black gram), 1 cup (250g)
  • Fenugreek seeds, ½ tsp (5g)
  • Water, for soaking and grinding
  • Salt to taste

For sambar:

  • Toor dal (split pigeon peas), 1 cup (250g)
  • Mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, eggplant, drumstick, etc.), 2 cups (500g), chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Tamarind pulp, 1 tbsp (5g)
  • Sambar powder, 2 tbsp (10g)
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp (2.5g)
  • Mustard seeds, 1 tsp (5g)
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tsp (5g)
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • A few curry leaves
  • Oil, 2 tbsp (10ml)
  • Salt to taste

For green chutney:

  • Fresh coriander leaves, 1 cup (250g)
  • Fresh mint leaves, ½ cup (125g)
  • 2-3 green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
  • Roasted chana dal (split chickpeas), 1 tbsp (5g)
  • Grated coconut (optional), 1 tbsp (5g)
  • Lemon juice, 1 tbsp (5ml)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed

For red chutney:

  • Grated coconut, 1 cup (250g)
  • 4-5 dried red chilies (adjust to spice level)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Roasted chana dal (split chickpeas), 1 tbsp (5g)
  • Tamarind pulp, 1 tbsp (5g)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed


For idli:

  1. Rinse idli rice and urad dal separately, then steep for 4-6 hours in water flavoured with fenugreek seeds.
  2. After soaking, drain the rice and dal. Mix each to a smooth consistency, using as little water as possible. Then in a big bowl, combine the dal and pounded rice.
  3. Add salt to taste and thoroughly combine. Then cover the bowl and leave the batter to ferment for 8-10 hours in a warm location (best done overnight, so it's ready for the following morning).
  4. Check to see if the batter has fermented. If it has, you should see the volume has increased. If it hasn't, and the volume is the same as before, you shouldn't steam cook it (the idli will become like a stone and be inedible). Instead, use the batter to make dosas (there's no point leaving it for longer, it will only spoil).
  5. If the batter has fermented, grease idli moulds with oil or cooking spray. Fill each mould half full with the fermented batter.
  6. Steam-cook the idlis in a steamer for 10-12 minutes. To see if the idlis are ready, insert a toothpick in the centre – It should come out clean.
  7. Garnish with curry leaves.

For sambar:

  1. In a pressure cooker with adequate water, cook the toor dal until it's mushy and soft. Mash the dal and set it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a big pot, then add mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, cumin seeds, and asafoetida and allow to splutter.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook until they become transparent. Then add the tomatoes, cooking until tender.
  4. Add the curry powder, sambar powder, and mixed vegetables. Mix thoroughly and heat for a short while.
  5. Add tamarind pulp, salt, and water as needed. Let the sambar simmer until the vegetables are soft.

For green chutney:

  1. In a blender, combine the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies, ginger, roasted chana dal, lemon juice, salt and grated coconut (if using).
  2. Blend the ingredients, adding water as necessary, until you achieve the desired smooth chutney consistency.

For red chutney:

  1. In a blender, combine the garlic, roasted chana dal, tamarind pulp, grated coconut, dried red chilies and salt.
  2. Blend the ingredients, adding water as necessary, until you achieve the desired smooth chutney consistency.

To serve: Serve the steaming, fluffy idlis along with the sambar and green and red chutneys.

Storage: Store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 days. Heat before eating.

Nutritional information

Per serving:

Calories - 320kcal

Fat - 6g

Carbohydrate - 57g

Protein - 12g

Sodium - 200mg

Sugar - 7g

Fibre - 11g

Profile photo of dietitian Sana Fatima, contributor of the diabetes-friendly Idli with sambar and green and red chutney recipe.
Sana Fatima

Sana Fatima has years of experience in recipe analysis and dietary advice. She loves to create delicious recipes that satisfy the body and soul, drawing from her deep understanding of food science. Her aim is to combine taste and nutrition, making every meal a joyous step towards thriving health.

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