Idli along with its side servings is one of the best and balanced nutrition for breakfast or any day of the meal. The side servings coconut chutney, sambar and milakai podi provide more essential nutrients to the body. Let us start with plain idly without considering side servings.
Idly is made is from par boiled rice, which is a bit more nutritious than raw rice by having higher amount of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Urad dal used to make the batter has high amount of fibre, about 26% of protein and rich in Vitamin B1/B2/B6 and few minerals. B6 will be lost if the dal used is processed dal i.e. skin removed kernel. It is best to remove the skin before preparing for the batter, just like the olden days. Fermentation process brings in good bacteria to the batter.
Consider the side servings. Coconut has high amount of fibre and so is the chick peas. Chick peas also is a good source of protein apart from fibre. Green chilly is one of the highest sources of Vitamin C. Coconut, chick peas and chillies combined to give one of the best source of fibre, protein, vitamin C and minerals. Add few curry leaves for garnishing. Your day’s supply for Vitamin A is also covered. So Idly combined with chutney provides all necessary vitamins except Vitamins E & B12. We will come to the remaining vitamins.
Another side serving for Idly is the Milakai Podi (also known as the chutney powder), which is rich is protein and fibre due to urad dal ingredient. Add sumptuous Gingelly Oil. Your daily supply of Omega-6, little bit of Omega-3 and Vitamin E is covered. Add one spoon of Ghee to top the hot Idly. Daily requirement of Vitamin B12 and good quality fat are covered.
Idli served with its side dishes Chutney, Sambar and Ghee is a complete and balanced nutrition for any time of the day and not just breakfast.
Steamed: Lots of breakfast options in India dole out lots of butter and oil and vegetables. While many vegetables are a bonus, the oil and salt used to cook them are not. Idli is steamed, which cuts down on your butter/oil intake in the most important meal for the day, by a mile.
Nutritious: Traditionally made from rice and urad dal, Idli is rich in Carbohydrates and Protein. Other variants with Rava and vegetables add the vitamin component to this breakfast options and with idlis being steamed, the nutrients are retained.
Soft & light, yet filling: Breakfast is supposed to make you feel light and full of energy. Idli’s are among the softer breakfasts in India, such that people with teething or not teeth issues can also eat it.
One of the reason why Idli is popular is because it is light and fills you with energy, making it perfect for a healthy breakfast. Since idli is fermented, it is easy to digest. Fermented food is great as it enables better breakdown of minerals and vitamins in our body, which helps in digestion, fermentation also increases bio-availability of minerals in food, helping the body assimilate more nutrition. Idly also helps in balancing the PH in the intestines, which is associated with long life and good health.
Since plain idlis are mild in taste, a condiment is considered essential. Idlis are often served with sambar but this varies greatly by region and personal taste. Idlis are also frequently served with chutneys (coconut based), kaara chutney (onion based) or Spicy Fish Curries. The dry spice mixture podi is convenient while travelling.
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