March 30, 2019

Amma, Idli and us!

I must be in middle school then. Amma used to make idlis for breakfast once in a while. And I literally hated every time I had to eat those white rocks. For some reason, her idlis were as hard as rocks. She would say that they were hard because the batter was made in a mixie and not the rock age method of stone grinding. 

Image courtesy: Here

Amma and I belonged to an era which graduated from stone grinder to the electronic mixer. There used to be an old man who came asking for alms on weekends. Amma thought he reminded her of her paternal grandfather. We used to tease her, Go..attend him..your Appayya tata had come. She would admonish us giving us those looks which we were very much scared of back then. Not now though. That weekend, idli happened to be the breakfast and as usual, we did not complete them and there were enough to give them to him. She happily went and offered them to him and came inside. He stood there looking at her and the white rocks in his hand. Held them and turned them around, looking around and then threw it back on the compound wall and left. We kids roared with laughter at the act and the treatment the poor idlis got from him. From then on, the joke stayed in the family. 
Mom never got better at making idlis until she came to the U.S. (This is our claim, okay!). She would even say, you need to eat them hot..that's when they are soft. When they become cold, they become hard. I always kept arguing that the street side idlis never get hard even when they are cold. 
After I moved to the U.S and had a family of my own, I got the modern wet grinder from India as I learned that's the secret for fluffier idlis. And I would boast to her that my idlis are softer than hers and that I mastered the skill of making idlis. I still did not like eating them as much but had to make it for the husband and the kid. One thing I never understood is when people order Idli in a restaurant. I have this expression that says, "Idli? Who in the world orders an Idli in a hotel? Don't they have anything better to eat?"
Facebook tells me it's World Idli day today. I was speaking to Amma over the phone a while back and she said, they ate idlis today. I told her that it's World Idli day and reminded her of her Appayya tata joke and she claims...Oye...not anymore...mine are as soft as cotton balls now. And I say, Yeah...right!!! Here's a Happy Idli day to all the idli lovers across the globe!


  1. Am an avid Idli lover. You triggered my imagination to write a post on this:)

  2. Such a nostalgic post :) I love idlis! They are my comfort food. And I order them whenever we go to a typical south Indian restaurnt;) For me, they taste better than the oil dripping dosa and ghee dripping pongal :) And it is a saviour at home being the easiest tiffin to make!

  3. I love idlis and order them outside at restaurants because its the easiest simplest oil free vegan item.