“Hotel Saravana Bhavan” Style Kaima Idli

Idlis are steam cooked, savory rice cakes popular in South India. In most south Indian homes, idlis appear on the breakfast menu at least couple of times a week. The left over idlis most likely turn into upma, a savory porridge for an afternoon snack. The next time you have left over idlis, please make this kaima idli, a Hotel Saravana Bhavan speciality. Known as fried idli or kaima idli in Saravana Bhavan, idlis are deep fried and coated in a spicy, tangy sauce to make this tasty appetizer/snack. I pan-fried the idlis in a tablespoon of oil and got the same results. The recipe works well with plain and rava idlis.



6 plain or rava idlis, refrigerated for at least 4 hours

1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon oil

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

7-8 curry leaves

2 Thai green chilies, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves



1. Cut the refrigerated idlis into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.

2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan. When oil is hot, add the cubed idlis and fry them evenly on all sides till they turn golden brown.

3. Remove the idlis from pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels and set them aside.

4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same pan and when oil is hot add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.

5. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add finely chopped onions and chilies. Cook till onions turn golden brown.

6. Add ginger and garlic, cook for a minute.

7. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and mushy.

8. Add coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.

9. Add tomato ketchup mixed in a tablespoon of water and garam masala. Mix well and cook for a minute.

10. Add the pan-fried idli pieces and stir to coat the sauce evenly on all the pieces. Cook for couple of minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with finely chopped cilantro leaves.


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