Southern Comfort

Give this beloved Indian meal a healthy makeover

Updated: May 19, 2019 09:50:18 IST
Southern Comfort

Everyone loves a plate of freshly steamed idlis (well, almost). Light and easy to digest, idlis make the perfect meal anytime: breakfast, snack or dinner. And because they are made with fermented batter, they are rich in gut-friendly bacteria too. What’s more, combined with spicy sambar, they make for a filling and tasty meal.

Here’s how to make them healthy too.


2 medium idlis (78 kcal), 

Sambar: 1 medium-size bowl or 160 ml (200 kcal), 

Coconut chutney: 2 tbsp (130 kcal)

Total calorie count: 408 kcal


  • Skip the chutney, which uses oil and coconut—both high-calorie ingredients. Also, omit the seasoning while making sambar. Add the masala as the last step and then bring it to a boil. This saves at least 150 kcal.
  • Mix chopped vegetables (carrots, cabbage or okra) in the sambar and idli batter to boost volume and, hence, satiety. I use barley flour with flaxseed powder to add extra fibre content. These additions reduce the amount of rice–lentil batter needed to make the idlis (always a good thing!).


  • Cut back on one idli—an easy call with vegetable-mixed idli batter. Also, this will reduce how much sambar you consume. Calories saved—80 kcal.

New calorie count: 178 kcal

Total calories saved: 230 kcal


Previously published in Prevention India © July 2008 Living Media India Limited.

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