Idlis are round cakes made from a batter of steamed rice and fermented black lentil. Sometimes, fenugreek is added to the batter to give it flavour. Idlis are a popular, sort-of-staple food in the South Indian states.


Vada is a savoury, fried snack. To many, it may look like a fried version of doughnuts. Vadas are of several types made of legumes (pigeon pea, chickpea, black gram, green gram), potatoes and sometimes even with curd (dahi vada). They are made of compact batter mixed with cumin seeds, curry leaves, onions, etc. Both feel a little bland on their own and are best complemented with coconut chutney or sambhar. Sambhar, in essence, is a hot, lentil-based chowder cooked with tamarind broth. Usually it is loaded with lots of vegetables like pumpkin, drumstick, lady finger, sweet potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

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