Idlis Gone Wild
Idli House in Matunga serves over 15 varieties of the steamed rice cake but none of them are quite as weird as these:
Idli Chilli Dry at Santosh Sagar
Idlis are chopped, fried and tossed in a more florid version of the sauce used to make chicken chilli. There’s ginger, garlic, onions, green chillis, capsicum, soy sauce, chilli sauce and ketchup – all doused with a deep-crimson food colouring. Rs 80.
Shop No 6, Matru Ashish, Napean Sea Road. Tel: 2363 1199.
Butter Herb Idli and Thayir Idli at Cafe Bean Garu
To make butter herb idlis, chilli flakes and oregano are fried in butter. The idlis are then tossed into the pan and coated evenly with the spicy, buttery mix. For thayir idli, sugar and salt are whipped into curd, which the idlis are then soaked in. Traditionally, the idlis are served in a mix of curd, mustard seeds and curry leaves, but in this version, shredded carrots and fried boondi are sprinkled on for extra crunch. Rs 65 each.
Level 1, Haiko Mall, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai. Tel: 4015 3258.
Butter Garlic Idli at Banana Leaf
The butter garlic idli is not quite the idli equivalent of a seafood preparation. Here, garlic and tamarind are added to the batter before steaming the idli, and melted butter is poured on the cakes just before they are served. Comes with sambar and three kinds of chutney (white coconut, green cilantro and red garlic tomato). Rs 75.
Subham Chambers, near Four Bungalows Market, Versova, Andheri (West). Tel: 2628 9090.
Tawa Idli at Shiv Sagar
Idli pieces are roasted on a tawa and then tossed around in spicy pao bhaji. Which makes tawa idli = masala pao + idli – the pao. Rs60.
Marshal Apartments, Shop No 7-4, August Kranti Marg, Kemps Corner. Tel: 2380 3267. Also in Churchgate, Bandra and Ghatkopar.