You Have To Eat This: Barbie Idlis!


It is berry season now and everywhere you go, there are red red strawberries! If you’ve got a lot, you probably want to make jam, milkshakes, pies and tarts out of them, which are great but if you can spare a few strawberries, you can get to make these really interesting, tasty, fun idlis, which are traditional steamed rice dumplings made in Sri Lanka and South India! So why don’t you go ahead and surprise friends and family this weekend with Barbie Idlis?

Spicy Stuffed Barbie Idlis! (makes 8 idlis)

– 5 firm red strawberries
– Idli batter (ready made or home made)
– Small thumb size piece of ginger
– Cumin seeds
– 6 curry leaves
– A handful of fresh coriander leaves
– 5 or 6 black pepper corns
– Salt to taste
– Idli maker (a pressure cooker with idli plates OR an idli maker: whatever your mom can lend you!)
– A drop of oil: olive/sunflower/sesame

1. Grind the strawberries with curry leaves, ginger, pinch of salt and pepper corns into a smooth mix and keep it aside.

2. Take 16 heaped tablespoons of idli batter in a bowl and mix the ground mix of strawberries into it. (The mix will look super pink but don’t worry…it will be a much lighter colour after you steam the idlis!)

3. Next, wash the coriander really well in a colander to remove any fine mud that might be stuck to its leaves.

4. Grind the washed coriander with a pinch of salt into a smooth paste WITHOUT adding water and keep aside.

5. Now prepare the idli maker (pressure cooker or any other vessel you traditionally use to make idlis) and make sure that the water comes to a boil in it.

6. Take the idli plates and oil them with a drop of oil so that the idlis come off easily when done.

7. Then put one spoon of the pink idli batter into each depression in the plate and lower it carefully into the hot water in pressure cooker or idli maker. Close the lid and steam for 3 minutes. (Note: Do this with supervision if you have never done it before!)

8. After 3 minutes, wait till it is safe to remove the lid of the cooker and then remove the idli plate.

9. Put a teaspoon of the coriander paste on the firm layer of idli and put another tablespoon of pink idli batter very carefully on this coriander paste so as to cover it completely. (This is how you make STUFFED idlis: you are getting there!)

10. Check to see if there is enough water in the cooker and if it is really hot and then lower the idli plate into it. Close and cook for 5 min now.

11. After 5 min, switch off the heat, wait till it is safe to open the lid of the idli maker, and then remove the plate. (Make one batch of 4 idlis at a time).

12. Prick one idli with a fork to see if it is cooked. If the fork comes out clean, then the idlis are done. Wait for them to cool now (about 2min) before using a clean dry butter knife to remove the idlis from the plate.

13. Serve with coconut chutney or eat it plain. You choose.

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Ranjani Ramesh

I am passionate about healthy eating and love innovating in the kitchen when I find time.

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