Idli Gets a Makeover; Not Everyone is Pleased

Idli Gets a Makeover; Not Everyone is Pleased
The popular south Indian breakfast finds itself in the middle of a controversy, again, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Idli seems to continue with its controversial streak, now if the soft roundels can be served shaped like a popsicle

Uttara Gangopadhyay
October 02 , 2021
08 Min Read

How would you like your idli to be served? As soft roundels with sambhar and chutney on the side  or served like a popsicle with sambhar and chutney as dips? It seems the jury is still out.

After his tweet about a nameless Himalayan pool as a destination for the ‘ultimate swimming experience’, industrialist Anand Mahindra has once again got tweeps clamouring, this time about the future of the popular south Indian breakfast, ‘idli’. Recently he tweeted about ‘idli on a stick with sambhar and chutney as dips’.

While some have reiterated the idea as ‘innovative’ …

… others are furious, and even horrified.



While some believe it is not a major issue as the originality of the food is maintained, others fear that the change in shape will change the texture of the food.

The Bengaluru restaurant reportedly serving this dish remains anonymous. However, this is not the first time that the idli has been subjected to experimentation. One of the popular dishes found in many Indian restaurants is Schezwan idli, where the idlis are cubed and tossed in the fiery Chinese sauce.

Experimenting with food is probably as old as civilization, when man first realised that roasted meat tasted better than the raw version. If it was not for an experimental streak, we would not have many of the interesting dishes, such as sandwiches or galouti kebab. In recent times, knowledge gained through molecular gastronomy has revolutionised the way chefs looked at food and resulted in creative cuisines. But the popsicle idli debate has once again raised the question how far can one go in the name of experimentation or ‘innovation’.

Take the favourite street food panipuri (also known as golgappa and phuchka). Initially, the sellers would try to up their sale by replacing the ubiquitous mashed potato and tamarind or mint water with curd, jelly, etc. But who would have imagined that this mundane street food would make it to the grand dining tables with fillings ranging from chocolate to chicken? You cannot walk down the streets of Mumbai suburbs without noticing the umpteenth vendor dishing out Chinese Bhel. The ‘dosa’ has not been spared either. Or the Tibetan dumplings popularly known as ‘momo’ for that matter (did you know there are chocolate filled momo available?)

Recently, the digital world was aghast when a Youtube presentation first revealed that a street side eatery in Surat was selling ‘Fanta Omelette’. According to a report in The Indian Express, ‘Served with pav (bread), the eggs are paired with a gravy made up of the soda drink along with spices, mashed potatoes and green chutney. The omelette is then garnished with loads of cheese and served hot with the remaining soda on the side.’

Readers may recall a global debate which had erupted some time back about pizzas being dispensed from vending machines.

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Meanwhile, this is not the first time that the ‘idli’ has gotten embroiled in a debate. Around a year back, idli lovers took to the digital media protesting against British historian Edward Anderson pronouncing "idlis are the most boring things in the world.” “Definitely not boring,” he quipped this time.


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