Traditional idli with sambar and chutney.

Idlis and dosas are a quintessential part of the South Indian breakfast. The quote “good things come in small packages” couldn’t be any truer in the case of idlis.

Idli is a white batter whipped out of rice (traditionally) and lentil (Urad dhal), which is soaked, ground, fermented, and steamed — perfect for those that are on a  gluten, dairy, and nut-free diet. Usually, you eat idlis with a variety of dips called chutneys. Known to be the ideal solid food for an infant and a panacea for sickness, idli is man’s best friend during healthy and not-so-healthy times.

In 2015, March 30th became the day to celebrate World Idli Day. It is the inspiration for restaurant-owner Eniyavan, a popular idli-only caterer from Chennai, India. He has made 1,328 varieties of idlis and a 97lb idli that was cut by a top official to mark the occasion.

Idli samples for World Idli Day.

To commemorate World Idli Day in the US, Shastha Foods in San Jose, and Tamizh Suvai, a San Francisco based radio show that aims to bridge the Tamil diaspora all over the world, came together to conduct a contest where people could showcase several theme-based idlis and be eligible for Shastha Foods’ gift vouchers. The themes that were suggested were: kid-friendly, wholesome, trailblazing, vibrant, tech-savvy, and ready-in-a-jiffy!

In less than 48 hours, they had a deluge of idlis being showcased on their Facebook page: idli Kabab, idli Dango (Japanese style), idli Bite Wings, Yogurt idlis, Spring idlis, idli Macaroons, Double-decker idlis, Masala idles, Easter idlis, Chocolate idlis, Mixed vegetable idlis, Pizza idlis, Waffle idlis, idli sandwiches and a lot more!

The hosts were surprised and overwhelmed at the idli-ary skills that were on display.

Special mention is to be made for the extraordinary innovation skills displayed by:

Check out the YouTube Interview in Tamil with Shastha Foods Product Manager Mr. Vaidyanthan!


RJ Sudha is the Founder and the Anchor of Tamizh Suvai Radio, a show that brings in interesting and inspiring speakers each week and strives to connect the entire Tamil diaspora all over the world onto one single platform. She is a Software Engineer by profession and has had more than 20 years of experience leading teams/projects and conducting women empowerment workshops. She left her thriving career to connect to her community closely and leave a legacy behind. She is an active community organizer and has a large social media following on