Idli along with its side servings is one of the best and balanced nutrition for breakfast or any day of the meal. The side servings of coconut chutney, sambar and milakai podi provide more essential nutrients to the body. Let us start with plain idly without considering side servings.
Idly is made is from parboiled rice, which is a bit more nutritious than raw rice by having a higher amount of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Urad dal used to make the batter has a high amount of fibre, about 26% of protein and rich in Vitamin B1/B2/B6 and few minerals. B6 will be lost if the dal used is processed dal i.e. skin removed kernel. It is best to remove the skin before preparing for the batter, just like in the olden days. The fermentation process brings good bacteria to the batter.
Consider the side servings. Coconut has a high amount of fibre and so is the chickpeas. Chickpeas also is a good source of protein apart from the fibre. Green chilly is one of the highest sources of Vitamin C. Coconut, chickpeas and chillies combined to give one of the best sources of fibre, protein, vitamin C and minerals. Add few curry leaves for garnishing. Your day’s supply of Vitamin A is also covered. So Idly combined with chutney provides all necessary vitamins except Vitamins E & B12. We will come to the remaining vitamins.
Another side serving for Idly is the Milakai Podi (also known as the chutney powder), which is rich in protein and fibre due to the urad dal ingredient. Add sumptuous Gingelly Oil. Your daily supply of Omega-6, a little bit of Omega-3 and Vitamin E is covered. Add one spoon of Ghee to top the hot Idly. The daily requirement of Vitamin B12 and good quality fat are covered.
Idli served with its side dishes Chutney, Sambar and Ghee is complete and balanced nutrition for any time of the day and not just breakfast.
Though I am very fond of idly, I almost stopped eating them due to having adapted to the Low Card High Fat lifestyle. However, occasionally I have 1–2 idly with plenty of ghee topping, a large cup of chutney and sambar or podi with about 5-8 tsp Gingelly oil (yes, about 8 spoonful of raw Gingelli oil).
Note: Gingelly oil is nothing but cold-pressed sesame oil or til oil. Very rich in monosaturated fatty acid (40%) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (42%) as well as Vitamins K & E. It is good to consume raw than heated.
WebMD on Sesame – Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning