Actor Abhishek Bachchan lost 14 kgs after following an only-Idli diet suggested by wife Aish. Can the carb-rich South Indian snack work for everyone? iTALK did the finding out
Steaming hot idlis paired with spicy sambhar and chutney has got to be one of the most popular snacks of urban India. But when actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan put husband Abhishek on an Idli-only diet, we couldn't help wonder whether the carbohydrate-rick snack could help shed kilos.
Contrary to popular belief, Idli is considered one of top 10 healthiest foods in the world, according to Wikipedia. And Chef Manu, Junior Sous Chef, Dakshin, ITC Maratha, agrees. "The cakes, which are usually two to three inches in diameter, are made by steaming a batter of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolised by the body. Hence, it's a low-calorie, fat-free snack."
Manu says the rice and black gram lend it a high nutrient value, providing both carbs and protein.
They are gluten-free, since they contain no wheat. Being a wholesome food, it can be eaten as a meal in itself.
Chef Manu, Jr. Sous Chef, Dakshin, ITC Maratha
Such diets are hogwash scoffs celebrity fitness expert Deanne Pandey
As a fitness trainer, I wouldn't recommend a fad diet of this kind. They tend to focus on one food group, depriving us of other vital nutrients that our body needs. We need a balanced diet that includes vitamins, calcium and other nutrients, on a daily basis. You could end up losing weight, but you will have to face the music later. An Idli is a healthy, low-calorie snack. But to have it so that you exclude all else, isn't prudent. A healthier breakfast is one that involves eggs.
It's perfect combination of carbs and protein says nutritionist Aanchal Achpalya
An Idli is very nutritive, the perfect combination of carbohydrates and proteins. Because it's steamed, it uses no oil. If you plan to only eat Idli for a meal, try making it healthier by adding vegetables like beans, tomatoes, peas and carrots to it. You can also add oats to up the fibre content.
Idli has history
Wikipedia says the Idli was first mentioned in the writings of the Kannada writer Shivakotiacharya in 920 AD and it seems to have started as a dish made only of fermented black lentil. The Kannada king and scholar Someshwara III, reigning in the area now called Karnataka, included an Idli recipe in his encyclopedia, The Manasollasa, written in Sanskrit. There is no known record of rice being added until some time in the 17th century. It may have been found that the rice helped speed the fermentation process.
>>Neil Nitin Mukesh
Ever eaten a dessert idli?
India is a treasure trove of Idli recipes, including the quaint Coconut Stuffed Sweet Idlis. Here's the recipe:
You need: Idli batter, a little cooking oil.
For filling: Grated coconut, crushed elaichi/cardamom, jaggery.
Method: Heat a non stick kadhai/vessel. Put in the grated coconut with jaggery and elaichi, stir well. Add a little water if you feel the need to melt the jaggery. Take an Idli stand, apply a little cooking oil to the cavities in the mould. Pour in a little batter in cavity, place a spoonfull of the filling on it, before covering it with another spoonfull of batter.
If a sweet idli is not your thing, try the Kancheepuram Idli. Heat oil and mustard seeds, cashew nuts, pepper, jeera, ginger, green chillies, ghee and add to Idli mixture for a spicy flavour.
Idli has an alter ego around the world
The White Sugar Sponge Cake from China
This is a type of Chinese pastry made from rice flour, white sugar, water, yeast, and baking powder. It is usually purchased as a single triangular piece. The cake is spongy and soft, and sometimes has a slightly sour taste due to the fermentation of the batter
The Chwee kueh in Singapore
Chwee kueh (or chwee kway) is a type of steamed rice cake from Singapore. Rice flour and water are mixed to form a viscous mixture before being placed in small cup-shaped containers that look like saucers, and steamed. The rice cakes are topped with diced preserved radish and served with chilli sauce.