Colorful Cocktail Idlis

Color Idlis

I have had this idea of mixing chutney with the idli batter for long time now, especially when we pack idlis while going on a tour/picnic. I used to think that doing so, it’s easy clean up and no need to carry extra utensils, but never got to do that until recently. When SunshineMom announced that she is hosting this month’s Recipes for the rest of us – Starters event, I decided to try the idli idea. I also got the idea of trying it with different color chutneys.

The idea behind the event is getting newbies interested in cooking, so no exact measurements, complicated steps or special equipments should be used. What can be more easy than preparing chutney and steaming idlis? To make it even simple one can even buy idli batter from the store, prepare chutney spicier than usual, mix it and prepare the idlis. As simple as it is. Any chutney should be fine. For different colors you could use tomatoes, coriander/mint, beets, carrots etc. The only thing is you have to make it spicier so that when mixed with the batter and steamed the spice is right. Anyways I’m giving the measurements and recipe for preparing idly and chutneys.

Colorful Idlis
  • Idli batter (homemade or store bought) – As Needed
  • Any spicy chutney – As Needed


1 If you are using more than one chutney divide the batter in two or three bowls according to the number of chutneys you are using.

2 Mix each chutney with the batter and combine it well. Taste the batter and check for salt and spice. If it’s not spicy enough add some chilli powder or ground green chilies. I added a spicy paruppu podi (dal powder which is mixed with rice) to increase the spiciness.

3 Grease idli moulds with oil/ghee. I spray it with a non stick spray. You could choose to use either mini idli moulds or the regular ones. If you have only the regular size idli moulds, pour the batter, steam it as usual (for 10-15 minutes). After sometime remove the idlis from the moulds and cut each idli into 4 pieces. Mini idlis can be served as it is.

4 Use a toothpick to skewer idlis, one of each color or arrange it in a platter.

My Notes

1 I had little leftover batter and chutneys the next day. So to the batter I added some rice flour, all purpose flour, semolina and all the chutneys and mixed it with enough water to get a pancake/dosa batter consistency. Then prepared dosas and it tasted so good with all the chutneys and spices together.

Idli Recipe
  • Idli Rava – 2 Cups
  • Urad Daal – 1 Cup
  • Salt – As Needed
  • Sesame oil – 1 Tablespoon


1 Soak urad daal in water for 3-4 hours. You can either soak the idli rava or not. My grandmother used to soak it in lukewarm water. I have tried both methods and have not found any difference in the idlis. After at least 3 hours drain the urad daal, reserving some of the water.

2 If using a wet grinder, switch it on, add 1/2 cup of the water and let the grinder run. Then slowly add the urad daal. Grind it atleast for 25-30 minutes until it’s nice and fluffy.

3 Add the idli rava to the urad daal batter while it’s still in the grinder and let the grinder run a couple of minutes more so that everything is combined well.

4 Transfer the batter to a bowl, add salt and the oil and mix it well. Use a big size bowl so that there is enough room for the batter to rise while it ferments. Ferment it for at least 12-15 hours and use it the next day.

My Notes

1If using rice instead of idli rava, the measurement I follow is 2 cups of par boiled rice, 1 cup of raw rice and 3/4th-1 cup of urad daal. Soak the rice together. Soak the urad daal separately. First grind the urad daal as mentioned above and transfer it to the bowl. Then grind the rice to a coarse consistency. It should take only 5-8 minutes if grinding it in a wet grinder. Then mix both the batters, salt and oil and combine it well.

2 I also soak for adai whenever I’m going to grind for idlis. First I grind daal and rice for idlis, transfer the batter and in the same grinder grind for adai. So we have adai for dinner and idli/dosa for the next 2 days. So with extra 10 minutes of work 3-4 days’ dinner/breakfast is taken care off. Also less clean up, because you have to wash the grinder only once as against twice if you soak for adai and idlis on two separate days.

Chutney Recipes
Onion Chutney (for red color)
  • Big Onion – 1
  • Red chillies (add 1 or 2 more than the usual) – As Needed
  • Tomato (optional, to get the red color) – 1
  • Tamarind paste (if not using tomato) – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt – As Needed

I had a dried red chili at home which is not at all spicy but gives only the color. I used that in addition to the spicy chillies to get the red color. So I did not use tomato. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Usually I fry this chutney in little oil to get rid of the raw smell from onions. I didn’t do it this time because anyway I was going to steam it with the idlis.

Coriander Chutney (for green color)
  • Coriander – 1 Bunch
  • Green Chillies (add 1 or 2 more than the usual) – As Needed
  • Tamarind Paste (or Lemon Juice) – 1/4 Teaspoon
  • Salt – As Needed

Grind everything together adding little water as needed.

Coconut Chutney (for yellow color)
  • Coconut – 1/2 Cup
  • Green Chillies (add 1 or 2 more than the usual) – As Needed
  • Turmeric Powder – As needed to get the color
  • Salt – As Needed

Grind everything together adding little water as needed.

Pour Colorful Idli Batter

These colorful idlis go to:

SunshineMom’s Recipes for the rest of us – Starters event. The event originally started by Ramki of One Page Cookbooks.

Trupthi’s Cooking for Kids – Rice. The event originally started by Sharmi.

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  5. Srivalli

    This is so lovely Madhu..awesome post..

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  7. Sarmila

    great idea !!!!!!!!
    am going to try this recipe this week end
    shall i post this recipe to my site

  8. Sharmi

    Very pretty looking idlis and what a lovely idea! Thanks for the contribution!!

  9. DP

    This looks so nice. Looks like its sweet.

  10. Sree

    Awesome idea….cute looking idlis are so tempting 😛

  11. roma

    hey, this is really a great idea. Colorful and delicious at the same time.

  12. sai

    I tried this with the onion chutney today and it did not turn out great. somehow i think it became little watery and the onion’s raw smell was still there.

    Sai, try grinding the chutney with very less water and frying before mixing it with the batter. I usually fry the chutney in oil, but did not do it this time and also did not get the raw smell.

  13. Aparna

    These are the best looking idlis I’ve ever seen. A really imaginative an innovative idea. I have those very small idli plates and these would be perfect in that.

  14. Deepali

    Hi Madhuram,
    what a gr8 idea! We always have idli-dosa batter in our house. All our gujarati friends love idli-dosa but we never served plain idlis for party instead we make stir-fry mini idlis. I will def try this for party and for take-away :o).

  15. Dhanya

    looks very colorful and yummy yaar. 😆

  16. Mona

    Ah! they look so good, Children will love them 🙂
    Great idea!

  17. Namratha

    Brilliant idea Madhu, you rock! 🙂

  18. Sumathi

    Idlis looks really tempting.. Great idea..

  19. Bharti

    Good idea and really cute results 🙂

  20. veggiebelly

    AMAZING! so beautifully done! what a clever idea to add chutney to the idli batter, im trying this at my next party! thanks for a wonderful, colorful idea 🙂

  21. A&N

    I’m in awe.

    And the fruit and nut bars shall be made! We’re doing an eggless 2 months at home. Will tell you how it goes!

  22. Dibs

    Really brilliant! 🙂 How exciting this looks!

  23. Purnima

    Hi Madhuram, this is one fantastic n innovative recipe! Mixing chutney wt Batter, that too colored ones..different colors wt diff. good brkfast can be! Recipe n pics ROCK! Thks for sharing!!!

  24. Uma

    Creativity at its best! Those are some pretty idlis. 🙂

  25. Kiran

    What a brilliant idea, am definitely going to be trying these out. Keep up the good work of thinking beyond the box !

  26. DivyA Vikram

    Heights of creativity Madhu!! Hats off!

  27. Madhumathi

    Wow Wow..You are so creative..These cocktail idlis look amazing!!

  28. kalva

    lovely idlies

  29. sandhya

    hey they look yummy.. i only wish I were in US or You were in UK.. and near my place.. I can come everyday and gobble as much as possible :(.. anyway…i guess if u had used some mustard seeds (avalu i guess) and coriander in them they wudve been more colourful!!


    Believe me or not Sandy I got that idea too. To do the tempering and add finely chopped coriander, but I was too exhausted and impatient that day. The kitchen was a mess, the sun was setting (for light) and I had to get it done asap. I had prepared big idlis and cut them into 4 pieces and had arranged them with some garnishing too, but by then the sun had set. We do have extra lights, but as I said sometimes I really don’t have the patiece to take it out, set it and put it back in. Disadvantages of living in a small rental place. Some day wish to have a studio where everything is ready 24/7 and good to go.

  30. bee

    so so so cute!!!

  31. vidhya

    wow.. looks perfect and colorful. yummy…

  32. tbc

    Very pretty looking idlis! If I’d had idlis like these growing up, maybe I’d have liked ’em more. 😆

    Even I didn’t like idlis growing up. Dosa was my favorite.

  33. R Varalakshmi

    Great idea Madhu! Before I cud take my eyes off from ur colourful kaju katli, ur idlis r looking really brilliant. I ‘ll definitely try this.Keep rocking!

    Thanks Chithi.

  34. Priya Sriram

    Kids would love these colorful idlis! Great idea Madhu! 🙂

  35. Madhu / Ruchii

    Thats a brilliant idea looks very colourful love the idea of using chutney, you are really very creative. Kids sure love this.

  36. chandani

    very colorful and yummy idlis!! you have a beautiful blog dear..loved your kaju katlis, too!!

  37. Shobana

    Very innovative idea Madhu! Just super!

  38. madhu

    yummo!! madhuram, i wish i was ur neighbor so i can get some samples of these ;).. i would definetly be a good taste tester for u.

  39. Jennifer

    Cool Idea! For pure vegetarians you can use these as ‘eggless’ easter eggs! 😉

    Hi Jennifer, I also thought the same. Actually I have another idea too for eggless easter eggs, hope I’ll be able to make it.

  40. Ashwini

    Those look awesome and very tempting…Love the idea of mixing chutneys..very creative.Kids will love eating with all different colors.

  41. Ashwini

    very good idea… never tried it…

  42. Anjali Damerla


    Those are such awesome little idlis!! The color is so vibrant and beautiful.
    This idea of yours is so simple and fantastic that I started wondering “Why didn’t I think of that???” 🙂
    You really are very creative. I like such simple, beautiful and creative ideas.

  43. Trupti

    wow Madhu, those idlis looks very delicious & colorful. Thank you very much for sending these to the event.

  44. Deesha

    Those are really really cute .. I would love to make those sometime .. would make a great starter, perfect party material this is

  45. Laavanya

    What a great idea Madhu – looks so cute and am sure the kids will be delighted too.

  46. suparna

    Hi Mahuram,
    I am glad u come out with innovations with idlis 😉 these white beauties get glamourised and taste even better 😎 Thanks for another lovely recipe.
    Ur roasted idli’s at my place are a big hit 😛

    Happy weekend!

  47. Laksh

    A treat for the eyes!!! Trust you to come up with innovative ideas Madhu. Looking forward to seeing you Sunday. If you have the idlis leftover, bring them. :p

    Thanks Laksh. I’m also eagerly waiting for Sunday.

  48. jayasree

    Great idea to mix chutney. This is sure to attract kids.

  49. Asha

    So cute!!! I bet your son gobbled those in seconds! 😀

    I have a non-stick mini idli stand, used it just once. Love the 1 to 2 proportions for idli too, will try next time. Have a fun weekend! 🙂

  50. mangala bhat

    wow! what colorful treat ..lovely its soo creative ..:) awsome presentation 🙂

  51. sia

    they r so pretty Madhu. I am definately trying this one 🙂

  52. Arundathi

    that’s truly imaginative. what a wonderful idea – i always have leftover idli batter and chutney! thanks!

  53. Priya

    Wwoow wat an excellent idea of making colourful idlies Madhu…Thats so genius..