31 Mar 2016 16:57 IST

Batter and better: celebrating idli

World Idli Day pays tribute to the health benefits of idli

World Idli Day, which falls on March 30, is one man’s paean to the humble idli. Eniyavan, a much-in-demand idli-only caterer from Chennai, last year made a staggering 1,328 varieties of idlis to institute and commemorate this day. This year, using India Post’s My Stamp service, he ensured it’s being enshrined in a postage stamp too! And ID, the Bangalore-based idli and dosa batter brand, has jumped on to the bandwagon releasing full page ads on the occasion of World Idli Batter Day!

Eniyavan of Eniyavan Mallipoo Idli says this is his tribute to the snack that showed him the way out of poverty. His efforts at earning visibility for the idli seem to have been relentless. He has made idlis with tender coconut water, a 3-kg specimen, a navadhanya rakshasa parihara idli to soothe tsunami-causing maleficent planets (offered to Marina Beach here), a 124-kg exhibit in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record, and yes, he is cutting a 66 kg idli, as heavy as him, this year too, as he did last year.

‘Elixir’

Eniyavan has also innovated with idli moulds, in the shape of hearts and squares, the latter to aid the production of chutney-stuffed idlis. He is in business mainly in the wedding season and claims it’s more the health benefits of the idli that are his prime concern. He charges ₹5,500 for 1,000 idlis of the basic variety. He hopes to raise awareness of the idli’s goodness, especially in an age where kids wince when they see idli on the menu at home. He is not aware of any ‘official’ formalities to declare March 30 World Idli Day, but reels off the names of various judges who joined him in his effort to give the idli its very own day.

Musthafa PC, CEO and co-founder, ID Fresh Food, is confident that soon his company “will own World Idli Day”. He only got to know about it a day earlier. “We may go in for a Guinness World Record next year. The ₹100-crore ID brand claims it’s the No 1 player in the market — 10 lakh idlis come out of the 50,000 kg of packaged batter it sells daily. In Bangalore alone, 1 crore idlis are consumed everyday. This means huge potential across the country. ID is looking to become a ₹250-crore brand next year. It now sells in nine cities, but aims to be present in 30 cities in the next two years. Eniyavan has a ‘surefire’ recipe to make idlis more palatable to children: Add beetroot to the batter, along with some palm sugar or jaggery. Steam it in an unusually-shaped vessel. Serve with chocolate sauce.

Other ‘food days’

And samosa lovers, there’s a day for your favourite snack too! World Samosa Day is on February 29, though it’s not clear why it only falls in leap years. Wikipedia lists several others. There’s an International Hummus Day (May 13), Sushi Day (June 21), Bacon Day (September 5), Coffee Day (September 29), and World Chocolate Day (July 7), apart from a host of other country-specific food days. But you don’t really need to be American or in the US to celebrate National Popcorn Day on January 19, do you?