In my final year at culinary school I became increasingly fascinated with the idli. Under the guidance of Dr. Prabhakar Sastri and with a little help from my friends, I was curious to understand everything I could about what made a good idli. The purpose and scope of the study was to evaluate the quality of idlis (a steamed rice cake originating from India) for its colour, taste, aroma and textural quality and to identify the various properties of the raw materials and idli batter, which, along with temperature, time and various environmental factors and biological agents contribute to a scientifically good idli. (PDF)
A lot obviously went wrong, but in the process, I came to understand the interesting elements of history, politics and socio-economic elements that could have influenced the idli as we know it today. My search for all things fascinating about idlis will continue and here’s an attempt to curate some interesting reads the internets have to offer.