Yes, it's World Idli Day. Well, if everything under the sun has a day, then why not one for idli?
Apparently, it was Chennai-native Iniyavan, popularly known as “Idli King” and Rajamani Iyer, president of Tamil Nadu Catering Employees Union, who came up with the concept of Idli Day. So officially, March 30 was declared as Idli Day.
In 2013, Iniyavan set a Guinness world record by making an idli weighing 128 kg. Iniyavan’s life took an ‘idli’ turn when the school dropout who was working as an auto driver in Coimbatore, met a woman there, an ace at idli-making!
An out-of-the-box innovator, Iniyavan’s experiments with idlis fetched him a doctorate from an American university!
What history says
Idli aficionados claim the dish had its origins in South India. History says the name “idli” first appeared as “idlika” in Kannada writer Shivakodi Acharyan’s work Vaddharadhana in 920 AD. Idli again figured as “idrika” in Sanskrit work Manasollasa in 1130 AD.
Comments on idli appeared only by around the 17th century in Tamil literary works.
Gujarati historians believe it was Saurashtrian textile merchants who introduced idli to South India during the 10th and 12 th centuries. There are even claims that a mix of rice and urad dal ground together and later steamed to form cakes had its origins in Gujarat. This was called Iddada.
However, Chinese traveler Huang Tsang, who landed in India in the seventh century and wrote extensively about everything Indian, never mentioned anything about moulds or special vessels in which idli was steamed.
Culinary historian K.T. Achayya goes a step further to claim that idli had its origins in Indonesia where steamed food was quite popular.