Roja idlis are small in size. The batter is the same, only the moulds are small. The cooked idlis look like dots amidst sambar-filled bowls.
Cheera (spinach) idli
The spinach is cut into small pieces and half cooked. A little batter is poured into the mould and a bit of spinach is thrown in. The batter is poured again and it is steamed the usual way.
This one is made just like cheera idli. Batter first, then bits of half-cooked carrots or beet, batter again and steamed.
Ginger-curry leaf idli
Ginger, green chillies and curry leaves are chopped finely and allowed to ferment in the batter. Once ready, they are steamed.
Powder idlis coarsely. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil turns hot, splutter the mustard. Throw in a few red chillies, a bit of urad dal and curry leaves. Add finely chopped ginger to it. Sauté them and add the powdered idli. Add a pinch of salt and some water. Cover and cook. When all the ingredients are blended, add coconut scrapings and a bit of coconut milk. Mix well and serve.
Thus, in all ways, the humble idli is the king of South Indian cuisine!