Killing me softly……Idiappam and Ishtu

K is really upset with me….he claims I have been feeding him to death!! And he’s serious when he says it…..with a writer in the house who’s lost in the characters of his book, his plot and philosophy…..the last thing on his mind is an answer to “what do you want to eat?” …sometimes I think he wants to hit me with the nearest object for asking him such a question and yet I persist with amazing doggedness…….after the last couple of stares I have got from him, I am now turning to amma to answer this question for me….she answers with (hasn’t yet been tortured by this question) enthusiasm and actually asks me to make some innovative stuff for her… such request a few days ago was “idiappam and stew” (ishtu…if any self respecting mallu will be quoted here…..but mallu I am not tho sometimes I pretend to be….) …..


this is something I was introduced to at my dear friend D’s house in cochin…..i was already in awe of many things in Kerala…the people, their lifestyles, the urban and rural merging….the terrain and the cuisine…..delicately flavoured on one hand and fiery at another… idiappam and stew remains one of my favourites….its so easy to put together and always is well appreciated (yes even K loves it)…..and also is light on the tummy……. We had this for dinner the other night….i made lots of it and we had quite a bit leftover…..idiappam with milk / coconut milk flavoured with elaichi and sugar makes a great breakfast too…..imagine my panic when I found the whole hot case empty the next morning when I checked it!! K was up writing all night and gave in to hunger pangs at 4 a.m!! So much for being accused of feeding him to death!! i guess i stand “guilty as charged!!”………..

Disclaimer: My mallu friends, please excuse me if the recipe I followed is far from authentic!!


1 cup rice flour (roasted lightly, make sure it doesn’t change colour)

A pinch of salt

Warm water to mix

Method: Mix the flour and salt with warm water to make a dough that’s soft and but not gooey. Divide into 3 parts and roll between palms to make a cylindrical shape. In a murukku mould / sevai / idiappam press place the disc that will make the finest strings from the dough. Grease the plates of the idly moulds lightly, press the dough onto the idly plates. Stack and steam for about 5-7 minutes. Let stand for a couple of minutes and remove individual idiappams to a serving dish / plate.

For the stew

2 ½ cups mixed vegetables, cut into small square pieces (carrot, potato, cauliflower, beans, peas)

1 small onion chopped roughly

1 green chilly slit lengthwise

1 tsp oil

1 star anise, 2 one inch sticks of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 4-5 pepper corns , 1 cardamon split open

6-8 curry leaves

Salt to taste

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp finely chopped / julienned fresh ginger

½ tsp sugar

Method: In a pan heat the oil and add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper corns. After a few seconds add the chopped onion and green chilly. When the onions turn transparent, add the vegetables, ½ a cup of water, salt and cover and steam for about 7-8 minutes till the vegetables are well cooked. Add the coconut milk, ½ cup of water (or adjust according to the consistency of gravy desired), simmer for another minute, add curry leaves and julienned ginger, a few drops of coconut oil (optional), sugar. Stir well. Turn off the heat, let stand for about 15 minutes before serving with idiappam

8 Comments Add yours

  1. one of my favs from your blog 😀 made this for mummy today and she now thinks i am a fab cook 😀 thank you

  2. gowri says:

    Lovely photo and great recipe. Thanks for sharing

  3. Rajitha says:

    mmm..i love ishtu…have never made it tho…looks great!

    do try it rajitha, you will become a convert!!

  4. Siri says:

    Both the dishes look so yummy dear.. thanks for posting..:D

    hey Siri!! thanks a ton dear…… 🙂

  5. Laavanya says:

    I love idiappam and (is)stew… great combination.

    i totally agree!!

  6. Sig says:

    Looks very yummy … and I give you the mallu stamp of authenticity for that ishtu recipe 😉

    wow!! really?? so can i now claim that i have been baptised into authenticity….?? (err with coconut oil??)…..thanks sig!! you cant imagine how thrilled i am!!

  7. Asha says:

    Great combo, looks delicious. Istu, Ishtu, stew, dun matter to me!:D

    thanks asha……yeah a rose by another name….. a friend of mine famously rephrased…” a chrysanthemum by another name, would’ve only been easier to spell!!”

  8. bee says:

    it’s istu. jai and i had a very public cyber spat over this. 😀

    looks yummy.

    thanks bee…..i’ll stick to stew….feel like an imposter when i try saying istu!! 🙂

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