Fill-up at the Idli House

pics from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Mumbai was recently blessed with a eatery dedicated to idlis: those delicately steamed rice cakes. South Indians start their day with idli, dunked in sambar or a liberal side of coconut chutney. At home, I enjoy piping hot Idli Sambar for brunch, or to accompany the afternoon chah or kaapi. Leftover idlis make golden crisp Idli fry, or crumbled and tossed with a medley of spices. On family trips you have all initially groaned, when aunts unpack idlis and chutney – the ultimate travel food. By the end you are licking chutney of fingers, while fellow travelers stare with envy.

It was only a matter of time that we, little m included, finally made it to Idli House in King Circle, Matunga. It’s a tiny place and crowded. Many stand and eat. The laser focus on idlis keeps the service quick and very inexpensive, making it the poor man’s meal. On any given day they serve about 8-10 types of idlis.

My uncle had given directions and recommended Masala Idlis, but alas, those were not served that day. Not disappointed, we ordered just about all idle types they served.

> Don’t miss Chennai’s Murugan Idli Shop
> M makes one of my favorites: Dill Idlis
> Meera’s favorite: Roasted Idli
> Shilpa has recipes for 16 Idli varieties, including many seen below.

Mysore Idli, or Rawa Idli, made with cream of wheat. Interestingly, in south india these are called the Bombay Idli, while in Mumbai we dish it back to them. All idlis are served with specific chutneys. Also on the table are an assortment of chutneys and puddis (blend of dry spices, to be mixed with sesame oil). Have a blast!
pics of Mysore Idli from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Vegetable Idli. Slightly bland for my taste, but nothing chutneys couldn’t fix.
pics of Vegetable Idli from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Muddo gets its name from the ‘fist’ use to cup and roll the kewda leaf (ketki in konkani), while the batter is poured in it. Kewda is a fragrant leaf and oils exracted from these leaves is used in agarbattis (incense sticks) and natural perfumes. Thus fresh kewda imparts a delicate aroma to the idlis. The owner tending the till mentioned that fresh kewda leaves arrive on a flight every morning from Udupi.

This idli is best appreciated with a dollop of tuup, homemade clarified butter which the waiter gladly serves.
Idli House Mumbai

Kanchipuram Idlis are one of my (and meera’s) favorites. Similar to Rawa Idlis, but made with a coarser rice flour, with added bits of vegetables, roasted cashews and raisins. Yumm!

In the first millennium, Kanchipuram, near present day Chennai, was the political capital of the Pallava dynasty and a center of learning and trade. In addition to the spiritually uplifting Kanchi Kamakshi temple, Kanchi has lent its name to two others: these idlis and the exquisitely beautiful silk wedding sarees.
pics of Kanchipuram Idli from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Finally, what I had been looking forward to. The KhoTTo: Idlis steamed in a pouch of jackfruit leaves. A classic konkani delicacy made at our home during Ganapati festival. See the making of jackfruit pouch below!

Anticipation builds as the KhoTo arrives. I peel back the leaves and as the faint aroma of jackfruit wafts to our nostrils, the waiter eagerly offers to baptize it with coconut oil. I nod, who’s dieting! I break off a lump with my fingers and roll it in chutney before I taste it. Hmmmmm! I try khoTo with many of the chutneys they served, but missed the classic chutney we make at home: fresh green chillies, crushed in a bit of water, hing and salt.

Idli House Mumbai

Idli House Mumbai

After a finger licking, idli extravaganza, we walked across the street to Anand Bhuvan for delicious Kaapi!
Kaapi Anand Bhuvan Mumbai




Several years ago during Ganapati celebrations at home, M was helping make the KhoTo! These are prepared and washed the day before. On Ganapati day, fresh idli batter is poured and steamed. Unfortunately, I was busy eating KhoTo and did not get to take pics of the finished product.

The spine of palm leaves is used to pierce and hold the jackfruit leaves together.
idli Mumbai

idli Mumbai
Beautiful KhoTae! pl
idli Mumbai


Contact Details:
Idli House
462 Ram Bhavan, Opposite Jain Temple
B Ambedkar Rd,
Kings Circle, Mumbai 400019
Tel: 91-22-3246-0111 (Free Home Delivery in Matunga)

Timing: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm (closed for lunch from 1:00 4:00 pm)
Closed on Mondays

55 thoughts on “Fill-up at the Idli House

Add yours

  1. Idli house is a welcome addition to Mumbai eateries. Makes me a late riser on Sundays to get up at 6 in morning and travel from Mulund to Matunga two Sundays a month to dig into Khottos and Muddos for a 7.30 breakfast. It’s awesome Konkani food place.

    1. Heh, heh!
      Good to see that the locals too love the place!
      Looks like you enjoy your twice monthly pilgrimage to Idli House. Yes! The bestest place for Konkani food.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      Arun

        1. NO, I did not know of this.
          Very interesting and worth being a part of.

          I think I’ll just send them a email and a link to my site and see where we go from there. Also, I frequently visit Mumbai, so we should have a RadioIdli Meetup.
          Many thanks for this link!

          1. navin, thanks for the mention.. Arun, do let me know when you are in mumbai.

            You have an amazing blog here and such a lovely article on Idli house. I hope Satish Nayak has seen it!

  2. Hi!
    Your website is simply EXCELLENT!
    I enjoy reading your posts and pics..
    You get a glimpse of the essential konkani/GSB!!!
    Many kudos!

    cheers!
    Pradeep

  3. Oh boy, you had to post this, didn’t u ? What a delicious array of idlis that is..I hope they have a branch of this in North Kanara, I will surely go :D..

    1. Thank you Maya!
      Verily a feast!

      I think this is their first branch! you can visit us in Mumbai and then go eat at Idli House! Ha hA!

      How is the family? Any travel plans for the holidays?

  4. See what ur idli post is doing!!! I came bk to drool again instead of going and having my lunch πŸ˜›
    Read the line abt mysore/rava idli. I think it’s called Bombay idli because of Bombay semolina/rava used which is much finer than the normal one used in homemade upma/uppittu. Just guessing! πŸ™‚

    1. Nice of you to visit my site, … again! πŸ™‚
      and, don’t drool over the keyboard! ha ha!

      you are prolly right about the Bombay rava! It is finer and likely makes for the softer and fluffier idlis! Hmmm!

      See, even your guesses are better than my informed knowledge!

      Go eat dinner!

  5. Arun,you do not say “Yo, Madrasi” just like that .. you do it with paan in one side of your mouth, the other side holding your peanuts, and munching your wada in between.

    Imagine this scenario, and someone advising me to learn hindi at the earliest. All the while, he has to comb his hair to make himself look like mithun!!. I am talking about those days!
    ah, those days :))

  6. Arun:

    Is this Idli Place of Rama Nayak’s a relatively new addition, say in the last 10 years, because I had always eaten in Rama Nayak’s at Matunga but never heard of the Idli place when I was a Bombayite (probably this dates me. But I am not used to Mumbai or Chennai for that matter πŸ™‚ I will always be a Madrasi :-))

    I don’t know how I feel. Happy and J at the same time :-). Happy that you get to travel to MathruBoomi at the drop off your hat AND eat good food but then I can’t afford to have the same luxury ?? πŸ™‚

    Glad to hear that you had a good time with M and m.

    Viji

    1. Yo Madrasi!
      yes, this is a new addition, about five years ago! This was also
      the first time for me!

      As I mentioned on another comment, when eating at the Rama Nayak’s at
      Matunga Station, I picked up a flyer to this place and HAD to go!

      A lot of sacrifices to go to India – you have noticed we are no longer
      traipsing the swiss alps or glacier watching in Alaska 😦

      And all this coz M&m are there!
      I think hat drops again in Aug :-O

  7. Hi Arun could not open any of the pictures.Where in Kinga Circle is this Idli House, I grew up in Matunga and Kings Circle, I know all the South Indian Restaurants,has the Idli House taken place of Madras Cafe, Mysore Cfe or Anand Bhuvan?

    1. Mr De: sorry you are having trouble with the pics. I checked on multiple browsers, the pics are fine; Please be patient, since there are many pics in the post they may be taking a while to download.

      This place Is right across from Anand Bhuvan. On the same road which comes from Chembur. Its a tiny place and I don’t know what it replaced, but if you stand in front of Anand Bhuvan, you will see it right across the street. Was something there before?

    1. THanks,
      and yes, the Muddo was the first time for me too!
      Interesting, they’d wrap it in kewda! sooo creative!

      vegetable idli was also a first, but that is essentially like the kanchipuram or the rawa idli.

  8. Idlis! I actually haven’t been to any idli shops in Mumbai, usually I save all my idli consumption for home or various spots in Coimbatore/Kerala.

    1. Saroj – this is the first dedicated Idlis shop in Mumbai; so definitely worth a visit.
      I’d agree, these don’t hold a chutney to the home made ones, but at home, I’d never get ALL these varieties! And besides, the KhoTo is only once a year at home! :-O

      Am planning a short trip to Kerala on my next visit to India – will update you on the status of idlis there πŸ™‚

  9. Did not realize there are so many idli varieties. Imaging, I used to walk past this restaurant all the time. My fav place in matunga is the madras concerns and the ram nayak for dinner (close to the station). They serve in the plantain leaf with the server encouraging you to have rasam in a cup (additional helping) Next time !!
    BTW, you should have taken a pic of lil’ m, licking the chutney off her tiny fingers. It would have been a good keepsake πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I too was surprised. I had expected atmost 5-10. Now it appears there
      may be more than 25.Oh well, need to dedicate more time to eating!

      Heh yes! I have eaten at the Rama Nayak’s next to Matunga Station. Verily
      a never ending feast. Actually Idli House is owned by the same folks; and
      it was at the matunga restaurant I saw a flyer for the Idli House and went
      there.

      lil m is too small for chutney, but she loves idlis’ hold on – pics of lil
      m eating idlis is coming up! :-))

  10. Naah Arun, I am Gujarati by the way and I don’t prepare Idli every morning. πŸ™‚ Though, the idli sambhar is one of fav breakfast.

    Love to Meera.

  11. Hi Arun, it’s fine Monday morning here and I am badly craving for these yummy idlis & delicious chutney. πŸ™‚

    Nice pics of colorful idlis & coffee.

    1. has anyone tried Samrat Restaurant in Hotel Chalukya Premises Bangalore,Try idlie sambhar & chutney and gv me feedback

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