Idiyappam /Steamed Rice strings/ string hoppers with roasted tomato dip and sweetend coconut milk and banana #GlutenFree #TwoIngredient  ©Vanita Hegde

Idiyappam, or steamed rice strings are super healthy delicacy from southern India. With its different names and variations, Idiyappam claims it’s origin from couple of south Indian states.  These strings or threads are a form of staple diet in parts of Tamilu Nadu, Karnataka, in India and parts of Srilanka.


“The Story of our Food”, a book written by K. T. Achaya, an eminent Indian food scientist and food historian, states that Idiyappam and Appam were known in ancient Tamil country around 1st century AD.

String press

These fine thread like noodles are made with only two ingredients (Rice flour and salt) and served with curry,  vegetable stew, coconut chutney, etc. Traditionally it’s also served with sweetened coconut milk and banana.




  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rock salt
  • 1 tbsp carom seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup water

Method –  Add carom seeds to water and boil the water.  This step helps to infuse the flavour of carom seeds to the idiyappam. If you are not using the carom seeds, leave out this step and go to next.

Mix the rock salt to very hot water, stir until it melts completely, Add rice flour, with a wooden spoon, mix well. Keep it covered. The consistency of the dough is similar to roti dough.  Let it cool to the level where you can Knead the dough with hand.

Knead it when it is still warm, and put the dough in the string press. (Ref the pic above)

Press it on a plate in a circular motion, bite size or a bigger one as you like.

Heat the steamer and put pressed idiyappam in it. Steam for 5-7 minutes on high flame.

Serve hot.

You can always reheat it if you have to, and it would taste nice at room temperature too.

Serves 4

Roasted tomato dip / roasted tomato chutney

  • 4 tomatoes of medium size
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 tbsp paprika / red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 string of curry leaves

Method – Roast the Tomatoes and onion on direct flame till the out layer is charred. Cut it in halves. In a small wok add, cumin seeds and wait for it to splutter/roast well. Add curry leaves roasted tomatoes, onion and all other ingredients. Let it cook for minute or two on a high flame.

Take it out of the heat. Put this in a food processor, give it a couple of pulse to create coarsely ground dip/chutney.

Sweetened coconut milk and banana

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • pinch of ground cardamom

Method – Add sugar to coconut milk, and give it a good stir. Cut bananas in small (less than a quarter-inch) cubes and put it in sweetened coconut milk. Add ground cardamom and stir well.

Best served chilled.


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