Have you seen an Idly Steamer? (Used before Cooker)


Guys, have you seen an Idly steamer that was used before cookers to make idlys? Looks like it is still being used at some places. I found one at a relative’s house recently. Guess what, this Idly steamer makes puffed idlys that are thicker, instead of the flat idlys we are get from a cooker. And the idly tastes nice – not sure if this is because of the homemade flour (vs. readymade flour we find commonly nowadays), or the steamer.


Notice that the idly plates have holes underneath. They put a cloth over the plates and then pour the flour. I was told that such plates with holes were used with cookers too earlier, but even the oldest ones I remember were without holes. Probably, the idly puffs and expands on the top because of the steam that provides additional heat by percolating through these holes (just a guess). Of course the steam comes from the water put underneath, just like a cooker.

This steamer can hold a maximum of two plates with five idlys unlike the cooker that can hold more plates. The reason for this post is: Why were the steamers replaced by cookers when the idlys are clearly better in the idly steamer? Have you guys seen a steamer before – this is the first time I am seeing one.

BTW, idly has never been my favorite dish. But sambar idly (idly soaked in sambar) has always been! And I also like idly upma, kaima idly, etc. Do you people like idly?

Destination Infinity

Photo Credit: Destination8infinity (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.