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Recipe: Idiyappam | Sevai | String Hoppers

Idiyappam, is a well known break fast item in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. It is also known as sevai or string hoppers (in English) and is primarily made out of rice floor. Like idli, idiyappam is made through steaming using no oil, making it very easily digestible and light on stomach. 

When I think about idiyappam, I remember 2 instances from my childhood. One of my friend's mom, used to feed her 2 year old with different colourful sevais for evening snack - white, yellow, red along with a liquid version of it too, almost 3-4 times in a week. Later I learnt from her elder daughter (my friend) that they are coconut sevai (sweet version), lemon sevai, tomato sevai and rasam sevai. Though born and brought up in Chennai, we aren't much into idiyappams. 

I don't remember eating them until I crossed 10 years. Whenever we visit a doctor with fever, our doctor used to give a list of food items - kanji, bread, idli, idiyappam and rasam rice, which I was usually averse to even during normal days, let alone a sick day. Now surprisingly I eat any of these on any given day. May be call it life or maturity - I guess maturity sounds good, let's stick to itπŸ˜‰

On one such sick day, we thought why not try the last one on the list and bought ready to eat idiyappams, which is actually a dried version. Unlike maggi's promise, those idiyappams took hardly 2 minutes to get cooked. Just dump them into boiling water, cook for a min or 2, serve them with grated coconut and sugar/ jaggery. We used to eat this sans coconut during sick days. It was my brother who enjoyed my sick days as he could gobble upon those sugar loaded string hoppers.

Now-a-days, we don't have to bother to boil them. We have lots of street vendors in our locality selling fresh home made idiyappams for break fast and dinner. Have grated coconut and jaggery handy, your meal is settled. So when we aren't sure what to cook or bored to cook or even for an occasional indulgence, we just make a phone call to our idiyappam-wala. Unfortunately, this luxury is back home in India.

After moving to Canada, it was more than 2 years later I had idiyappams at my friend's place. She served it along with vegetable kurma and it tasted absolutely delicious. We start appreciating, only when something is scarce or when we end up getting it through the hard way (by cooking ourselves 😏). Looks like it is a staple food in their home and she readily taught me the recipe. Initially I thought it would be too tough to prepare them, but all it needs is just 4 ingredients and lots of patience, because you end up making countless batches as they are so light on tummy and no body can literally keep a tab on how many they are eating.

String hoppers taste absolutely delicious with vegetable kurma, kerala veg stew, white kurma, chicken curry, paya, kadala curry (black channa curry). If you have sweet tooth, make a simple mix of jaggery powder/sugar, grated coconut and cardamom powder - sprinkle on the string hoppers and enjoy or have it with just coconut milk (and sugar). They taste amazing.

I shall post the idiyappam recipe video along with white kurma sooner on my youtube channel. Meanwhile, if you haven't subscribed to my channel yet, please click here.

Now, here is the recipe.


  • Rice flour/ Idiyappam flour - 1 cup
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - 2 cups


  • Set water for boiling
  • Add salt and oil to idiyappam flour and mix well
  • If you are using rice flour, slightly roast it, before adding salt and oil
  • To the mix, add boiling water in batches and mix with the help of a spoon or ladle
  • Don't rush while adding water, as we need a slightly hard dough
  • In the murukku press, place the plate with the smallest holes and load the batter
  • Apply few drops of oil on the idli plates, so that the idiyappams don't stick
  • Gently press idiyappams onto the idli plates and steam
  • After 6-7 minutes of steaming, remove the idiyappams and serve hot with your choice of side dish


  • To make ragi idiyappams, mix rice and ragi flour (finger millet) in equal portions 
  • For a different version, try using red rice flour. They taste amazing and very healthy too
  • While pressing the dough through murukku press, the strings should fall freely without breaking. If you find it hard to press or they are breaking, adjust the consistency of dough by adding a little amount of boiling water
  • Using the cooked string hoppers, you can make different varieties of sevai - lemon sevai, coconut sevai, vegetable sevai, mint sevai etc.

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  1. Idiyappam is my favourite food item. Jaggery, coconut milk with idiyappam wow it's yummy, yummy πŸ˜‹.But I don't know how to prepare now I understood through ur blog. Tq dear I will try this item ❤️

  2. Narration is very interesting like a fiction , of course , the process of preparation is very clear !

  3. I prefer with coconut and jaggery


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