Idli is a now a staple breakfast in most hotels across the country. It is light, delicious soul food. I don’t miss an opportunity to try it out wherever I find it, be it a hotel or a restaurant or a roadside vendor.
Today I am at a place that serves one of the tastiest idlis I have ever eaten. “Murugan Idli Shop” is a chain of fast food outlets (10 nos) doting Chennai city doling out the softest, tastiest and beautiful looking idlis. I have been their patron since 2005 and have never missed paying a visit to their outlet whenever I am at Chennai. The place is a fast moving serve, eat & go place, so though it does not have fancy interiors, it is kept squeaky clean by the staff. Tables are shared with strangers as there is a queue during peak time. The food is served on banana leaves. The staff may not speak Hindi or English but fully understands the language of food. Within moments of my sitting down, my banana leaf turns into a canvas of beautiful mosaic of colours. I get four types of chutneys – coconut, garlic, mint and spicy lentil based chutney. Then I get Podi, (also called gunpowder) on top of which a generous amount of ghee is poured, and when mixed turns black. Next comes the Sambhar followed by hot and steaming idli, straight from the kitchen and served at the center my canvas, the banana leaf.
As I smoke in the aroma of idli and sambhar, my hunger pangs go into an overdrive mode. I have always tested the softness of an idli by applying pressure using my index finger to see if it sinks into it. Murugan idlis have never failed this test. As I begin to eat the idli with my hands, no spoon, fork or a bowl. The sambhar is mild, and the coconut chutney is delicious . The podi with the idli gives me a nice stinging taste, and the other three chutneys give more taste options. . The staff usually keeps an eye, and keep coming to refill depleting stock of colours.
Murugan idli also serves other south Indian items. Top picks after an idli are Vadai and Pongal. They have a variety of Dosas, Uthappams and Rice items to offer as well. Their filter coffee goes well after a hearty meal. Price of the items ranges from Rs.13 per idli to Rs.18 per Vada and Rs.55 for a Masala Dosa, which I find reasonable.
Their fresh preparation for every order and years of serving quality food has taken this chain international. They now have two outlets in Singapore too.
A must visit joint in Chennai for all foodies.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.5 | Ambiance: 3.0 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs 300 |Alcohol: No |Credit Card: No
Address: Various Outlets in Chennai