Mung Bean Idli with Celery Walnut Chutney

Bored of eating soups and a whole lot of eggs during SBD Phase1, this is a recipe that I discovered that makes for a wholesome, filling and very satisfactory meal. Whether you are on a diet or not, this is a very good variation to the traditional idlies and a very healthy one too. The recipe does not use any rice at all, instead uses whole green moong beans along with urad dal and garbanzo beans. The batter may be fermented or you can make idlies right away. I have fermented the batter which has yielded the airy, spongy pores that you see in the photos.

I have served the idlies with ‘Celery Walnut chutney’ a recipe given to me by Krithi of Krithi’s Kitchen that I tweaked a bit. Celery is a very low fat – high fiber vegetable that is combined with walnuts for a South Indian style chutney that not only is packed with flavor, but also with nutrition.

Green Mung Bean Idli
Makes 12 idlies
1 cup whole green moong dal
1/4 cup of whole white urad dal
1/4 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp chopped ginger
3 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda(optional, use only if making idlies immediately)
salt to taste
non stick cooking

Soak the moong dal, urad dal, garbanzo beans and fenugreek seeds overnight or 6-8 hours. Drain the dals and place in a grinder along with the chopped ginger and the chopped green chillies. Grind it to a smooth batter adding very less water. You want the batter to be thick. Remove from the grinder. Add salt to taste. At this point, you can make the idlies as is, or ferment the batter and make idlies. If making the idlies immediately, stir in 1/2 tsp baking soda. If allowing to ferment, omit the baking soda and mix the salt in with your hands to help fermenting. Place in a warm, draft free place for up to 6-8 hours.(4 hours is enough if you are in India). At the end of 4/6/8 hours(depending on how warm your home is), you will see the batter become frothy and risen a bit.

Grease your idly moulds using non stick cooking spray, pour the batter in and steam for 7-9 minutes until the idlies are cooked through. Serve hot with condiments of choice. I have served it with Idly molagapodi, Ellu podi and Celery walnut chutney(recipe below).

Celery Walnut Chutney
1/4 cup whole walnuts
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 small tomato, chopped
2 fat garlic cloves
3 red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 chopped cilantro
1 tsp oil
salt, to taste

In a dry skillet, toast the walnuts until you get a nice aroma. Remove set aside. In the same skillet, dry roast the red chillies and add it to the walnuts. In the same skillet, heat the 1 tsp oil. Add in the chopped, onion, garlic and celery and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato and saute until it is softened a bit. Add in the curry leaves and the cilantro and switch off the stove. The heat will wilt the herbs a bit. Let this cool and add the sauteed veggies into a blender along with the toasted walnuts and chillies. Grind to a smooth paste. Remove and serve along side the mung bean idlies or as a condiment for idly/dosa/chapati etc.

Verdict: This was by far the best SBD Phase 1 meal I ever had. It fit the bill in so many levels – filling, nutritious, tasty, South Indian and met all my cravings. This is a basic recipe that was tailored to SBD guidelines, but if you are not following the diet, it is still a great meal to make, please see notes below for ideas.


  1. The idlies freeze well, so make ahead and freeze. To reheat, just wrap the idlies in a wet paper towel and microwave for a minute or until hot.
  2. For a more filling meal, add the idlies to a hot bowl of sambar to make swimming sambar idlies.
  3. You can make dosas with the same batter as well, either fermented or non fermented.
  4. For a tasty variation, add grated veggies such as carrots, bottlegourd or even chopped spinach, methi etc, to bump up the nutrition.
  5. If not on SBD, please make a tadka for the chutney as well as a tadka with sauteed onions to the idlies.
  6. You can vary the nuts in the Celery walnut chutney to taste. Almond and pistachios are good choices. Stay away from cashews though due to the high calories/fat content.

Sending this delicious combo to the following events:
Healthy Morsels – Pregnancy
Bon Vivant Moments #3 – Breakfast Ideas
Healthy Vegetarian Side Dishes
My Legume Love Affair #46 – event by Susan of the Well Seasoned cook.

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  1. Nami

    Hi.. easy to follo recipe.. would like to try it,but do you think substituting chickpeas with black chickpeas is fine?
    It will alter the colour and some taste differece is bound to be there.. i just want to know if u have done one such.thanks

  2. Rajani Srinivas

    Thanks Denny….I tried the chutney it was delicious and relishing…. My husband loved it….

  3. vgp

    I tried the idli with a lot of hope..but it turned out average. I do not think fermenting mung bean is a great idea. May be just using baking soda would make it better

    • Denny

      Hi Gayathri, sorry to hear this recipe didn’t meet ur expectations. I would like to understand why it didnt turn out well. I have always fermented the batter and it has turned out good. Where do you live, maybe the batter didn’t ferment enough?

  4. Wow.. very innovative one. Especially chutney never have tasted that combination. must try. thanx for linking up this healthy breakfast item.

  5. Thats a great recipe for all Idli-lovers !!! NO rice yet wholesome idlis, what more does a person on diet would want 🙂 I shall definitely share this recipe with my Mom and MIL, who are constantly asking me for such idli recipes….Thank you so much Denny for sharing it with Healthy Morsels-Pregnancy.

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