No self-respecting foodie would ever, *ever*, leave Chennai without having had a meal at Murugan Idli Shop. Only 22 years-old this year (its origins harked back further than that - Murugan Coffee Nilayam, which served coffee & snacks to late-night travellers in Madurai back in 1966), it's reputation for serving great South Indian breakfast items far preceded it.
What I tried:
- Steamed idlis. You've never really had idlis until you've tried Murugan's idlis - truly, as most Chennai-ites claimed, the "best idlis in the world". Small pillow-soft discs of pure deliciousness - perfect for soaking in the chutneys and spicy sambhar curry gravy.
Murugan's served its idlis with a variety of chutneys: the usual white-ish coconut-chutney; the spicy reddish-brown-hued chilli-spiked kara-chutney; a sweeter less-spicy orange-colored onion kara-chutney; and the greenish-brown mint chutney.
Also provided on request (and very highly recommended ... by moi) is the sesame oil and "podi" powder (a mixture of dhal powder, chilli, pepper & turmeric). Pour the sesame oil into the powder and mix into a delicious nutty paste - a perfect dip for the idlis besides the chutneys, and a watery, sour-spicy "sambhar" lentil curry gravy.
- a super-light & crisp "vadai" fritter. Again, Murugan's version seemed a class above the versions I tried in other places.
- Paper thosai - wafer-thin and prepared a la minute, served hot & crispy;
- the sweet "Sakkarai Ponggal" rice pudding, flavored with brown jaggery sugar, provided a sweet ending to a very satisfying breakfast. Oh, and did I also mention that their filtered South Indian-style coffee was simply delicious.
Murugan Idli Shop
7th Avenue, Besant Nagar