The round and white idli is a must in an authentic South Indian breakfast menu. Anyone who tastes light, fluffy and delicious idlis is sure to get addicted to these cakes. The key to making perfect idli is to get the batter right.
In days gone by, making idli batter was a strenuous affair where soaked rice and de husked black lentils had to be ground on a traditional ‘attukal’ (stone grinding equipment). However with the wide availability of electric grinders, preparing idli batter is no longer a hard job. Now the key to making perfect idli lies solely on the proportion of ingredients and care in blending them.
Though packaged idli mixes are a great relief, especially on busy days, nothing can replace the taste and goodness of home-made idli batter. So here is an easy to follow recipe to prepare idli batter.
Parboiled Rice (Idli rice) - 4 cups
De husked black lentils (Urad Dhal) - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
•Wash the rice and black lentils separately till they are clean.
•Soak the rice in a bowl of water. Add fenugreek seeds to the cleaned black lentils and soak them together in another bowl. Let the grains soak for 4 to 6 hours.
•Grind the black lentils and fenugreek first with little water till it turns light and fluffy with no whole grains.
•Transfer the above into a bowl and grind the soaked rice with water till it reaches a coarse consistency. Take care not to grind the rice too fine.
•Mix the rice paste and the ground lentils and fenugreek and blend well. (You can do this in the grinder too)
•Allow this batter to ferment overnight or at least for 8 hours in a warm spot.
•Idli batter is now ready for use
•Take a ladle of the batter and pour it on a greased idly plate. Repeat the same in all the plates and steam cook to get hot, fluffy and delicious idlis.
Note: Idli tastes best with chutney made with coconut/onion/tomato/coriander, sambar and idli milagai podi (a ground mix made with several roasted Indian spices). This is traditional fare. You can also eat idli with any other gravy, vegetarian or non vegetarian, jam, sauce, cheese, egg and lentil curries.
Picture courtesy Wikipedia Commons
Here is a recipe book with more on idlis and dosas.
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