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{November 19, 2009}   Idli

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Hmmm…Soft, fluffy rows of round idlis for breakfast, along with chutney or sambar or both. Who wouldnt want that? Though idli is simple to make, making the batter is not so simple task. If the batter was not fermented enough or did not have enough urad dhal, soft idlis would turn up as bricks no matter how many times we try. Once the batter secret is conquered, breakfast or dinner worries run away from the house. Use the fresh idli batter for idlis, slightly old batter for dosas or fast uthapams. Sky is the limit in turning idli batter into easy breakfast dish.

When I think of this onion chutney I always think of the time when I was in school. My mom was busy making idli and this onion chutney. She was busy doing a thousand things and so asked me to give her a shout when the ingredients have cooled down(after the frying process). I thought I was speeding up the process and stood infront of a table fan with a plate full of fried dhal,onion and red chilis….and off they went in all four directions.

Ingredients:
For Idli:
Idli rice- 2 cups
Urad dhal- 3/4 cup
Ordinary rice- 1/2 fistful

Soak rice and urad dhal separately for atleast 5 hours. Drain the water and grind urad dhal first till it is fluffy and smooth without adding too much of water. Transfer to a tall vessel. Grind the rice(s) to a thick smooth paste. Pour this on top of the urad dhal paste. Add salt(1.25 tsp), mix both pastes together and let it ferment. It would be better to keep the batter in a warm place.

When grinding for idlis, since I dont have a grinder like how they use in India, I grind the batter in a mixie. I add ice cold water while grinding for two reasons:

1) To cool the motor of the mixie.
2) To get softer, fluffier urad dhal mixture.

The next day morning the batter would have doubled in volume.

Scoop the topmost batter and drop them into greased idli moulds(with oil). Steam it in a pressure cooker/idli cooker for 12 minutes on medium flame(maximum amount of time depends around this mark 12-16 minutes). If you use high flame, idlis will be raw batter inside and cooked on the outside. Check if the idlis are done by inserting a clean knife or fork into one idli, if it comes out clean, its done!!

Remove the lid of the cooker and let idlis cool and pop them out of the mould. Serve idlis with chutneys or podis.

Whenever I make idlis I think of the famous “Murugan Idli Shop” in chennai which is well known for its soft idlis and endless list of chutneys at an affordable cost/plate of idlis. They add methi seeds(vendayam) to their idli batter as methi cools down the body heat. If you make dosas with methi, that is vendaya dosa and it has its own unique taste. Apart from the idli part of it, I have fond memories attached to it. My hubby was on his way to our home before our engagement and he turned up a couple of hours late. He had just landed in India and he couldnt resist the temptation and stopped at the shop instead of coming home! And till today I pull his leg about it. Here is the link for the murugan idli shop if you want to check it out.

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[…] the dosa batter is similar to that of idli batter  and can be found here from my previous post about […]



[…] Switch off. Add lemon juice and stir to mix. Garnish with cilantro leaves.  Serve Kadappa with Dosa or with Idli. […]



[…] This recipe calls for slowly stir frying the eggplants. So we have to choose the baby eggplants(small purple ones) as it will cook faster and will absorb the masala. I use the shortcut method sometimes and instead of grinding the spices, use a similar combination- milagai podi, which we usually use for Idlis. […]



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