Idlis are staple food for South Indians.It is safe and healthy for all the age group,right from 6 months to 100 years,as it is steamed.We start idilies for babies as a first solid food,and for adults it is a safe food,which doen't create any indigestion problems.Though this looks simple,but the process has to be carried out religiously.Selecting urad dal is another trick here.Urad dal should be big ,this will give good volume to the batter.The rice and urad dal should be washed several times and soaked for atleast 2 hours.That too without a grinder,its tough to get soft idlies here in USA.Initially I was using poha and soy bean to get soft idlies.But my mom gave me these perfect ratio to get soft idlies using a mixie.This is the basic idli recipe.We can prepare variations with this like stuffed idli,chilli idli,kaima idli,pepper idli,Check out my potato stuffed idli recipe here.
* Transfer the grinded urad batter into a wide mixing bowl.Now grind rice with little water .Let it be smooth .Grind it in 3 batches.While grinding the rice add water,this will prevent the jar from getting hot.Grind the given amount of rice for in 3 batches,this enhances us to get a smooth batter.
* Once the batter is fermented,mix it again with a laddle .If the batter is too thick,we can dilute it with some water.Pour it on to a greased idli plate.Always pour into the moulds till it is 3/4 th full.If not the idlies will be too big and will take much time to cook.Before steaming the idlies tap the idli plate ,so that the batter is evenly distributed.
1.Parboiled rice or idli rice - 4 cups
2.Urad dal (whole) - 1 1/2 cups
3.Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
4.Water for soaking and grinding
5.salt - 2 tsp or as required
|Measured idli rice and urad dal|
* Wash the rice for 5 to 6 times or untill,the water becomes clear.This step is very much essential in getting white idlies.This makes the rice to get rid off the dirt.If we are not washing the rice properly,then the colour of the idlies will become light yellow.The reason is the dust in the rice.
|Washed and soaked rice and dal|
* Wash the urad dal well for 3 times.Don't wash it more than this,as the urad dal may loose its slimy texture.Add the methi seeds to the dal.Soak both the rice and dal in separate containers for atleast 2 to 3 hours.
|Grinding the first batch of urad dal|
* Grind the urad dal first in the blender well with little water.Grind it in 2 batches,this will make the urad dal to grind it into smooth paste, without any lumps.While grinding the urad dal,it should come up and increase in its volume.This makes the idlies soft.Whlile grinding the mixie should not become hot.If its hot,then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and grind .
|Final urad dal batter|
|Rice batter mixed with urad dal batter|
* Now pour the grinded rice batter to the urad dal batter and add salt.Mix the batter well,so that the urad dal batter mixes with the rice batter well.We can also use a laddle to mix the batter.Let it ferment overnight or 10 -12 hours.When the batter is fermented ,it increases in volume and comes up as shown in picture.So always use a deep and wide bowl for fermenting. You can see in this picture,how the batter has risen up in its volume.Don't ferment the batter for more time,then the batter will become sour and have a stinky smell.
|Fermented batter overnight|
* In India ,there will not be any problem in fermenting the batter.But in cold Countries like USA,its always a challenge for the batter to ferment.So I always place the grinded batter inside the oven ,with just the light on.This helps the oven to have a warmth,produced by the light.
|Batter poured into greased idli plates|
* Fill 1/4 the depth of idli vessel with water and steam the idlies for 10 minutes or untill tooth pick comes out clean.Sprinkle some water on top of the idlies and let it cool for 2 to 3 minutes.Now use a wet spoon and take the idlies out.Let it get cooled on a plate for a minute ,then store in hot packs.
* We can store the idli batter for a week.First two to three days we can prepare idlies with it.After that,we can dilute the batter again and use as dosa batter. But the batter has to be refrigerated.It has to be brought to room temperature at least 30 minutes before using it.
Here is the cross sectional view of the idli !!!
|Hot idlies with superb texture !!!|
* Serve with coconut chutney,Sambar ,Red chutney or with simple idli milagai podi .Check the other recipes here..It reminds me of my home town,by seeing the spread..Check my other version of idlies using soy bean here.