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October 1, 2011

Idli / இட்லி / इडली

Idli the all time favourite , healthy and now a quitessential dish for breakfast in most of the southindian homes. 

It became an integral part of breakfast only in recent times. I have heard from elders that it was made only during festival days and not a regular affair. Since the joint family system was prevalent, grinding huge amount of batter is not an easy task. During festival days, the work load will be even more hence idli makes the breakfast making easy that day. Mostly served with Molagaipodi (idli chutney powder) mixed with oil (mostly nallenna / sesame oil or Chuttenna [any leftover oil that is used for deep frying] ). Chuttena tastes good and makes the idli molagaipodi, more yummier.

It is made by soaking and grinding rice & urad, fermented and then steamed.

A good combo of lentil and carbs for a healthy breakfast.

Giving the tips for soft idli making at the end of the post. Don't forget to read it.

The art of making soft Idli comes with practice. The best rice that goes into making of soft idlis is the parboiled variety which is otherwise known as 'Idli Rice'. The urad should be of good quality, which you can identify from its appearance and when ground the batter should be fluffy. 

Wet grinder helps you get soft & economy idli as you need to use only 1 portion of urad for five portions of rice. In a mixer the combination is 3(rice) : 1(urad). Adding few methi seeds will not change the colour but gives a nice light aroma to the steamed idlis and also makes them soft. The batter for idli should be of little more than dropping consistency. The same batter can be used for making Dosais (dosas) by diluting it with little water which will be thick but of pouring consistency.
Some soak 2 tbsp of sabudana (Sago/Javvarisi) too along with rice and grind the batter to make soft Idlies but it will be tasty like the normal Idli.

Let us get into Idli Making :-

Ingridients :

  1. Parboiled Rice         - 5 Cups
  2. White Urad / Bengal Gram (deskinned) (whole) -  1 Cup
  3. Methi Seeds / Fenugreek           - 1 1/2 tsp
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Water to grind
Procedure :-

  • Wash rice + methi seeds and soak in water for 6 hours
  • Wash urad and soak for 1 hour (urad need not be soaked for long hours)
  • First in a wet grinder, put the Urad and grind it for 20 to 30 minutes by adding water little by little till it becomes nice & fluffy.
  • Transfer the batter to a vessel
  • Now Add Rice + methi seeds and grind it to paste by adding water little by little when required
  • when rice is ground, add the already grond Urad & required salt & grind them together for 10 minutes (no need to add water now)
  • Transfer it to a bigger vessel and let it ferment for 6 hours or till the batter raise well
  • To make idli, to the fermented batter, add required water (slightly more than dropping consistency) and mix well.

Idli Mould

  • Heat the steamer by pouring water inside it for steaming.
  • Pour a drop of oil in each mould and grease them while wet to prevent sticking.
  • Pour batter into idli moulds & steam for 7 to 10 minutes.

  • To check whether the idli is done, insert a knife and it should come out clean.
Steamed Idli  :

  • Enjoy your soft idlis with the side dish of your choice.

    Side dish suggestion :-

    Tastes best with Onion Sambar, Coconut or Onion Chutney or Chutney Powder which is also know as 'gun powder' or 'Idli Milagaai Podi' 

    TIPS for those using mixer grinder :-

    If you are using mixer grinder then for 3 : 1 ratio add a tsp of fenugreek, grind to nice paste as usual and mix both matter and put then again in your mixer jar, whip them for some time till the batter forms bubbles & of creamy texture.

    Soft Idli tips :-

    1. Add 2 tbsp of rice flakes (Avil / poha) to rice while soaking to get soft idlies.
    2. You can also add a tbsp of sago (sabudhana / javvarisi) instead of poha / rice flakes,  to get softer idlies. The famous kushboo idli uses more portion of this sago (Sabudana / Javvarisi) to get that spongy idli.


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