This dish takes me back to Tamil Nadu. Idli is a south Indian savory cake popular throughout India. These are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented rice and lentils. Today i am gonna tell you how to make soft idlis at home with batter made from scratch. Also, you can use the same batter to make Dosa. http://glutenfreeindian.com/homemade-rice-dosa-or-rice-pancakes/
Time: This is a make ahead recipe. 8 hours to soak the rice and lentil, another 6-8 hours for fermentation. If you want to make this tomorrow for breakfast, you should soak the rice and lentil today by midday. Colder climate might take more time to ferment so keep it in a warm place to ferment.
Actual time to cook idlis: 8-10 minutes in an idli maker.
Serves: 3-4 people easily.
- White Rice: 2 cups. (We use Idly Rice for making idli batter. Its a short grain fat rice called Salem rice in South India.) If you can’t find this, you can go with your regular white rice too.
- Urad Daal( daal is a type of lentil) Whole White: 1 cup (Go to any Indian store you will find this easily)
- Olive oil/veg oil/ghee. To line the idli maker tray.
- Idli Maker: Invest in a Idli maker, they come in various varieties, the one i use is very basic, with 8 idli compartments. Sometimes I even steam dumplings or veggies in this maker.
Soak rice and urad daal in water for 7-8 hours. Soak them separately.
Remove the excess water after 8 hours and blend rice, daal in a blender. Do not mix them together and grind, you have to grind them separately. The tip in grinding urad dal is to add the water slowly. If you add all of the water at once, it won’t fluff up well. Now time to grind the rice. Grind the rice into a batter-like consistency, slowly add water to this else the batter will become too runny. Once ground, transfer the batter to the dal mixture bowl and mix well.
You can add some salt (according to your taste, don’t add too much though). I added 1 tbsp.
Now cover it and let this sit in a warm place for 7-8 hours, after 8 hours you would notice the batter has risen and the batter now looks foamy. Your batter is ready. Just give the batter is quick stir, don’t overdo it.
Time to cook them: Line your idli maker with some oil, pour the idli batter in greased idli moulds. The idlis will rise so do not overfill the moulds.
Place the idli moulds in the electric cooker, steamer or pressure cooker. Steam them for 8-10 mins or more till a tooth pick inserted in the idlis come out clean.
Sometimes the idlis do not rise and they come out flat. The main reason is watery or runny batter. Watery batter will not rise and the idlis will be hard and flat. So do not add too much water while grinding. The batter will thin out a little after fermentation. So a BIG CAUTION on using water.
The key to good idlis – Do not allow it to overcook. It might become hard and dry. Just keep an eye and remove the idlis after 6-7 minutes. Do not remove them immediately. It might stick. Leave it for 4-5 minutes and then spoon it out. Serve with your favorite chutney or sambar.
If you have some unused batter left then you can cover it and refrigerate it. Make idlis or dosa the next day but do not refrigerate for days.
I add salt to the batter before fermenting in summers and add it after fermenting in winters. Salt interferes with the fermentation process, so if you live in a colder climate then you can add salt after the fermentation process is over. I live in a hot climate so i add before fermentation.