Idlis are a staple breakfast food in South India. These fluffy rice cakes are made by soaking, grinding and fermenting a combination of a specific type of rice and urad dal (split black gram). Adding a handful of methi (fenugreek) seeds in the mix makes the Idlis extra soft and fluffy.
AWESOME KITCHEN GADGET ALERT!!! :)
I use my trusty Kailash Tilting Wet Grinder to make a super smooth Idli batter. It has a motor unit over which the grinding vessel is placed. The inner base of the vessel has a granite layer. There is also a grinding attachment made of three granite stones which is placed into the vessel where it is held in place. When the machine is turned on the vessel starts to rotate which causes the stones to rotate in the opposite direction. No grain or lentil can hold the hope of staying whole under the pressure of those awesome stones. ;)
The tilting mechanism in my grinder makes it very convenient to pour out the batter without having to carry the weight of the heavy vessel.
For those who make Idlis just occasionally, a good blender with sharp blades will do fine. You just have to remember to soak the urad dal and rice separately and make a very smooth paste of the dal before grinding the rice (the methi seeds are soaked with the rice). But for someone who is looking to be a regular Idli pro, a wet grinder is would make for a very nifty gadget. It's been a truly worthy investment for me! :)
1 C Whole or Split Black Gram
5 C Short Grained Idli Rice (I also like to use Mulleri Red Rice for my Idlis sometimes)
2 T Fenugreek Seeds
Soak everything (except salt) together in plain water overnight.
Drain the soaking water into a vessel and keep aside.
Set up the idli grinder according to instructions, pour some soaking water into it and switch it on.
With the motor running, slowly add in the rice, dal and methi mixture.
Pour in some more of the water to ensure the steady movement of the grinding stones.
Cover the vessel with the lid and get online and blog for the next 20 minutes.
Look in on the batter and add more water if required (the batter should have a fairly thick but pourable consistency) and let the grinder run for another 15 minutes or so.
Once the batter is completely smooth turn it off and pour it into a large container (batter should fill it only halfway to allow it to expand while fermenting).
Add salt and mix lightly with your hand, cover and keep aside in a warm place for about 12 hours (more if you live in a cold climate).
Once the batter has risen well and attained a slightly sour smell, it is ready for use.
Ladle the batter into Idli mold trays.
Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a steamer and once it begins to boil place the Idli trays into the steamer.
Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
You should be able to smell the cooked Idlis in the steam wafting out of the steamer.
Carefully remove the Idly trays out of the steamer and let the Idlis cool for a few minutes.
Gently unmold the Idlis using a wide, flatish spoon.
Drizzle sesame oil over the Idlis and serve them hot with Sambar or Coconut Chutney.