Idli made with idli rava (or idli sooji)

Idli is a south Indian breakfast. Idli is one of my all time favourites. Idli is served as a tiffin or even as a snack. We can use idli rava (or idli sooji) for making idlis. It is easy to make and grind in a mixer. Its soft and smooth.

It can be eaten at any time. It is usually served with sambar (lentil/dal) and chutney. But I like it with tangy fish curry, egg curry, egg korma or chicken korma, kara kuzhambu (tangy and spicy curry). You can eat idlis with even the idli podi.

Idli is made with the mixture of idli rice paste and urad dal paste. You can use idli rava (or sooji) instead of idli rice. But the ratio differs when we use rice or rice rava. In my grandmother’s house, idli rava is used and the proportion is 2:1 (idli rava:urad dal) and even 1/4th cup of cooked rice is also added while grinding the batter. When the batter is ready, soda is added before making idlies. Whereas in my mom’s house, soda is not added. You can add few methi seeds also while grinding. It is easy for people who do not have grinder. In this only urad dal has to be ground and it gets easily ground unlike rice. This idli made with rava is soft and tasty in addition to beinbg wasy to make.

Ingredients

  • Idli rava 2 cups soaked in water for 4 to 6 hours in the morning or overnight
  • Urad dal (whole) 3/4th cup or 1 cup soaked in water for 6 hours in the morning or overnight
  • Poha or rice flakes 1/2 cup, wash and soak in water for 1/2 hour OR cooked rice 1/2 cup
  • Salt as required
  • Methi seeds (optional) – 3/4 tsp
  • Water – 170 ml to 200 ml

Method

  • Wash idli rava and urad dal in water, then soak it in water for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Strain the water from urad dal and keep that water for grinding. It will help in fermentation.
  • Grind urad dal and cooked rice together in a grinder to a paste. Add enough water to grind into a paste.
  • If you want you can grind idli rava to give a very fine paste or just mix it as is with urad dal paste. Before mixing the idli rava to the urad dal paste, squeeze the water from idli rava and put it in a bowl. You can even use that water for grinding urad dal paste.
  • After grinding both, put this into a big bowl, add salt and mix well. There should not be any lumps. Only half of the bowl should be filled leaving space on top. This is for increase in volume after fermentation. It can rise to top of the bowl as seen in the pictures. Put the batter for fermentating in multiple boxes all half filled.
  • To expedite fermentation, keep the batter near a heater or even in an oven after heating it for 1 1/2 mins at 200 degrees celcius. Basically it should be in a warm place (as in the UK or other countries where the climate is cold, its difficult to ferment). You can even keep the batter near the boiler.
  • Keeping it in the night near some warm place should make sure it is fermented by morning.
  • Stir the batter very lightly after fermentations so as to not lose the volume. Put the batter in the idli plates and steam. This will take about 8 mins to 10 mins.
  • You can check whether it is cooked with a stick or knife. If the batter sticks to it, then it is raw. If the idlis are cooked, then the knife/stick should come out cleanly and easily.
  • When it is cooked, let it rest for about 5 mins and then remove the idlis with the help of a wider spoon.
  • Remaining batter can be stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • Serve the idlis with korma, sambar, chutney or idli podi.
  • I sometimes use this batter for dosa, but it will be thick dosa after cooking. We cannot make thin dosa with this batter.

Notes

  • I often never grind idli rava as I like the grainy texture in my idlis.
  • The batter should not be too thick or thin. The consistency should be like condensed milk or custard.
  • When it ferments, it will be very light and fluffy with lots of air in it. If you mix the batter too much, the airy bubbles will go off and then you won’t get nice soft idlis.
  • While grinding, you can use the soaked water to add in it.
  • When cooked you can see that it won’t stick to your hands like raw batter.
  • Sometimes I use methi seeds also to give a nice flavour. Just add 1 tsp of methi seeds and soak it in urad dal itself.
  • If you grease the idli plates with oil, the idlis will come out easily after they are cooked. Just put a drop of oil and apply it with your fingers on the idli plate and then put the batter and steam.
  • Some people add soda but I avoid it. Before 1/2 hour of cooking it is added.
  • While grinding urad dal, let it grind in a mixer for a while until the mixer gets hot. Urad dal has to be ground well in a mixer, if you do not have a grinder.
  • Some soak idli rava for just 1 hr, but I always soak for 4 to 6 hours or sometimes even overnight.

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