Idlies are made with parboiled ponni rice or with idli rice in a special grinder (Indian mixer). Idli is a south Indian breakfast. It is served as a tiffin or as a snack. It can be eaten at any time. It is served with sambar (lentil dal), and chutney. Idli is made with the mixture of idli rice paste and urad dal paste and sometimes idli rava is used instead of idli rice. But ratio differs when we use rice or rice rava. In my grandmothers house , idli rava is used and the proportion is 2:1(idli rava:urad dal), even 1/4th cup of cooked rice is also added, for grinding the batter. when the batter is ready , soda is added before making idlies. Whereas in my moms house, soda is not added. You can add few methi seeds also, while grinding. But in my mother in laws house and my aunts house, idli is made with idli rice or parboiled rice. The ratio differs in every bodies house. Like 4cups of idli rice or parboiled rice, 1cup of urad dal is used , or in my aunts house 4cups of idli rice , 2cups of raw rice(ponni rice) and 11/2 cup of urad dal is used. Both idli and raw rice is used. But the important thing in making soft and fluffy idlies is the batter should ferment well, it should ferment double the size and froth should be there. Some say that urad dal should be soaked for ½ to 45min only and other says the quality of rice and urad dal should be good, yes it can be important for soft and fluffy idlies but fermentation is also very important, some people add curd also while making idlies, soon I will be sharing those recipes also. I will be sharing the recipes which I have satisfied with my idlies. Some people while making idlies , grind rice little coarse , but I always prefer to be soft and smooth paste. For soft idlies in my opinion: It should be soaked well, for rice 4hrs to overnight also, urad dal 1/2hr to 1hr or 4hrs also can be done. While grinding urad dal, add required amount of water and a good froth should be formed as seen in the picture, it will be light like whipped cream or soufflé. When rice is grounded you can keep it as a coarse or smooth paste. Fermentation is very important, keep it in a warm place, if in cold countries , keep it near boiler or heater. Keep for fermentation in the morning in cold countries as , the rooms will be warm because of heater and temperature will be high than in nights. Always transfer the mixture in to 2 or 3 airtight boxes, so that your other box batter remains fluffy, whenever you are using batter from one box for making idlies and dosas, the froth goes down as we mix it with a spoon that’s why I transfer into 2 or 3 boxes, to maintain the consistency but before fermenting fill half of the container or box. The recipe which iam going to share with you , you can make idli, dosa, uthapam, gunta ponganalu in telugu (vell paniyaram in tamil). in this method , I have used grinder to grind the paste, those who are not having can use mixer.
- Idli rice or parboiled ponni rice – 31/2 cups
- Urad dal – 3/4th cup
- Methi seeds – 1tsp
- Salt as required
- Water 3cups to 4cups of water for grinding
- Soak idli rice for 4hrs to 6hrs or overnight also. I have soaked urad dal for ½ hr to 45min, if you want you can soak it for more than 1hr also. Sometimes I have soaked it for 11/2 hrs and also 4 hrs, but my idlies were soft. Soak methi seeds in the rice or uraddal itself. If you donot have idli rice then use parboiled rice (both the rice will be in smaller in size like risotto rice).
Grinding urad dal
- First grind urad dal, put the urad dal and little water first and grind it, while grinding , you can see that in the photo, if the paste is getting dry and very thick add water, for me 11/2cup of water required to grind , till it gave me good froth, the paste should be very smooth and fluffy like whipped egg or cream. If grinder is not there then grind it in mixer and grind till the mixi gets hot , I mean grind it till uraddal paste is frothy and fluffy. Transfer it into a box.
- No need to wash the grinder, directly can add the rice . While grinding rice , you require first 3/4th cup of water, add slowly on the stones and sides where you can see that a thick paste is forming, otherwise the grinder will not move properly or rotate. with the help of spactula can mix the mixture how we stir with a spoon in our vessel, rotate it in the grinder.
- While grinding add little by little water, for me 2cups to 21/2cups of water was required to grind batter, rice. Water is added to grind the mixture smoothly. In the beginning add 3/4th cup of water for rice then in between (intervals)add 1/4th cup of water , every time whenever it is needed. As soon as the the batter gets thick add water, so that grinder runs smoothly.
- When the rice is ground into a smooth mixture, the grinding process is completed.
Mixing urad dal and rice paste
- now add urad dal batter in the rice batter and grind for few minutes together, so that it is mixed well like 5minutes, add salt also during that time. Always add salt carefully, if it is less can be added afterwards also, but not more.
- For grinding urad dal 20 to 25 min and rice 20 to 25min can be ,total time 45 to 50min.
- Some people they mix it both(soak both rice and urad dal) and grind , and it ferments well and idlies are soft also, as I have tasted them.
- Some people add urad dal first and grind it for 5min and add the rice and grind together for 1/2hr to 40min till they get their consistency.
- The consistency of the batter should be nor thick and thin. add water according to your rice and urad dal quality is. The batter should be like custard consistency. In my pictures I have tried the most to help you learn , how to make idlies.
- For iddlies it should be thicker than dosa, as dosa required little thin batter to make dosas.
Storage and fermenting
- Transfer the batter into 2 or 3 boxes but filled half of it, as after fermentation the batter raises. In cold countries, you can ferment and then refrigerate it but in hot places or in india, when the batter is grounded it is kept in fridge. When it is needed, the quantity required is taken and then fermentated. For eg: for next day breakfast, the required amount of batter is taken and kept for fermentation in the night in the kitchen. When the batter is fermentated ,in the morning salt is added and idlies or dosa is prepared for break fast. In London, I grind it in the after noon and keep it for fermentation till next day morning, then only it ferments properly, because of the temperature. For others , if the batter gets fermentated in lesser time, no need to keep it for longer period.
- When the batter is fermentated, take the required amount of batter for your family and check salt is sufficient or not. As salt is added while grinding , if not after fermentation can add it.
- Then put the batter in to the idli plates and steam it for 8 to 10min. after cooking , take out the plates and let it rest for sometime, then idlies will come out easily. You can refrigerate the idlies and when needed can heat it in microwave and serve it, it will be good.
- If idli plates are not available , steam it like dhokla is done and when it is cooked cut into pieces and eat it.
Variation for idlis
- For making colour ful and tastier just grate carrot and put on the batter or add some dry cooked peas curry in to the plate and close with batter and steam. I have used chutnies and kheema curry, you can see in the photo. For the parties, it will be colour ful. You can add few chopped vegetables also to make it vegetable idli. Serve it with chutney and sambar or any curry or kurma.
- the batter should be nor thick or nor thin,it will should be like condensed milk or custard texture.
- when it ferments,it will be very light and fluffy,and airy,if you mix too much,the airy bubbles will go off,then you wont get nice soft idlies.
- while grinding you can use the soaked water to add in it.
- when cooked u can see that it wont stick to your hands like raw batter.
- if you grease the idli plates with oil ,just a drop of oil and apply it with your fingers on plate,then put batter and steam it.when it is cooked,it will come out easily.
- While grinding urad dal, let it grind in a mixer for a while till the mixer gets hot as , the urad dal has to be grounded well in a mixer, if you do not have grinder.
- You can add pepper powder or pomegranate seeds in the stuffing if you fancy.
- You can make paratha with ordinary chapathi dough.