Every South Indian makes sure during their first trip to the US that they bring the grinder along with them. It is available in the US these days though. I however prepare my batter in the mixer in the largest jar and it equally turns of great. The key to making idlies is the fermentation process, which results soft, fluffy idlies.
Now onto the recipe...
Par Boiled rice/ Idly Rice - 3 cups
Urad dal (Skinned black gram/lentils) - 1 cup
Cooked rice/ Poha - 2 tablespoons (optional)
Fenugreek seeds - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
The parboiled rice and the urad dal should be used in the 3:1 ratio. You could double the quantity for more batter.
Soak the urad dal and rice seperately along with the fenugreek seeds for atleast 4 to 5 hours.
Strain the water and grind the rice, fenugreek seeds, cooked rice together and the urad dhal separately to a smooth consistency adding water if needed. Add very little water while grinding the urad dhal.
Combine everything together along with the required amount of salt and with your hands incorporate the batter well. it is very important to use your hands for mixing the batter as it is believed that the body heat aids in better fermentation of the batter.
Allow the batter to ferment overnight or at least for 12 hours. The batter rises well. So pour batter in a vessel only 3/4 the height of the vessel. It might overflow otherwise.
Tips for fermenting the batter during cold weather:
Preheat the oven to about 150F and then switch it off. the oven should be slightly warm by this time. Place the batter inside the oven overnight and the slight heat helps the fermentation process. I usually place a plate below the vessel containing the batter just in case the batter overflows and spoils the oven. Reduces the cleaning process!
To make the idlies:
Grease the idly moulds with little ghee/oil or non-stick cooking spray (PAM) and pour a ladle of batter in each mould. The batter rise a little. So take care to not pour too much of batter.
Take a little water in the pressure cooker about half an inch. Place the idly mould in the cooker and steam for about 15 minutes without the weights. Allow it to sit for five minutes and remove the idlies with a spoon. You can check if the idlies are done using a toothpick . The idlies are done if an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm with any accompaniment of your choice. Goes well with any variety of chutnies, sambar, thakkali kuzhambu or the humble spice powder!
Sending this to MLLA: 23rd helping hosted by Susan.