You can't visit South India without
having idli for breakfast. Almost
every family in South India makes idlis regularly. Made
with urad dal (split black gram) and rice or rice rava (cream of rice),
idli has been the staple morning dish from times immemorial. These soft
and fluffy steamed rice cakes are filling, nutritious, easy to digest,
make a healthy breakfast.
While the recipe is simple enough, it can be tricky to get the
consistency and dal-to-rava proportion just right. For soft idlis, the
batter should be of a flowing consistency and fermented to the right
degree (for about 24 hours). You will need an idli stand to make
these (available in Indian grocery stores or online).
Servings: 6-8 Cooking Time: 10
minutes (excluding the time for soaking and grinding)
1 cup urad dal (split black gram)
2 cups idli rava (cream of rice)
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp plain yogurt
2 tsp salt
Soak the urad dal with fenugreek in a bowl with 2
cups of water for 2-3 hours.
Soak the idli rava in another bowl with just enough
water to form a paste.
Drain the water from the dal and in a blender,
with fenugreek seeds with a little water to a smooth, flowing
for cake batter.
Add the salt, yogurt and rava and pulse in the
blender for a second to mix all the ingredients.
Remove in a large bowl. The batter rises to double
its level in the bowl as it ferments, so be sure the bowl is large
enough. Set aside in a warm place for about 24 hours.
The batter's ready if it has risen, and has bubbles
on top with a fermented aroma.
the idli batter, and coat the idli plate with a
little oil or use a vegetable oil spray, to prevent the idlis from
sticking to the plates. Fill the moulds in the idli plates with the
batter. Put the plates in a steamer or pressure cooker (without the
weight), and steam for 10-12 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, be
to add 1 cup of water in the cooker, once the steam builds up, reduce
the heat to medium-high.
Let the idlis cool for about 5 minutes. Use a
fork or knife to test if the idlis are cooked (the knife should come
Use a butter knife to gently go around the edges to loosen the idli
mould and remove.
Drizzle with ghee (clarified butter) and serve with
coconut chutney and sambar or chutney
If you don't have an idli stand, you can steam it in a round cake pan
to make one large idli that you can cut into wedges. Or you can use
small metal cups annd steam in a Chinese steamer basket. Be sure to brush the pan with oil before pouring the batter.
After the batter has fermented, you can refrigerate the batter in a
covered container and use it for up to a week.
You can also use the idli batter to make dosa (crepes) and uthappam.
Just add a little water to make it into a slightly runny consistency.