Idli recipe is a well known recipe of South India. Made with rice and split black lentils or urad dal, idli is a very delicious, light to digest, and a pretty filling dish. It serves as an excellent menu for breakfast or for a light meal.
Preparation of idli batter needs good fermentation and for that warm, humid weather conditions are ideal. However in winter months too, the batter can be kept indoors in sunny or warm places for good fermentation. Another tip is to add just a little 'poha' (flattened rice flakes) to the rice during soaking and then grinding it with the rice. The 'poha' helps in quick fermentation even during cold season.
Once the batter is prepared, it can be stored in the refrigerator for one - two weeks. Idlis can then be prepared fresh at anytime and served with sambhar, mulga podi, or the common South Indian chutney.
- Idli Rawa or Rice (parboiled rice is preferred) - 2 cups
- Split black lentils (Urad dal) - 1 cup
- Poha or flattened rice flakes (optional) - 2 tbsp
- Salt - To taste
- Oil - Only for greasing the idli mould
- Soak the urad dal and the idli rawa (or rice) overnight or for 6-7 hours. (I used idli rawa this time.)
- When soaking add poha to the urad dal. Addition of poha is completely optional. I would recommend adding poha only during cold winter months for good fermentation. In summer poha can be omitted.
- After soaking, pour out all the water from the urad dal and grind to a very fine paste (along with the soaked poha, if used). Use the same poured out water, as needed, when grinding.
- Drain out all the water from the idli rawa and mix the soaked idli rawa with the ground urad dal. (If using rice, pour out all the water from the rice, and grind to make a coarse paste, as coarse as semolina or sooji. Use the poured out water as needed, for grinding. Then mix the ground rice and the ground urad dal).
- Mix well and keep in a tall pot allowing enough space for the batter to rice.
- Cover the pot and keep in a warm place for atleast 8-10 hours for fermentation.
- After good fermentation, the batter rises and becomes very soft and foam like. Add salt and mix well.
- Apply little oil to the pits on the idli mold and add little idli batter so that each pit is filled 3/4th. Leave some space for the idli to rise when steaming.
- Stack all the idli molds and steam them using an idli cooker or a normal pressure cooker (without the whistle or the pressure), for 10-12 minutes on high heat.
- Turn off the heat, open the lid, and spread out all the molds to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Carefully scrape out all the idlis and serve hot with sambhar or chutney.