When I was writing this post, I realized that I have not started any serious dose(dosa) or idli recipes yet on the blog. What a shame J, I will get to it some time in the very near future.
Back to Idli batter, there are number of versions each working really well for the people that make them. Some people swear by their proportion of urad dal and rice, some by the time of grinding and fermentation methods while some go by the actual mixing. In Karnataka and Andhra, idli is made with the rice rava and not by grinding rice. Nammamma makes some of the pure white, light and airy idlis using the rice rave that resemble the fully bloomed pristine jasmine flower from my home town and hence called mallige idlis.
I alternate between the rava and rice method depending on my mood, time available for grinding the rice etc. The texture of idlis made using the rava is slightly more grainy and feels soft and crumbly when you break into them. On the other hand, idlis made with rice is more bouncy and smoother to the bite. Hallmark of a good idli in either method is a light and airy end product.
Now if you do not have a tatte idli stand, doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Use the pan that comes with your pressure cooker (the one you use to make rice or dal) and spread the idli batter to about ½ inch thickness in the pan. Or use your regular idli plates to make the idlis.
Idli dough ingredients:
1 cup deskinned urad dal(or deskinned whole urad)
2.5 cup rice rava
1 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tblsp salt
3/4 cup water to grind
1 Tblsp black pepper corns
1 Tblsp cumin seeds
4 Tblsp chana dal
4 Tblsp thinly sliced fresh coconut (see notes)
2 Tblsp chopped cilantro
Making Idli dough:
- Wash urad dal in atleast 3-4 changes of water, scrubbing the dal as you drain the water.
- Soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds in 4 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
- Soak rice rava separately in 3 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
- Wash the urad dal one more time, drain out the water.
- Grind the dal and fenugreek seeds in a grinder/blender using not more than 1 cup of water at different intervals until you get a really smooth dough (see notes).
- In the meantime, take fistfuls of soaked rice rava, squeeze out the water and put in in a wide bowl.
- Scoop out the ground dal on to the squeezed rava, put salt and with a light hand, mix them all together into a homogeneous mixture.
- Cover and leave it in a warm place over night to ferment.
Note: Each tatte idli is approximately equal to 3 regular idlis
- Pound the pepper and cumin in a mortar and pestle into a coarse crush, DO NOT POWDER THEM. (see notes)
- Soak chana dal in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes or until they plump up, drain the water.
- Chop the coconut into thin, longish juliens – idea is to have to bite into coconut pieces when you eat the idli.
- Add the coarsely crushed pepper-cumin, soaked chana dal, chopped cilantro and chopped coconut pieces into the fermented idli batter, give it a mix.
- Prepare the tattes (or the cooker pan) by smearing a drop of oil all around it. Pour the batter to about ½ inch in the plate.
- Set the plates (or the pan) in the idli cooker or regular cooker and steam it for 20 minutes on medium heat.
- Remove the idli stand from the cooker/steamer and let it stand for 2 minutes.
- Using a blunt knife, remove the idlis from the plate by working around the edges first.
- Grinding urad dal into a really smooth, bouncy dough is half the battle won, use as little water as needed to run your mixer. Using fridge cold water helps your mixer/blender motor to survive longer.
- Pepper and cumin seeds are crushed enough to release flavor, do not make a powder of them. Pepper powder also makes the tatte idlis spicier.
- I have seen two varieties of rice rava in the stores here - one is slightly larger grains than the second. I prefer the smaller variety.
- Scrubbing the urad dal helps remove any remnant black skin and result in a white idlis.
- One of my cousins stops making idlis and dosas in winter as she does't believe you can ferment them well, what works for me is to preheat my oven to 170F (minimum my oven will go down to) and switch it off. Place your idli batter bowl inside the oven overnight.