Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Soft, fluffy, white and light ! These are the attributes expected out of a perfectly delicious mallige idly. However, everytime I prepared idlies, one or more of the above qualities were missing in my finished product.
Wherever I tasted idlies that were perfect and delicious, I started asking for the recipe shamelessly; even if I happened to be at a restaurant! I found out that there were variations in the ingredients and the quantity of ingredients used, which influenced the quality of the batter. Even the climate or the weather mattered in the preparation of the batter for a perfect mallige idly.
After trying out various methods I have finally come to like this recipe which has given me the pleasure of savouring mallige ( jasmine ) like idlies which are soft, fluffy,white and light!
Raw rice - 2 cups
Urad Dal (Split black gram dal) - 1 cup
Idly sooji/tari ( par boiled rice broken similar to the texture of semolina) - 1 cup
Hard beaten rice ( Avalakki ) - 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curds - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
1. Soak rice, black gram dal, beaten rice and fenugreek seeds together for 5 hours.
2. Soak idly sooji in warm water just before you start grinding the rice dal mixture.
3. Wet grind the rice dal mixture ( a table top stone grinder is ideal) adding water as required, into a smooth fluffy paste.
4. Squeeze out the idly sooji from the warm water and add it to the fluffy batter and run the grinder for 2 minutes.
5. Add salt, sugar and curd, and run the grinder for one more minute for uniform blending.
6. Remove the batter into a deep vessel allowing space for the batter to rise.
7. Cover tightly with a lid and place the vessel in a warm place with out disturbing. I usually keep it close to my stove.(Stand the vessel containing the batter on a plate so that any over flow due to fermentation will be contained by it.)
8. Let the batter ferment over night.
9. Next morning grease the idly plates with pure ghee and ladle in the batter.
10. Steam in the pressure cooker with out weight for 15 minutes and switch off flame.
11. Allow the idlies to settle for about 10 minutes and then scoop out the hot idlies into a serving bowl using a knife.
The remaining batter can be immediately stored in the refrigerator before it becomes sour.
Enjoy Mallige Idlies with sambar, molaga podi ( A roasted chilly and dal powder also known as gun powder due to its hot taste) mixed with pure ghee or gingelly oil.
A note from Dibs
"Making idlis in Aussie -- another story all together!"
I have often tried making soft white yummy idlis in Sydney, but in vain ! The batter will turn sour, but simply will not rise despite the sweltering summer, much to my frustration (and my hubby's, who is forced to eat some hard idlis! haha!). According to an an article I found on the web (cant seem to find the link now!), since tap water here is treated, it retards growth of natural wild yeast, and overly washing the dal with this water even removes the yeast found on its surface! Moreover use of pesticide sprays etc too reduces the amount of wild yeast in the environment in general! Now, I have no idea weather all that is true, however, I did manage to finally make decently fermented and soft idlis, by carefully managing temperatures and fermentation times! I have tried this exact method three times now and been successful all three times! This is how I prepared the batter!
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tuvar Dal - 1 tsp
Basmati Rice (An aunt who lives here told me to use Ponni rice, but our Indian store didnt have them in stock!)- 2 cups
Salt - 1 and 1/2 tsp
1. Soak urad dal, and fenugreek seeds in 2 cups of water.
2. Separately, soak rice and tuvar dal in 3 and 1/2 cups of water.
3. Leave both to soak for at least 4 hours.
4. Now grind (I used my Sumeet mixie) the urad dal mix, first to a smooth paste and set aside.
5. Next grind the rice mix to a fine paste and mix well with the urad dal paste. Mix in the salt as well.
6. Preheat your oven to 100 degrees celcius. (Mine is a fan forced oven. If you have an ordinary oven, 80 degrees should be enough!)
7. Take a tall steel / aluminium vessel (should be big enough, as the batter can easily rise 3 times in volume). Warm the empty vessel over a stove top. If the vessel is too hot, it can cook the batter, so if you find its too hot, leave it a minute to cool. The warmth of the vessel should be such that you can comfortably touch the vessel!
8. Now pour the batter into the vessel, and place the vessel in the oven. I ensured that I had foil below the vessel, to catch spills in case the batter rose beyond the vessel!!
9. Keep the oven on for at least 10 minutes, and then switch it off. Leave the vessel in the oven for about 12 to 15hours!!!!
10. The batter should have risen really well and ready to make soft idlis! Store the batter in the refrigerator, and use within two or three days, as it becomes sour verrry fast!
I typically soak the grains at 11:00 am. Grind, mix and place in the oven at around 3:00pm, and leave it overnight. Its ready to steam by around 8:30 - 9:00am the next day. I hope this method works for you, if you are in Aussie or in the USA and have similar problems with idlis! I will update photos the next time I prepare idli batter!