My 33rd recipe “Idli” sounds familiar and simple rite. A perfect healthy and versatile South Indian breakfast. Idli Sambar and Chutney combo for breakfast is something very common in Indian households. I would probably rate it as the number one made Indian Breakfast Recipe.
For me, preparing idli and preparing for exam has a relation. In both cases, we would think as though we have put our full effort while preparing, but what to do our fate will depend on things not in our control.
In case of exam, things like question paper, professor, time etc. and same way in case of idli it depends on quality of urad dal, room temperature etc. Whenever I start the process of preparing idlis, my feelings will be same as standing inside a chemistry lab.
Do not know how this urad dal will react, until we cook the idli. We will buy urad dal from store thinking its high quality, but we cant find out the truth until we finish grinding it. But as always effort never fails. When we prepare for the exam by understanding the actual concepts instead of just mugging up, we will surely win.
Similarly if we prepare by understanding the actual concept we will be able to adjust to the external factors and get it perfect every time. I wanted to act as the guide giving you the tips and tricks to make the perfect idlis.
Idli | How to prepare Idli batter
Idli - A soft and healthy south Indian breakfast recipe. Learn how to make the batter, ferment to right texture and cook.
- Idli rice - 4 Cups
- Skinless Whole Urad dal - 1 Cup
- Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
- Salt - 3 Tbsp
- Wash and soak the idli rice and urad dal+fenugreek seeds in clean water separately for minimum 5 Hours.
- Drain the urad dal + fenugreek seeds from water and add it to the wet grinder. Grind by adding water (water used for soaking) little by little at regular intervals until you get a fluffy batter. Make sure there are no urad dal or fenugreek seeds sticking to the side wall of grinder drum. Use a plastic spatula to remove them from the sides and grind evenly. It took me about 7 minutes to grind the urad dal. Transfer the urad dal batter into a clean big container (which can hold double the quantity of total batter rice+urad dal).
- Now drain the rice from water and grind it in the same wet grinder drum. You need not wash the grinder drum after grinding the urad dal. Follow the same procedure as urad dal grinding. Add enough water to get a smooth batter. It took me about 20 minutes to grind the rice. Now transfer the rice batter to the container containing urad dal batter.
- Add the salt and use your hands to mix thoroughly. Both the rice and urad dal batter should mix nicely. Even mixing of batter is a must to get a best idli.
- Now place the container in a warm place and let it rest over night for the fermentation to take place. The next day batter would have raised and the quantity doubled. It will be spongy. Do not over beat the fermented batter, to get soft idlis.
- Take the idli cooker, fill it with a cup of water. Grease the idli plates with oil and fill them with the fermented batter. Place the idli trays in the idli cooker and cover it with the lid and cook. Insert a tooth pick to check if the idlis are cooked through. The toothpick should come out clean. Turn off the flame. It took me about 12 minutes. Remove the idli trays from the pot, let it cool down for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the idlis from the plate and enjoy hot with sambar and chutney.
- Idlis should be spongy, soft and white in color. In case any of these three qualities are missing then there is an issue in your process or quality of the dal/rice.
- Use good quality of ural dal for idli. Quality of the urad dal matters the most. If by chance you get a low quality urad dal, you will get less quantity of batter after grinding or the urad dal batter will not be fluffy. Do increase the quantity of urad dal from next time.
- Do not use aged urad dal. Use the urad dal within a month after buying.
- Use idli rice. Do not substitute with parboiled rice, sona masoori, etc.
- Do not add more water while grinding urad dal, it will lead to watery batter instead of fluffy.
- Do not grinding the urad dal and rice in grinder for long time. The grinder will heat up and raise the temperature of the batter. We will not get the desired end result.
- Even after following all the steps, if you are not getting the perfect idli, you can try adding a handful of cooked rice or aval / poha while grinding.
- Refrigerate the remaining batter. You can use it for upto a week.
- I usually prepare idli on the first 2 days and then use the same batter to prepare dosa afterwards.
- Since it is cold out here in US, I leave my batter inside my oven for fermentation, keeping the oven light turned on for warmth.