Idli is a staple breakfast in most of South Indian household. I remember our next door neighbour family belonged to Tamilian Brahmin community. They had a big black stone hand grinder which was placed in their kitchen corner. Daily morning we heard the sound of this grinder. Amma used to take bath early in the morning and sat for grinding idli and dosa batter. As a child I used to run in their kitchen and enjoyed watching the grinding. I could imagine weight of the grinding stone which she used to rotate clock and anti clockwise to make the batter. The social life was different at that time and we had great neighbourhood. So it was not difficult to run in one another kitchen and share the dishes. Actually, I developed liking of my south Indian dishes right from childhood and when grew up tried my hands on Idli, dosa, upma and curd rice lemon rice and what not. So, most of my south Indian dishes are based on perriammas(Masiji) recipes. She had told me that Idli dough must contain equal quantity of daal and rice and with this ratio the idlis will be fluffy and soft even after it gets cold. But for dosa dough the rice and dal must be in 3:1 ratio. In those days there were no concept of non stick griddle so making dosa by a novice like me was not easy. However, I had learnt the trick from Periamma. I thank her for sharing her secrets and pray may her soul rest in peace. The ready batters for idli dosas are available in market and life has become easier. However, soaking, grinding, fermenting all at home, the end result is more satisfying.
Here the basic recipe for Idlis is same as learnt from perimma with a little twist for making it interesting by adding chopped bellpeppers and Nuts.
For 24 medium sized idlis
- Skinned black gram lentil/Urad Dhuli dal – 2 cup
- Parboiled short grain Idli rice – 1 ½ cups
- Raw rice or toota basmati- ½ cup
- Halved Pistachios & Cashew nuts equal numbers of Idlis
- Chopped Nuts of your choice 1tspn
- Chopped bell peppers ½ cup
- Grated Carrots 1 tblspn
- Fenugreek seeds 1 tspn
- Salt to taste
- Enough Oil or Ghee for brushing the idli mould.
Mix up fenugreek seeds with daal. The fenugreek seeds acts as softner agent ang Idlid are more soft. makes the dough soft and Soak the rice and daal separately for at least 4-6 hrs.
Grind the daal alongwith fenugreek seeds upto a smooth thick batter. See the consistency in picture.
Grind the rice separately, slightly course in texture.
Mix both and daal batter in a deep bowl. Its better to use hand to whip the batter fast so as to aerate the batter well. The batter should be in dropping consistency. Keep it tightly covered overnight for fermentation. Softness of cooked idlis depends largely upon the fermentation level of rice and dal.
Just before you decide to cook the idlis mix in the chopped bell peppers , carrots and chopped nuts . Add salt as per taste and mix the batter properly.
Take the idly mould and grease the base of each moulds either with refined oil or ghee. Place one piece of cashew or split pistachio on each moulds. Spoon the batter in the moulds.
For pressure cooker cooking: Pour one glass of water in base. Place the Idli mould stand in the cooker. Cover it with lid without weight. Cook on high flame till the pressure starts releasing from top. Then reduce the flame to medium and cook for 10 mins.
Switch off and open the lid after few mins. Give 2-3 mins standing time. Carefully take out the stand. (Use handgloves).
De mould the idlis and serve hot with coconut chutney, sambhar or podi powder.