Idli is a very healthy traditional South Indian breakfast. It is now popular everywhere in India and also outside India. Idli is a soft, steamed savory rice cake. It is made by steaming the fermented batter made by grinding soaked rice and split black gram.
The batter can be made using plain rice, idly rice, boiled rice or idli rava. Idli rava is coarsely ground boiled rice. It is also known as the cream of rice.
The idli made with idli rava is little coarse and grainy in texture. The process of grinding the rice is simplified when using idli rava. It can be quickly made when you are short on time. The batter made using whole rice takes time to grind.
I follow the same ratio for making idli with idli rava as with plain rice. It is 3 cups rice: 1 cup urad dal.
Wash and soak urad dal for 4-5 hours. Add 1 tsp of methi seeds to it. It will add flavor and aid in process of fermentation. The water used to soak the idli rava should just cover the surface of rava. Idli rava should be soaked for 4-5 hours.
Do not grind idli rava if you want a grainy textured idli. Just squeeze excess water from rava and add it to the ground smooth urad dal paste. Mix well and let the batter ferment for 6-8 hours.
I like soft but coarse idli, hence I prefer grinding half soaked idli rava. Many people also like to add soaked poha while grinding the batter.
For fermenting batter first mix urad dal paste and idli rava with your hands in circular motion. The heat generated from hands aids the process of fermentation. Cover and keep the batter in a warm place for 6-8 hours or overnight.
During winter keep the batter in an oven with the light on or in the microwave for 8-10 hours or more.
The batter is fermented well and idli comes out soft and coarse.
Use the prepared batter in batches to make the idlis. The remaining batter can be refrigerated for a week. You can also freeze the batter for a month. You can use the same batter to make dosa. Add water to make thin consistency of the batter to prepare dosa.
Serve idlis hot with sambhar and coconut curry leaves chutney.
Idli With Idli Rava
- In separate bowls take idli rava and urad dal (split black gram).
- Wash the urad dal for 2-3 times in water. Soak the urad dal. Add 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds (methi dana) to it. In another bowl soak idli rava with the water. The water should just soak the idli rava with a thin layer on top. Cover and let them soak for 4-5 hours.
- Drain the water from soaked urad dal. In a mixer, jar put the drained urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Churn them together. Add very little water and again blend them till smooth.
- Remove the smooth ground urad dal and fenugreek seeds in the big bowl.
- With the soaked idli rava, squeeze water from the rava by putting in fist. Make balls and remove half the quantity of squeezed rava in the bowl of ground urad dal.
- Grind the remaining half rava with some water to a semi coarse paste.
- Add the semi coarse paste to the ground urad dal, squeezed idli rava ball in the bowl.
- Mix them together with hands in circular motio till they are blended well. The heat generated with hands aids the fermentation process.
- Cover the bowl and keep it in warm place to ferment for 6-8 hours. I usually put it in the microwave or oven. (for microwave, place a glass of water and heat it for 1-2 minutes on high, remove the glass and keep the bowl with batter in the microwave to ferment. for oven, preheat the oven at 100 C and then after sometimes place the bowl with batter to ferment) Doing this way makes sure that the oven or microwave are warm enough to put the batter for fermenting. This helps in the cold winter days. In summer you can simply put the bowl without pre-heating. If you get sunlight in your house, place the covered batter in it for sometime. This will also help for fermentation.
- After 6-8 hours the batter is rise and it has got nice fermentation.
- Mix well.
- Remove in the small bowl the quantity of batter needed to make idli. The rest batter can be used to make dosa or uttapam or freeze it and use for next time. Add salt and around 1/4 th cup of water to the batter to make it thin.
- Grease the idli stand with oil.
- Pour the batter into the greased stands. Place the idli stand in the vessel filled with water. Cover the vessel with lid so that the steam is not able to escape. Cook the idli for 8-1o minutes.
- Remove the idli. let them cool. If you want you can brush idli surface with oil.
- Remove idlis with small spoon or knife. similarly make remaining idlis.
- Serve it hot with sambhar and chutney.