Idly or Idli and Dosa’s are the most common breakfast / dinner items for people in South India. Dosas will however turn good, in most of the times we prepare it. But, preparing soft Idly, is a little tricky job, where the secret lies behind the batter we prepare for it. Most of us know how to prepare idly batter and soft idlis. But, few may not know how to prepare the idli batter. And few, know how to make idli batter but it will not yield soft idly’s. For the beginners and for who think why the batter is not yielding soft idli, the post comes here.
Grinding idly batter, though, a time consuming process, but I cannot think even a day and particularly weekends, without this batter. And even I can say that, am having refrigerator mainly to store idly / dosa batter. Some people prepare separate batter for preparing idly and dosa. But , I use the same batter for both the recipes .
|Idly Rice||8 cups|
|Raw Rice||1/2 cup|
|Black Gram / Ulutham Paruppu||2 cups|
|Fenugreek Seeds ( gives a nice red color to dosa)||3 tsp|
|Rock Salt||1/4 cup|
Soak idly rice, raw rice and fenugreek seeds together in a wide bowl, with bowl full of water, for about 2 to 3 hours and even to a maximum of 5 hours. Soak black gram in another separate bowl for about 2 hours, with bowl full of water.
I use to grind black gram first. Before grinding, wash the black gram well with water, until the water runs out clear ( have to wash at least 4 or 5 times with enough amount of water). Drain all the water used to wash.
Switch on your grinder and start it to run. Add 1 cup of water first and then slowly keep adding handful of black gram until it finish off ( if you put black gram altogether in one time, the grinder will struck and stop). Let it grind for about 5 minutes continuously. By this time, the batter would have become thick, so add one more cup of water (after switching off it) and wipe off the gram stick to the sides of the grinder with the spatula. Again, let it to grind and add one more cup of water after 5 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes to grind black gram smoothly in my grinder for the prescribed quantity. Exact water quantity cannot be prescribed because some black gram require more water and some may not. so, adjust it accordingly. After 30 minutes of grinding, the batter will be smooth and fluffy, and soft. Switch off the grinder and transfer the batter to a big vessel.
Next, wash the rice well with water, until the water runs out clear ( have to wash at least 4 or 5 times with enough amount of water). Drain all the water used to wash. Switch on your grinder and start it to run.
Add 2 cups of water first and then slowly keep adding handful of rice until it finish off ( if you put rice altogether in one time, the grinder will struck and stop). Let it grind for about 10 minutes continuously. By this time, the batter would have become thick, so add two more cups of water (after switching off it) and wipe off the rice stick to the sides of the grinder with the spatula.
Again, let it to grind and sprinkle little water, if required after 5 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes to grind rice smoothly in my grinder for the prescribed quantity. Exact water quantity cannot be prescribed here too. After 30 minutes of grinding, the batter will be smooth.
Now, add salt to the batter in the grinder and run for 3 more minutes, so that rice will mix evenly in the batter.
Rice batter will be little heavier and thicker than the black gram batter. Switch off the grinder and transfer the batter to the same vessel in which you have stored black gram batter.
Now, mix both the batter together with your hands or with a ladle, and ensure that both the batter have mixed well (hands will pain surely!). Let the batter undisturbed for fermentation process. Usually, I divide the batter in two portions and store it in 2 vessel (since the batter will double up in amount after fermentation and sometimes overflow out of the vessel) . Close it with a lid and keep it in warm place without disturbing for about 8 to 10 hours ( depending upon the weather). After the prescribed time, the batter would have ferment well, and would have raised well. Mix it well and store it in the refrigerator.
Hope that you will be able to see in the picture, the difference in batter, before fermentation and after fermentation. After fermentation, the batter will be light and will fall from ladle smoothly and easily. Such a batter will gives soft idly. If the batter is thick, the idly will turn hard. You add little water to make the batter loose. If the batter is too watery, then the idlis will be soft but turns flat and it would not hold its shape.
How to Prepare Soft Idly / Idli?
Some use idly cooker and some people use idly pot, which is a traditional one, to cook idlis. Am using Idly pot to cook idlis.
Fill the idly pot with 2 0r 3 cups of water and bring it to boil in high flame. Spread a clean white cloth over the idli plates and pour a ladleful of batter in each slot. Keep the plates inside the pot and cover it with a lid. Let it cook in high flame for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the idlis are cooked.
To check whether idli is cooked or not, if you insert a knife or a spoon, in the idli, it should come out clean. After it is cooked, remove the idlis from cloth and serve it with coconut chutney / sambar / Ennai Podi / or any other type of chutneys.