idlis, a “Lunch Box” special.
Idlis have a special place in our culture. Be it Ramisseri (yeah they have a special secret idli recipe!), Kanchipuram (the big flat ones) or my mom’s mallipoo idlis- a family is never complete with idlis at least once a week. The name seems to have come from Tamil- ittu avi- literally pour and steam. Since it is a combination of rice and lentils, there is a lot of ground to play in.
Some interesting links here and here that describe the little history that we know of, for idlis.
3 cups rice
1/2 cup whole urad dal
1/2 cup skinned whole urad dal
1/2 cup sprouts
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp methi, soaked separately
Soak the rice and the lentils separately (you do not have to soak the sprouts) for a few hours; 4 to 6 hrs is plenty of time.
Grind them separately adding as little water as possible, add the sprouts and methi seeds to rest of the dal mixture and grind until they become a fine paste -the key to good ildis is how finely the lentils are ground, or so I am told! I use a blender and it does a decent job.
Grind the rice mixture and flax seeds, this does not have to super fine.
Mix the two mixtures well and let it ferment overnight in a warm place.
The next day your batter is ready and just before you cook the idlis, add salt and thin it if necessary with water.
My dad would have surely not approved of the texture, you see they were not mallipoo idlis (idlis that have the texture of jasmine flowers). But we loved it- the idlis came out well (not too hard, which I was dreading) and they tasted great. My favorite way to gobble them- dredge leftover idlis in idli podi and seasame oil, and eat them the next day. Believe me- that is heaven right there!
This recipe is off to MLLA #25, an event started by lovely Susan and hosted this month at Siri’s Corner. Have you submitted your legume recipe yet?