idli molagapodi

When we were kids a bus would pass our school as we waited at the bus stand everyday at the same time. The initials IDPL was painted on it and we used to call it 'Idli Dosa Poori Laddoo' bus. Just one of those silly things kids do even today! It turned out to be 'Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.':). Much later I learnt that my mama (mother's brother) used to sing for his breakfast thus - "chapathi yaa, idli yaa...masala dosa." Try singing it to the tune of the old Hindi song - "ye vadiyaan, ye nazaare bula rahi hai tumhe....". It fits perfectly:)!

I started making idlis only after I realised that my son liked them so much that he would eat them at my neighbour's place though they made them pretty hard (not anymore as I told them how to make it). I always preferred dosas as idlis were too healthy probably;). Even now I make them only about once a month. The good thing about idli is that it is convenient and hassle free. Once you have the batter ground and ready you can freeze it, and keep using as and when required. It takes hardly 5 minutes for idlis to steam and making the chutney takes another 5 minutes if you have a darling spouse to grate the coconut for you like mine;).

Idli batter:
Clean in enough changes of water and soak the following for at least four hours:
Parboiled rice (I use Kolam ukda chaawal) - 3 cups + A fistful of thick beaten rice flakes (Optional)
Dehusked split black gram (Urad dal) - 1 cup + 1tsp. fenugreek seeds (Methi dana)

Grind the two combinations separately after four hours. If the weather is cold you may have to wait till the lentils swell up really well or use warm water for soaking.

I generally grind the black gram and methi seeds first as it requires more water. I use an electric grinder (butterfly brand). Do not add too much water. The batter should be thickly flowing(molten lava consistency). If you are using a mixer use ice cold water to compensate for the heat generated by the motor. Also, increasing the urad dal to 1.5 cups instead of 1 helps in case of using mixers and not grinders. The resultant batter should be frothy and very light like well whipped cream.

Rice soaks up enough water so you do not need to add much. Drain and grind and add water only as much as needed to keep the smooth grinding going. You may grind it coarse or smooth as per your preference. I keep mine slightly coarse.

Now pour both the batters in a vessel or air tight food grade plastic container and mix them thoroughly. The batter will rise to nearly twice its original height and the pressure can cause the lid to snap open, in which case the batter will overflow so choose a container that is big enough to hold the resultant batter. If the climate is cold keep the vessel on top of/wrapped in folded 'turkish towel' as it helps to trap heat.

The fermentation is done overnight or till the batter doubles in volume. I keep aside for 8 hours in December and at least 6 hours during other times. After this period add salt (about 2tsp. or to taste) and mix thoroughly once more.

Fill the cooker with a little water to generate the steam (about 3 or 4 cups). I use an idli mould/stand which I grease with very little oil. If you do not have moulds you may use stainless steel cups instead. Pour batter in the moulds till levelled and steam without a whistle/weight for at least 3 minutes on high and 5 minutes on sim. Let the pressure go down naturally and then open the cooker. Idlis can be demoulded with the blunt edge of a spoon by lifting the corners gently with a knife.

idli molagapodi

Serve hot with coconut chutney and molagapodi(gun powder).

The chutney recipe can be found here. Molagapodi recipe will follow soon.

Texture: Idlis should be light, soft and fluffy like wisps of cloud. You should be able to split it without any effort at all.

idli molagapodi

Are your idlis hard?
- Check whether you have used raw rice instead of parboiled.
- If you are using a mixie use cold water instead of tap water.
- Add a fistful of beaten rice flakes or cooked rice to the soaked raw rice while grinding.
- Try increasing the quantity of black gram dal by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

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