As kids, whenever I had to choose between between dosas or idlis,it would always be dosas for me.I simply could not relate to idlis,I found them extremely dry and I would end up gulping huge amounts of water to suppress the hiccups ready to surface any moment.Then finally I discovered softer idlis in Bangalore where it became my breakfast stable with 2 big bowls of sambar and chutney.My husband showed me how to eat ,sorry devour Idlis the South Indian way.To my dismay, I saw him break the Idlis into pieces on his plate and then empty his bowl of sambar followed by chutney on to the idlis. After such display of crudeness he took out his fork and spoon and spooned up the idli pieces with utmost refinement.Needless to say I followed suit and this is the way I enjoy my idlis.....tangy sambar and creamy coconut chutney on super moist idlis.
I have made idlis quite a few times now trying out various permutations combinations suggestions to get that soft ....almost like a cloud idli. Bought the rice powder especially for making idlis,kept changing the rice and lentil proportions...but still the batter did not give soft idlis. Now I have hit on to the right recipe and am super excited.
This will make about 24 Idlis
Urad dal/White lentil-1 cup
Cooked rice-1 cup
Fenugreek seeds-1 tabespoon
Soak the dal , rice and fenugreek seeds overnight in separate containers.Take a mixer/grinder and first grind the lentils.Add the soaked fenugreek seeds and grind it along with the lentils to a smooth paste.Add just enough water so that the lentils grind smoothly between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup.
Take out the lentil paste and pour it into the bowl in which you would like your batter to ferment.
Now in your grinder add the soaked rice and the cooked rice and make it into a smooth paste.Pour the rice paste into the bowl in which you had previously put the lentil paste.Now add the tablespoon of salt to the batter.With clean hands mix the batter well,the rice and lentil paste should be well mixed.
Now you can cover the bowl and leave it to ferment....generally 8-12 hrs depending upon the atmospheric conditions.
I need some help from the oven because of the cold dry conditions here.After mixing the Idli batter with hand I put the bowl of batter into a 200 F pre-heated oven.You don't need to bake,once oven gets to 200 F you can switch off the oven.The batter will ferment and rise in the heat.You can repeat the oven process again if need be...idea is to create conditions conducive for batter to ferment.
Once the batter has risen you are good to make Idis.
Oil your Idli maker.Pour in the batter.Steam your Idlis for 12-15 mins in the pressure cooker without putting the weight.You Idlis are ready to be served with sambar and chutney.