Saturday, June 30, 2012

Simplified Idlis

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Yes, you heard me right. Simplified Idlis. Super soft and fluffy idlis without the soaking and tedious grinding.
For almost a year now, i have been buying this packet called "Idli Podi" from the indian grocery store. The packet instructions only say this - Mix in water and allow to ferment. Add a cup of boiled rice to get supersoft idlis. And that's it.
And the result is supersoft and fluffy idlis without the soaking and tedious grinding. There are similar "Podis" avalaible for dosas too. They are good too.

To go with that I made Green chutney using this recipe. The chutney is silky smooth with a perfect coconut-y touch.

Simplified Idlis using Idli Podi

2C of idli podi
1-1.5 C of water 
1/2 C of boiled rice paste (leftover rice perfectly ok)
a handful of poha ( optional )

Make a paste of poha and boiled rice in a blender. Its ok if you have a coarse paste.
Mix the podi with water and above mixture.
Allow to ferment for at least 12 hours in summer. Do not cover with a plate. Instead cover loosely with a foil by leaving some of the foil ajar. 

To make Idlis :-
Take 1 C of batter in a bowl. 
Add a pinch of baking soda and pinch of salt.
Add 1/2 C of water to make the batter of pouring consistency.
Pour into idli moulds.
Steam for 10-11 min.
Cool for 5 min and then unmould.

Other notes :- 
Take care not to open the cover while steaming before 10min. If you do the fluffed up idlis might spring back and you will get hard idlis.
Make sure the batter is of pouring consistency not too loose and not too thick. If its too thick then idlis will be harder, in that case try reducing the steam time by a minute.
Unmould with a wet knife by running the knife underneath the idlis. 
Serve hot with chutney or sambhar of your choice.

Additional time may be required in winter to achieve desired fermentation. I will generally use my gas oven, warming it by keeping the light on.
I was amazed to discover that these idlis are so similar to the ones made from stone-ground idli batter. Now i do not need to buy $300 worth stone grinder for sometime at least. And BTW I would strongly advice to put in the boiled rice paste since it gives the yeast something to much on and the batter ferments faster.

Now onto the chutney recipe.

South Indian Green Chutney
(Inspired from this recipe)
2C of cilantro washed and coursely chopped
1 green chilly or more for a spicier version
handful of roasted peanuts
salt to taste

Blend the above until you get a thick paste
To this paste add 1/2C of thick coconut milk. And blend again. Transfer to a bowl and prepare the tempering.

For tempering :-
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad daal
1 red chilly ( optional )
a few curry leaves

Fry the above the 2 tsp of oil and add it to the above mixture. 
Add a squeeze of lemon juice. And serve.

The chutney takes on this lovely green color and has subtle taste from the roasted urad daal with the heat from the green chilly in the forefront.Goes very well with the kids and is perfect make-ahead recipe. And of course,this chutney coupled with the idlis would make a perfect picnic brunch.