Friday, November 18, 2011

Idli and Sambhar

Mini Idlis
Idli is a savoury fermented steamed dumpling made of rice. Another one of the popular breakfast dishes from southern states of India, idli makes for an excellent lunch in our house. Since the batter is left for several hours in a hot place to rise, these dumplings come out very soft and are easy to digest. These melt - in - your - mouth idlis taste even more amazing with coconut chutney and sambhar. Sometimes they are served with gun-powder mixed with ghee. There are several variations possible such as masala idli where you spice up the batter before cooking, rava idlis where you use suji instead of rice, vegetable idlis where you can add some veges to the batter before steaming. 
To get this disc shape you have to use an idli mould. If you don't have one you can steam the batter in a flat dish and then cut it into squares or wedges. They taste equally delish.

Masala Idli
Masala Idli
Ingredients: (Makes about 28-32)
1 cup Urad Dal dehusked
2 cups Rice suji (rice in very small pieces)
1tbsp instant yeast (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
sprig of curry leaves
2 tbsp chana Dal (soaked)
2-3 tbsp cashews in small pieces
  • Soak Dal and rice separately overnight.
  • Grind Dal in a wet grinder using minimum amount of water, into a fine paste.
  • Strain soaked rice and add the rice to the Dal paste. Heat the reserved water to lukewarm(not hot) to make a smooth batter of thick pourable consistency (like pancakes). 
  • Add 1 tsp salt and yeast and mix well. If you live in a warm climate then yeast is not needed. In cold areas it helps rise the batter.
  • Cover the container and put it in a warm place for 6-8 hours minimum or overnight if required till the batter rises to double its volume. 
  • To cook the idlis use a deep container and add an inch or two of water in it. Keep it for boiling. 
  • Meanwhile add the rest of the ingredients to the batter and stir it just enough to incorporate these. If you stir too vigorously you stand a risk of removing air bubbles from the risen batter.
  • Spray your mold with some oil and spoon the batter.
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil lower the mold in it and cover the lid. 
  • Cook at a medium high heat for 12-15 minutes till cooked thru. 
  • Let idlis stand for 2 minutes before removing them from the mold. 
  • Serve with coconut chutney, gunpowder and/or sambhar.

1 tsp oil
2 red onions thinly sliced 
1 cup arhar dal washed
4 cups water
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp sambhar masala (see recipe below or use readymade)
2 inch cube tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup water for 20-30 minutes
Vegetables (optional)
2 chopped tomatoes
10 lady fingers or okra split into two lengthwise
10 green beans split into two
few drumsticks 
3-4 small eggplants quartered
2 tsp oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
pinch asafoetida
a sprig of curry leaves
3-5 whole red chillies
  • In a pressure cooker take oil and fry onions till soft and pink. Do not brown.
  • Add dal and water along with salt and turmeric.
  • Pressure cook on high till the whistle, then cook on low for 15 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker then boil till soft.
  • Extract the tamarind pulp and keep aside. 
  • Add the cut vegetables to the cooked dal along with sambhar masala. Cook on medium heat till all the veges are cooked through. 
  • Now add tamarind pulp and boil for a few minutes. During this time add more water if needed and adjust salt. Sambhar should be drinkable consistency.
  • Take away from flame and temper using all the baghar ingredients.
  • Serve steaming hot with idlis, uttapams, dosa or plain rice.
Sambhar Masala
3 tsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Black peppercorns
3-4 Whole red chillies
pinch Asafoetida
1 tsp Bengal gram 
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp dry curry leaves
  • Dry roast all the ingredients till aromatic and brown.
  • Dry grind these to a fine powder.
  • Cool and store in an air tight container.

No comments:

Post a Comment