My parents, my sis, my grandparents and I had gone on a South India tour when I was a kid. It was a long tour, about a week or so I guess. We stayed at hotels at night and travelled and saw places during the day. One of the things I distinctly remember about this trip is breakfast at the hotels. There were so many things that smelt so good and looked even better. I remember I was so tempted to have the big, hot, puffed up puri (deep fried Indian bread) that the people at the next table were having. But mum always said 'eat idlies first and then you can have the puri' and I wrinkled my nose at the plain, dull idlies. Mum was smart, she wanted me to have the healthy, steamed breakfast and not the oily alternative and she knew that my tiny stomach would be full with a couple of idlies! So, there, a promise that was not quite met :-)
Idli - steamed rice and lentil cakes. I guess I wouldn't be wrong if I said it is the one thing most children (and some adults, ahem) would gladly swap for anything else for breakfast! Not one of the favourites exactly, but truly one of the most popular on the Bangalore Breakfast menu. Every restaurant in India that serves South Indian food will definitely have this on their menu. It is served with hot steaming sambhar and coconut chutney and to most people the only appealing factor may be the crispy vadas that accompany it!
But I have to admit, I graduated from my days as a kid into a sensible woman who actually liked idlies as they were healthy and apparently low fat, wow! M, on the other hand, is still the fussy kid when it comes to these humble white fluffies :-)
Still, I made idlies for breakfast yesterday and he gladly ate them, for several reasons maybe - the sambhar was yummy. there was chutney and he was really hungry, period! I did not make vadas though, will make them some time soon.
The recipe as my mom-in-law taught me, who by the way, makes the softest, fluffiest idlies :-)
- 4 measures of uncooked rice
- 1 measure of urad dal (white, split lentils)
- salt to taste
Grind, again separately, into a very smooth batter. A wet grinder works the best, but a food processor/blender/mixer will do the job as well. Be wary of adding too much water while grinding. The batter should be pourable, but not too runny either. A little stiffer than dosa batter, if you know what I mean...
Mix both the batters well in a large container, add salt to taste and leave overnight or for about 8 hours to ferment. Leave the container in a warm place, if possible. Once fermented, the batter should be risen, light and fluffy. This will ensure your idlies turn out soft and fluffy.
Now, grease the idli moulds and pour in the batter. Steam in an idli maker, microwave or a pressure cooker (without the weight). The cooking time will depend on the method you choose. I usually steam mine in a pressure cooker and it takes about 10 - 15 minutes.
Serve hot with sambhar and coconut chutney. I will post the recipe for sambhar soon...
Try this legendary Bangalore Breakfast, but without the prejudice, let's give the idli a fair chance to win!