Thursday, 2 May 2013

MM Mithaiwala - Idli recipe


Preparation time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes ~ 30 idlis

1 cup of whole, skinned urad dal / ulutham paruppu / uzhunnu parippu
4 cups of idli rice


1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Soak in enough water to cover it by 3 inches and leave aside for 3-4 hours.

2. Once the rice has been soaking for 2.5 to 3 hours, wash the urad dal and soak it for 30 mins or so. Amma tells me soaking urad dal for too long is not necessary and it may lose its "potency". Make sure there's enough water for it to absorb and swell - the urad dal requires more water than the rice.
3. Wash and prepare your grinder. Add the soaked urad dal...... and a generous amount of water to get it started. I usually add about 1 cup and see how that goes but this will totally depend on the quality of urad dal you use. My recurrent mistake was always not adding enough water to grind the urad dal. It will take about 15 mins for the urad dal to be ground smooth. When you take a little batter and rub between fingers, it should be smooth and flowy. As the urad dal grinds, it will rise and turn fluffy. This is perfect.
4. Transfer the urad dal batter to a large enough container and set aside. You don't have to wipe the grinder clean of the batter. When you grind rice, it will automatically get 'cleaner'.
5. In goes the soaked rice next.

Rice doesn't need as much water as the dal so add about 1 to 1.5 cups and see if it gets thick as you grind. When rice grinds, it will absorb the water so test in between and keep adding water as you go, a little at a time. Grind rice to a smooth pate too and this takes me around 25 mins or so in my grinder.
6. Once done, add this to the urad dal batter and top off with some salt. Mix gently so that the rice and dal get combined well.
Set aside this batter in a container that is only filled halfway with the batter to allow room for rising during fermentation. Singapore is warm enough for us to leave it aside in the kitchen and it will ferment in about 6-8 hours. In colder places, you can either leave it inside the microwave (don't turn it on!), or inside the oven with the oven light on. This is how most people I know in the US do it.

Once fermented and risen, mix very gently to combine. The urad dal would have risen to the top leaving the heavier rice batter at the bottom so you need to mix it uniformly before making idlis.
Pour into idli molds and steam for 10-12 mins for super soft and spongy idlis.

MM Tip

You can add some fenugreek seeds / methi seeds when soaking the rice. It gives a nice fragrance to the batter.

Always use a wet spoon to remove idlis from the mould and do it after the idlis have cooled down a bit.

If your idlis are too flat, it could be due to two reasons. One, there's too much urad dal in the batter and two, the batter is too watery. 

Even if you end up adding too much urad, if your batter is thick, the idlis will be fine but too much water will create flat idlis and there's really no way to fix this. The idlis will still turn out soft in most cases though.

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Courtesy : Pinterest 

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