Saturday, 10 September 2011




     1)    B.T. Rice (Bombay Terminus rice / fine aged raw rice) – 500 gm.
     2)    Shelled black gram lentils (urud dal) – 200 gm.
     3)    Cooked rice – 100 gm.
     4)    Salt – 2 tea spoons

To Prepare:

          Soak the rice and the lentils separately for 3 hours. Wash them well. Put the soaked black gram lentils in a wet grinder (If you use a food processor instead of a wet grinder, the batter becomes warmer and does not perform as well as batter ground in a wet grinder. It is also harder and less tasty). Pour a little water and start grinding.

          It is good to check the batter every 10 minutes. Stir and add small quantities of water, just enough to keep on grinding smoothly. At the end of an hour or so, feel the batter with your fingers. It should be quite smooth, light and fluffy. If not, continue till it is very smooth.

          Now, transfer the batter to a 10 to 15 litres vessel, the bigger the safer. Without bothering to clean the wet grinder, tip in the soaked rice and the cooked rice. Add a little water and grind for around half an hour. Check, stir and add water if necessary every 10 minutes or so. Feel the batter with your fingers and stop grinding when the batter is slightly grainy, the consistency of fine semolina (Bombay rava).

          Remove from wet grinder and add to the earlier batter. Use a little water to clean the remains of the batter from the wet grinder and keep aside.

          Add the salt to the batter, stir and keep for 12 hrs. The ideal room temperature for the batter to rise would be 30° to 35° Celsius. If you are living in a cold place, you could place the batter in a warming box.

          The batter should have risen after 12 hrs. If the cold has interfered with the rising, you may mix 1 ½ tea spoons of baking powder as a last resort. If you live in a very hot climate, the batter may rise too much and spill over. To prevent this, you can either put a ladle in the vessel which will help the escape of the gas from the batter or you can reduce the resting time proportionately. This will also prevent the batter from souring.

To Cook:

          Use an idli cooker to make the idlis. If not available, you can use 1 inch deep plates or trays in a steamer. Pour 1 inch of water in the idli cooker and place on the stove. Grease the idli molds with coconut oil or any other cooking oil or with ghee (clarified butter). The consistency of the batter should be like that of pancake batter. Stir the batter extremely well using a ladle and pour it into the greased idli molds or plates or trays just up to the brim. Put the filled mold racks one by one into the idli cooker or alternatively the plates or trays in the steamer.

          Steam for 8 to 9 minutes in the idli cooker. Take out and check if cooked by dipping the tip of a knife in the idlis. It should come out clean. The plates and the trays in the steamer may take more time to cook. Check after 30 minutes or so and steam until well cooked. Take out and allow to cool a little. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the idli and turn upside down on large plates. Your delightful idlis are now ready to serve.



     1)    Idlis are easily digestible breakfast food with balanced carbohydrate and protein content. They can be served with saambar (recipe provided separately.) or with different chutneys, honey, clarified butter, mulakapodi and pickles.

     2)    Idlis are traditionally relished by all south Indians and are safe for convalescents and babies. Idli can also be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave or sliced and roasted with a smatter of oil in pans.

 Roasted Idlis  with mouthwatering bimbla nonché

     3)    Idli batter can also be used to make uthappam (recipe given separately)

     4)    Important: Make sure you select only aged raw rice because new rice tends to be sticky and spoils the idli. Aged rice is opaque and slightly yellowish in color whereas new rice is whiter and more transparent.

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