Idli South Indian favorite breakfast dish
While growing up I did not like idli, I am a dosa fan. Still I prefer dosa over idli. However Amma made it occasionally especially during festival days, so Idli have been part of my life. My hubby loves Idli, so nowadays I am making it once in a week. My kids and I are in the team dosa lovers.
Idli the steamed “rice and spilt black gram” cake is one of traditional breakfast dishes of South India. It is made with rice and urad dal ( spilt black gram). According my grandma it is really healthy as it has no fat in it. When you are young who cares about fat, calories etc. I wanted only dosa at that time. Idli is one of the oldest Indian breakfast dish. According to K.T.Achaya, a food historian, ‘iddalige’, was first mentioned in a Kannada work of 920 AD, but this was made from an urad dhal batter only.
The Sanskrit Manasollasa of 1130 AD has ‘iddarika’, but again made with urad dhal flour only. There is a mention of ‘itali’ in the Tamil literature in the 17th century. The reference of modern day ldli (only after 1250 AD) is made with rice grits along with urad dhal; the long fermentation of the mix; and the steaming of the batter to fluffiness.
Achaya’s explanation is that this absence from the historical records could mean that idli is an imported concept — perhaps from Indonesia which has a long tradition of fermented products, like tempeh (fermented soy cakes), kecap (from where we get ketchup) or something called kedli, which Achaya says, is like an idli. This is plausible enough given the many links between Southeast Asia and South India, through Hindu rulers and traders.
However nowadays, there is lot of variation of idli such as rava idli which is made with semonlina, rice, all purpose flour. The saana ( Goan –Mangalore recipe) made with same ingredients as idli but along with little yeast and sugar. My next agenda is to make Saana, if it is successful I will post it in the blog.
Coming to the idli recipe, my version is same as the one I use for Dosa only variation is that I grind with slightly less water to make the batter a little thick compared to that of dosa. If you want to follow strict traditional version, then you need to grind rice little coarser than for dosa. But since I use same batter for Idli and dosa I grind the rice smooth. After fermenting the overnight I make idli for first two days. The remaining batter is used to make dosa.
I use parboiled rice, raw rice , urad dal soak them for about 5-6 hours and grind rice and dal separately and later mixed together and leave it for overnight for fermentation. Then next morning add salt and steam the idly in idly pan which has molds in it. It takes about 12 minutes to cook. Once done carefully remove from the mold and enjoy with chutney or sambar. It makes for a yummy breakfast.
Here comes the recipe.