Soft Idlis with a tangy Coconut & Yogurt Chutney.
One of the dishes that are synonymous with the cuisine from the southern part of India is “IDLIS”. It is so popular in the country that stalls selling this delicacy pop up on the roads seemingly out of nowhere. The reason for that is simple; these soft fluffy pillows of steamed goodness are simply delicious. You may dip them in sambar or lather them with chutneys, but the end result is always a clean plate and a very happy tummy!!!
This has been a very rough week for me. Pretty much every day of the week felt like a 15-hour workday. So when the weekend rolled around I felt the perfect way for me to unwind would be to make something that was a comfort food for me growing up, “IDLIS”. Even though my family is not from southern India, these idlis were a staple in our house and bring back fond memories of my childhood.
One such memory was of a typical Sunday morning breakfast, which usually consisted of idlis and a delectable coconut chutney. I simply sat in front of the TV gobbling up these treats while mom happily kept on bringing them to me in bunches till I could eat no more. Once I was stuffed with idlis and in a good mood, mom used to always be like “ Rahul, can you clean up your room for me OR can you go down to the store and get me something?? Like an obedient little puppy I just could not bring myself to say no.. It has been said that the road to a person’s heart goes through his stomach and mom always used this fact to get me to do chores around the house. I always knew it was coming but I was powerless to stop it.
This is my mom’s time-tested recipe and it got me to do a lot of chores around the house. If you can get your kids to behave the same way please do let me know!!!! (CHUCKLES)
Idlis are basically savory cakes made by steaming a fermented batter of lentils and rice. They are somewhat time-consuming to make but the time spent is well worth the end result.
Rinse and soak rice in enough water for 6 hours.I used the long grain rice that I had in the pantry and it worked wonderfully. Similarly soak a mixture of black gram and fenugreek seeds separately. Drain the water and blend black gram and fenugreek seeds to make a fine paste using very little water. Set aside.
Next, grind the rice similarly to make a fine paste. Once the rice is completely ground, add cooked rice and grind again.This is a neat trick to get soft idlis. Mix the two pastes to form the idli batter. Season with salt & leave the batter to ferment overnight in a warm place.
The batter will double its size the next day. Mix gently. Heat the pressure cooker/steamer with some water over medium heat and cover with a lid. Ensure the water does not touch the idli plates. Grease the idli moulds with oil and fill with idli batter and steam for about 15 mins or untill done.
Allow the idlis to cool and take them out with a spoon/small knife. At this time I felt that if these idlis were big enough I would have just rested my head on them and slept all day!!!. But I get to do the next best thing i.e to eat them. So I am not complaining!!!!!
The only thing left to do is to make that delectable coconut chutney. I changed the recipe and made it with yogurt instead of water which gave it a nice creamy texture.
In a grinder add coconut, coriander, jalapeno, garlic and yogurt. Grind to the desired consistency. I made a thick chutney. If you want to make yours thin then add more yogurt. Remove the mixture in a bowl. Then dry roast cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the hot tempering to above mixture. Add salt and mix well.
WARNING!!!! This combination is so good that you will not realise how many idlis you ate untill your stomach is full. I could do about 15-20 idlis on any given day. But if that number is too low then please do let me know!!!! (Laughs….)
- The quantity of the rice should be double that of the lentils.
- Use very little water to make the rice and urad dal pastes. The idli batter should be on the thicker side.
- Adding cooked rice/flattened rice gives extra-soft idlis.
- For fermentation keep the batter in a warm place. I kept mine in one of my kitchen shelves and it worked out ok.
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- 1 cup Rice
- ½ cup Black gram/ Whole Urad Dal
- ¼ cup Cooked Rice
- ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds/ Methi
- Salt to taste
- Water as required
- Oil to grease the idli moulds
- 2 cup Grated Coconut
- 1½ cup Yogurt
- ½ cup Coriander
- 1 Jalapeno OR 3 Green Chillies
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 5 Curry Leaves
- Salt to taste
- Rinse and soak rice in enough water for 6 hours.
- Similarly soak a mixture of black gram and fenugreek seeds separately for 6 hours.
- Drain the water and blend black gram and fenugreek seeds to make a fine paste by adding very little water. Set aside.
- Similarly grind rice to make a fine paste. Once the rice is completely ground, add cooked rice and grind again.
- Mix the above two pastes to form the idli batter.
- Season with salt and ferment the batter overnight in a warm place.
- The batter will double its size the next day. Mix gently.
- Heat the pressure cooker/steamer with some water over medium heat and cover with a lid. Ensure the water does not touch the idli moulds.
- Grease the idli moulds with oil and fill with idli batter. Cover and steam for about 15 minutes or till done
- Allow the idli to cool and take them out with a spoon/small knife.
- Serve them with chutney.
- In a grinder add coconut, coriander, jalapeno/green chili, garlic and yogurt. Grind to make a smooth paste.Remove the mixture in a bowl.
- Dry roast cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves in a small pan.
- Add the tempering to the above chutney and season with salt.