Idli is one of the breakfast which was prepared in my home more frequently in my childhood. My amma considered this as the easiest breakfast which she could make during her busy morning hours. She used to prepare batter for two to three days and then refrigerate so that she could make dosas in the evenings . Now me also in her route, I am also preparing bulk quantities so that I can make dosa or idli whenever needed.
We can keep this batter in refrigerator for four to five days. But a few things should keep in mind. Do not put salt in the whole batter. Add salt at every time in the required quantity only. Also, give a nice stir before transfer as the upper portion of the batter will have more lentil than the lower portion. Otherwise, the last batches will give hard idli or dosa.
Even if we refrigerate batter, it will ferment as time moves and will turn sour. In order to retain its taste, mix one or two teaspoons of rice flour or all purpose flour (maida) and cook after half an hour. You will get the same taste just like the first batches..
Factors affecting fermentation : So many factors affect fermentation, such as
Climate: You might have noticed that in summer fermentation occurs very fast and give perfect stuff, but in winter it is delayed. There are certain tricks to aid fermentation in winter. Covering the bowl with a woolen shawl, keeping the batter in microwave with the lights on, and immersing the batter in a bowl of hot water are some of the tricks to speed up the fermentation in winter.
Air tight lid: Never keep the batter in airtight containers, because aerobic fermentation is occurring here, so always cover with a loose lid.
Fenugreek seeds (Uluva or methi seeds): Use of fenugreek seeds will also aid fermentation, but use of this is not compulsory, my mom making soft spongy idlies without fenugreek seeds. In the beginning, I also did the same. But now I will definitely recommend you to u use fenugreek seeds as it also alters the texture and taste.
Water content: The batter should be semi-thick in consistency (neither thick nor thin). The amount of water used will also affect fermentation and the softness of the end product. So first pour water just enough to grind the rice and lentil, then adjust at the end.
Quality of ingredients: Always try to use good quality ingredients, old products will not give expected outcome.
The rice- lentil ratio: The rice and lentil ratio is also important. I used 3:1 ratio, but sometimes, 2:1 and 4: 1 ratios will also work good. I think, the ratio depends on the brands of ingredients we use. So I will suggest you to do experiments with different proportions and make yours own perfect ratio.
Softening agents: Parboiled rice (puzhukkalari), rice flakes (aval) and cooked rice (choru) can be used as softening agents. If you are using parboiled rice, soak along with raw rice.
Artificial agents : Baking soda or cooking soda can be used to soften the idlies. You can add one or two teaspoons of fermented batter to enhance fermentation.
Also, you can use either mixer grinder or wet grinder to make the batter. If the mixer is too hot, switch off it for a while, let it cool and then grind again. If the batter became too hot, the idlies will turn hard.
IdliAuthor: Anju Aneesh
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: India, South India
Preparation time: 12 hours ( 4 hours soaking time and 8 hours fermation time)| Cooking time: 10 minutes | Total time: 12 hours 5 minutes
Direction of preparation of Idli
Step by Step
- Soak black gram(uzhunnu or urad dal), Idli rice and fenugreek seeds separately for 4 to 5 hours. Wash thoroughly before soaking. The black gram (uzhunnu) will absorb all the water, turns softer and also will be double in volume.
- Take black gram or uzhunnu in a wet grinder or mixer.
- Add fenugreek seeds also.
- Add water just enough to grind. I am using standard measuring cups and here, for 1 cup of rice I used 1 1/2 cups of water. Never add too much water, we need a semi-thick batter.
- Grind till smooth.
- The batter should be smooth and fluffy and also will be double in volume.
- Transfer into another container and keep aside.
- Then grind idli rice along with cooked rice with 1 1/2 cup of water.
- Coarsely grind the idli rice.
- Mix this with previously made black gram paste and mix well.
- Let it stand over night at room temperature, till ferment and raise.
- Next day, take required quantity of batter in a small bowl and mix enough salt and keep aside.
- Grease idli moulds and pour batter batter in the moulds. Place in idli steamer and steam for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Check by inserting a toothpick. If it does not comes out clean, cook for a few more minutes. Remove idlis with a wet spoon when cool down slightly.
- Serve with chutney or samabar.