Saturday, October 19, 2013

Idli - Sambar - Chutney & Chutney powder... a sure winner on the breakfast table

Something that no South Indian can do without..

This is gonna be a long post, just because there are so many accompaniments to this super healthy breakfast. You can enjoy it by soaking idlis in sambar or with coconut chutney or even with chutney powder mixed with some coconut oil.

The art of Idli making


Idli rice - 2 cups
Urid dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Boiled rice - 3/4 cup
Salt - as per taste

Soaking, Grinding & Fermenting

Wash rice and fenugreek seeds and soak for atleast 6 hrs.
Wash urid dal and soak for atleast 6 hrs.

After the specified time, drain water from both rice and urid dal. In the big jar of mixie, add urid dal and water (water should be just enough to cover dal) and 2 ice cubes. Grind till it forms a thick paste. You'll have to stop the mixie in between to avoid mixie getting heated up (Important note - we are adding ice cubes to avoid heating up. If the batter is heated up, it gives a very unpleasant taste). Once you get a thick, smooth dal paste, remove the contents to a large bowl.

Now to the same mixie, add drained rice, fenugreek seeds and boiled rice. You'll have to grind it in 2 batches as most mixies do not take so much load in one go. Add about 1 cup of water (it should not be above half of the rice content) and also add 2-3 ice cubes. Grind (stopping in between) till you get a smooth paste. Empty the contents into same bowl where you put dal paste.

Mix well with your hands (yes..your hands have got the essential natural yeast that helps in fermenting). Add little more water if required. The batter should not be free flowing when lift and pour with a ladle. Also it should not be very thick that it doesn't fall from the ladle...the consistency should be somewhere in between. As per my aunt, it should be "murinju veezhunna paakam".

Close the bowl with lid and keep the batter in a warm place for atleast 8 -10 hours. After that, gently mix the batter with a ladle and add enough salt. Mix well.

Tips - During winter its difficult to get the batter fermented in 8 or 10 hours. Here is what I do in such emergencies.
- In a big bowl (bigger than the vessel in which batter is kept), pour some boiling water and slowly immerse the bowl with batter into this. Keep it overnight.
- Or keep the bowl with batter inside the rice cooker (I use chaksons).

Making Idlis

Pour enough water to the base vessel and let it boil well (there should be enough steam before idli thattu is kept).

Grease the idli thattu or impressions with some coconut oil (I have seen in most households they use gingely oil for greasing. However I recently happened to read in a naturopathy magazine that gingely oil and fermented dal are not matching food or they are virudha aharam. Ever since I have been using coconut oil). Pour a ladle of batter into each impressions and place in the base vessel. Cover with lid.

Let it be on high flame for 5 min. After that reduce the flame and let idlis get cooked well for another 8 to 10 minutes. After that switch off the stove and remove the idli thattu so that they cool down. If you want to remove idlis immediately, turn the idli thattu upside down and hold it under running water for sometime. After that wait for a minute and then slowly remove the idlis.

Idli - Sambar

You can get the sambar recipe from here. Enjoy the sambar dipped idlis.

Coconut chutney

For grinding
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Small onion - 2-3
Green chilly - 1 or 1/2 tsp chilly powder [gives different colour]
Salt - as per taste
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Tamarind - a very small piece [just enough to get a tangy taste]

Grind all of the above in the small jar of the mixie along with half cup of water

Small onion - 1, thinly sliced
Dried chilly - 1
Curry leaves - 3-4
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil - 1 tsp

In a small kadai, add oil. Crackle mustard seeds. Add small onion, dried chilly and curry leaves. Saute till the onions turn light brown and crispy. Now add the ground coconut mixture. Add little more water if needed. Adjust the taste and serve with hot idlis.

Chutney powder 

Urid dal - 1 cup
Channa dal - 1/3 cup
Curry leaves - you can add this as per taste. I normally use a lot as this is the only way I can make my small ones eat curry leaves which is really good for health. I take 1 full bunch of curry leaves)
Raw red rice (kuthari) - 1 tbsp
Peppercorns - 2 tsp
Dried chilly - 6-8 or as per taste
Salt - as per taste
Asafoetida - 1 tsp

Dry roast each item separately. For ease, may be you roast urid dal, dried chilly, peppercorns & curry leaves together. Rest (except salt and asafoetida) should be done separately as each of them takes different time to get roasted. Stir continuously and care should be taken not to burn them.

Spread the roasted items on a newspaper or steel plate and let them cool. Mix them up and grind it in the small jar of mixie along with salt and asafoetida to get a coarse powder. Empty the powder to newspaper and let it cool. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container for storage.

Along with idlis
Take 1 tsp of chutney powder and mix it with 1 tbsp of coconut oil and mix well. You can have it with idlis now.

Note - Most people have it with gingely oil. But after getting to know that gingely oil and fermented urid dal is virudha-aharam, I started using coconut oil and it tastes delicious!

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