The Lentil Urad dal or black gram is the lentil you want to use. Back home a long time ago black gram with the skin on was what was used. Yes that would give the best kind of batter but cleaning and removing the skin before grinding is not a job that many people have time for these days. We conveniently have husked whole or split urad dal which works just fine. Using split or whole is personal preference as the quantity of batter they produce in my experience is comparable.
Place the ground batter in an oven with the light on. In about 8-10 hours the batter should rise. Once fermented mix it well and put in the refrigerator and it is good for 4 days for making idlis. Soaking the rice overnight also speeds up the fermentation process. While the lentil only requires about 20-30 minutes of soaking the rice should be soaked overnight more for the fermentation than making the rice soft enough for grinding. About 4 hours should make the rice soft enough for grinding.
|In the oven with the light on||Fermented and rising batter|
Idli Batter IngredientsAlso check Kitchen Utensils 101 - Grinder
- 3 3/4 idli rice (quantity of rice will be different if using a different rice)
- 1 cup of husked black gram dal (urad dal)
- 1 heaping tbsp of fenugreek seeds
- handful of poha/aval/flattened rice or cooked rice (optional, see Note:)
- 1-2 tsp of salt
- Note:Keep a handful poha or cooked rice handy to add to the batter if you do not have idli rice. Soak the poha with just enough water to soak it(about 10-15 minutes is sufficient). Just before adding the rice to blend add the soaked poha or cooked rice for blending.
- Wash the rice and soak it with plenty of water overnight.
- Soak the fenugreek with the rice or separately.
- About half an hour before starting the grinding process, wash and soak the lentils. I soak them overnight along with the rice because it seems to speed up the fermentation process.
- A grinder works great but a blender should work also. Grind the lentils first. Usually about 20-25 minutes of grinding is required for the lentil. Once done remove the lentil batter to the container you are going to ferment the batter in. The container should be large enough for the lentil and rice and then some for rising.
- If using poha or cooked add it now. Let the grinder run for a couple of rounds before adding the rice. Grind the rice about 30-40 minutes till the rice has been ground but do not make it completely smooth, stop grinding when there is still some texture to the rice like Cream of rice texture.
- Add salt and mix the lentil and rice batter together. Hands work best and they also I understand help in the fermentation process. Good bacteria and all that. Clean hands of course.
- Place the container in a warm place for 6-10 hours till the batter is fermented.
- Once fermented mix the batter with a ladle and store right away in the fridge.
- Grease the idli mould with spray or sesame oil.
- Pour the required amount of batter in the idli mold.
- Place the idli mould in a pressure cooker or a steaming vessel and steam for 12 minutes.
- Let steam subside and cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the idlis from the mold.