I’ve been lucky getting bread dough to rise, appam batter to ferment and milk to curdle enough to make paneer. But I haven’t had any luck making idlies from scratch. I have tried everything. The oven light method was an absolute fail. The fenugreek seeds just made the batter smell bad and placing the mixing bowl on a bed of rock salt only wasted said salt.
So one day, I was hankering for idlies, when I thought about my lovely mother in law. She made dhokla the last time she was here, and whilst not exactly like idlies, I thought I could use the science behind it. I searched for a dhokla recipe and found Bhavna’s Instant Khatta Dhokla recipe on you tube.
Based on Bhavna’s recipe, I made up my own instant idli mix.
You’ll need the following for 8 idlies (or 6 huge idlies):
1/2 cup rice rava (rinse in water, let rava settle and then carefully pour the water away. Repeat this process twice for really white idlies).
1/4 cup urad dhal flour
2 tablespoon yogurt
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Citric acid
1/2 teaspoon Bi carb soda
A couple of teaspoons of flavourless Eno fruit salt (One pinch per batch – see method to make sense of this)
If you don’t have an idli cooker, or are feeling incredibly lazy, just grease a silver tray or plate, pour all the batter in and steam for about 20 minutes until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cut into pieces and serve.
I did have an idli cooker, but I found that the trays were too close to each other when stacked up, so when the idli’s rose, they would get stuck on the bottom of the tray above. I love my idlies fat and fluffy. So I’ve gotten rid of my cooker and steam one tray at a time. I heat water in a sauce pan and use a plate or bowl as a stand for my idli tray. Place my tray on top, place the saucepan lid back on and steam away.
Here’s a picture of my idli set-up: