Idli – sambar – chutney

This week I am going to post some of the very basic recipes. So these posts are here to help newbie cooks in some small way. These will have more details than the normal posts to make cooking easy for newbies. Idli is one thing that I didn’t get right so many times. After continued efforts and focus, finally I am proud to say I can prepare good, soft yummy idlis.

I have seen in most of non-Konkani homes, idli is usually served with both sambar and chutney. But in Konkani homes(atleast in those which I have seen), it is served either with sambar or chutney. At my home, aayi would prepare both to keep the house calm. I liked sambar and my brother liked chutney, if one of these was not prepared, we would start fighting. So it became a habit and now we want sambar and chutney both with idlis (I think this is the difficulty of having two kids :D).

Idlis

Ingredients:
1 cup urad dal
2 cups idli rava (rice sooji) or 2 cups rice
Salt

PS: Idli rava, also called as rice rava or rice sooji, is available in market with the name “Idli rava(Cream of rice)”.

If idly rava is not available, use 2 cups of rice instead. Soak rice for around 4-5 hrs. Then let the water go by spreading it on cloth for around 30mins. When all water is gone, grind(without any water) to a coarse powder (of coarse sand consistency).

Method:
Soak dal for around 4-5 hours.
Grind it to a very smooth paste (Do not add too much water, just add as much as needed). Touch the batter and no pieces of dal should be felt. The more it is ground, the better. Once it is ground very soft, some bubbles can be found on the surface, the more the bubbles, the better is the batter.
Wash the rava with water(if rava is prepared at home, no need to wash it again) and grind it for 5-6 seconds, do not grind more than that, just to make the rava a bit fine. Some people, do not grind the rava, but most of the times the ready made rava is too coarse and grinding it makes the idlis turn out softer.
If you have more time in hand, grind the dal previous day afternoon and mix the rava in the night. Add salt and mix well (When dal is completely gound, the rava can be added to mixer and ground 5-6 seconds as explained earlier to speed up the process. But make sure the dal is completely ground before adding the rava).
Keep the batter in a warm place overnight. I keep it on warm gas stove, after all the cooking is been finished.

Check in the morning if the batter is fermented. The volume would have increased. If it looks same as the previous day, it is better not to steam it, the idlis become like stone and everything has to be discarded. Instead make some dosas with the batter. There is no point in keeping it for one more night, because the idlis would become sour.
Grease the idli stand with oil (I do not grease the idli stand. Still I can easily remove them once they are steamed). Steam them for around 10mins (if using cooker, do not use the weight). Leave it for around 5-10mins before opening the steamer/cooker (or else, the steam falls on idlis and make them mushy).

Few more tips:
- If you are on a higher altitude(mountain regions) and the idlis are not coming out as expected, try using dal, rice rava in 1:3(1 dal 3 rava) proportion. This is the tip I got from Manisha while talking to her a few days back. Read Manisha’s comment below for more details.
- If the batter becomes too thick or too watery, the idlis might not come as expected. Do a bit of trial and error to know the correct consistency.
- If nothing works, try using dal:rava in 1:1 proportion, this was the tip I got from few people when I was not getting the proper idlis.
- Sudha has mentioned a nice way to speed up fermentation.
- Add a little cooked rice (say 1-2 tbsps) while grinding urad dal (once the urad dal is ground finely)in order to make the idlis softer & fluffier (Thanks Suchita for the tip).

Sambar

Ingredients:
3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup onion
1/4 cup tomato
1/4 cup potato
1 tea spn sambar powder
A pinch turmeric
Oil
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
A pinch asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
2-3 strands coriander leaves
Salt

I prefer the homemade sambar powder for this as it has more aroma and once prepared the powder remains good for months in an airtight container (I still have the powder which my mom gave me while coming here, ie 8 months back).

Method:
Cook toor dal with turmeric. Cook potato, tomato and onion separately, I mean do not mix them with dal while cooking. (If you have the cooker vessels, use the down one for the dal and the upper one for vegetables. This way the dal cooks faster than the vegetables). Around 3-4 whistles are enough in cooker. (If using microwave, cook both separately one after the other).
Mash the dal with a spoon. Add the vegetables to dal and add sufficient water (this sambar tastes good when the dal is cooked well and mashed well).
Heat the dal, vegetables mixture. Add salt. When it starts boiling, add the sambar powder (Do not hold the entire packet of sambar powder on boiling sambar. The steam gets into the packet and the powder gets spoiled. So use spoon to take out the powder away from the boiling sambar and then add the powder). Add the chopped coriander leaves and cook for 2-3mins.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add asafoetida and curry leaves (tear the curry leaves into two to increase the aroma). Add this seasoning to Sambar and immediately close the lid.

Chutney:

Prepare the chutney as explained here.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 45mins

Now that the basics are right, check out Asha‘s experiments with idlis. Some more idli posts by Sailu, Shammi, Revathi, Sudha , Shynee, RP, MenuToday(if there are any more, please leave the link in the comment and I will update the post).

143 Comments

  1. vineela August 28, 2006
  2. sudhavinodh August 28, 2006
  3. Aruna Pai August 28, 2006
  4. Suchita August 28, 2006
  5. Vaishali August 29, 2006
  6. shynee August 29, 2006
  7. Shilpa August 29, 2006
  8. Manisha August 29, 2006
  9. shaheen August 29, 2006
  10. Linda August 29, 2006
  11. Shilpa August 30, 2006
  12. Vidya September 20, 2006
  13. Shilpa September 20, 2006
  14. ameeta September 20, 2006
  15. Shilpa September 20, 2006
  16. Shaheen September 30, 2006
  17. sabita April 4, 2007
  18. Shilpa April 6, 2007
  19. sabita April 6, 2007
  20. saraswathi April 11, 2007
  21. Lavanya May 21, 2007
  22. gopi July 20, 2007
  23. gopi July 20, 2007
  24. Latha July 23, 2007
  25. roshni August 30, 2007
  26. deepti October 18, 2007
  27. harini October 29, 2007
  28. harini November 2, 2007
  29. shilpa December 12, 2007
  30. sowmya venkatesh December 16, 2007
  31. farhath December 18, 2007
  32. aruna December 18, 2007
  33. K.Boy December 19, 2007
  34. abi December 30, 2007
  35. asra January 2, 2008
  36. Kavita January 11, 2008
  37. Clarence February 2, 2008
  38. kala April 26, 2008
  39. sumita May 18, 2008
  40. neena May 28, 2008
  41. Roopa June 7, 2008
  42. UTHARA June 18, 2008
  43. kaku prem June 25, 2008
  44. kaku prem June 25, 2008
  45. dhanya July 9, 2008
  46. Sudhamathi August 7, 2008
  47. Ashish September 2, 2008
  48. Niru Gupta October 5, 2008
  49. CONNIE October 17, 2008
  50. nitya November 7, 2008
    • rhett May 1, 2011
  51. Randolph December 2, 2008
  52. Pinky December 6, 2008
  53. ushapriya December 7, 2008
  54. sharmila January 2, 2009
    • Ruby April 27, 2011
  55. sri January 9, 2009
  56. ushapriya January 17, 2009
  57. sujatha February 1, 2009
  58. padmini March 23, 2009
  59. Padmavathy May 16, 2009
    • seema January 18, 2013
  60. Naveena June 4, 2009
    • Leyla December 31, 2012
  61. preeti June 6, 2009
  62. sanya June 9, 2009
  63. kanchana June 10, 2009
  64. Bussy Paul June 11, 2009
  65. muna June 26, 2009
  66. Narasimhan June 28, 2009
  67. Shilpa July 17, 2009
  68. Rajesh July 26, 2009
  69. jyothi shanbhag August 16, 2009
  70. shabana November 25, 2009
    • Shilpa November 25, 2009
  71. Om December 8, 2009
  72. vaidu December 9, 2009
  73. prathusha January 7, 2010
  74. pinky.a January 7, 2010
  75. Savita January 26, 2010
  76. anusha March 1, 2010
    • Shilpa March 1, 2010
    • lakshmi March 24, 2011
  77. Jyothi Mcminn March 24, 2010
  78. vbg March 24, 2010
    • Shilpa March 24, 2010
  79. vbg March 24, 2010
  80. Rohini April 26, 2010
  81. akshay June 15, 2010
  82. akshay June 15, 2010
    • lakshmi March 24, 2011
  83. Leens August 5, 2010
    • Shilpa August 6, 2010
  84. payal August 14, 2010
    • Shilpa August 14, 2010
  85. Veena Kuwait August 16, 2010
  86. Anj September 22, 2010
  87. manjula October 10, 2010
  88. yogeswary December 1, 2010
  89. Usharani January 4, 2011
  90. Rashida January 4, 2011
    • Shilpa January 4, 2011
  91. Laxmi January 5, 2011
  92. Archana January 16, 2011
  93. Arathi January 19, 2011
  94. Arathi January 19, 2011
  95. maem February 21, 2011
  96. Shital V April 5, 2011
  97. Ruby April 27, 2011
  98. lisa May 4, 2011
  99. shaheen syed May 6, 2011
  100. shaheen syed May 6, 2011
  101. niru June 27, 2011
  102. tanvi July 3, 2011
  103. govind July 29, 2011
  104. Rasika September 14, 2011
  105. Sumit October 5, 2011
    • komal December 29, 2011
  106. ruchita November 1, 2011
  107. Ramesh December 4, 2011
    • Shilpa December 4, 2011
  108. May December 10, 2011
    • Varsha November 30, 2012
  109. monika tuli December 24, 2011
  110. shabnam December 28, 2011
  111. Supriya@finediningindian January 19, 2012
  112. Durga February 29, 2012
  113. Nandita Satyamurthy March 5, 2012
  114. Seema March 15, 2012
  115. shruti singh June 24, 2012
  116. Kaleena July 16, 2012
  117. sangeeta upadhyay July 28, 2012
  118. Varsha November 30, 2012
    • Shilpa November 30, 2012
  119. smitha shenoy May 8, 2013
    • Shilpa May 8, 2013
  120. Anitha November 17, 2013
  121. Paul Manthe February 1, 2014
    • Shilpa February 2, 2014
  122. Mrs Sonali Pandit July 6, 2014
    • Shilpa July 6, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *