The evergreen breakfast in most homes is a novelty at mine! That’s because my hubby isn’t too fond of it and rarely agrees to have this combo for breakfast/ brunch. So on the day when he finally agrees to have some for the weekend, I go all out in making this combo extra special☺️
There are no tricks to making a perfect Idli (lentil cake) if you ask me….it’s the climate that plays the most important role. Warmer the climate, obviously, better the fermentation resulting in soft, moist & super spongy Idlis 😋 Besides, softer the Idlis, the more Sambhar (South Indian style spiced lentil curry) they soak up!!! Sluuurrppp!
I have used my Mom’s recipe for both, Idli & Sambhar…along with her lip-smacking, easy-peasy green Coconut Chutney🤓 I must confess…this Sambhar is the closest to a traditional tiffin/ Udupi style Sambhar that I have ever had at home. Robust flavours accompanied by the tang from tamarind makes it super yum!
Let’s get going with the recipe…..I have shared a few tips in the method given below.
Yield: makes 15-18 small Idli
Equipment: 2 bowls, 2 lids, blender, measuring cups/ spoons, butter knife.
1 cup split White urad dal (white lentils)
1 cup rice (I used Basmati)
2 cup boiled rice
1/2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Oil for greasing as needed
Wash the urad dal first. Rinse it at least twice under running water. Soak it with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours.
Follow the same step for the two kinds of rice. Soak them together with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours. Also, add the methi when soaking the rice.
Once the dal and the rice have soaked well, grind them seperately. The dal, when ground must be smooth. Do not add too much water while grinding it.
Follow the same step for grinding the soaked rice with methi. However, the texture of rice when ground will be slightly grainy. Do not add too much water while grinding them.
Next, mix the ground dal and rice together in a large bowl. You can add a bit of water (I added approximately 1/2 cup) if they seem too thick after mixing. Do not add salt yet. Once these two are mixed well, cover the bowl with a lid and set it aside in a warm place to ferment overnight. Since the climate here is very hot & humid, the mixture fermented very well…almost overflowed from the bowl by next morning.
You can place the bowl in the oven with its light on to ferment overnight if the climate in your part of the world isn’t very hot. Do not touch the mixture or disturb the process of fermentation.
What I usually do is, soak the rice & dal in the morning around 11am, it’s soaked really well by 6pm. That’s when I grind & mix them. That way the mixture ferments for almost 12-13 hours for breakfast the next morning! It always works for me, I don’t add ENO or any other fruit salt to make the Idlis soft and spongy. The fermentation is the only key here.
Now that the batter is ready…what remains is making the Idlis! Keep about 1 cup water in the idli steamer/ pressure cooker to boil. In the meantime prepare the idli plates…grease each depression with some oil. Season the batter with salt and mix well. Pour about 2-3 tbsp of the batter in each greased depression. Steam these in the pressure cooker/ idli steamer for 10-12 mins. Once done, gently remove the idli plate stand from the cooker/ steamer. Let it cool for a few mins.
Now, a big pressure point for me is usually to unmould each Idli intact. A little tip here which I picked up from my Mom…
Take a bowl of water. Use your butter knife. Dip the butter knife in the bowl of water. Then gently run it around the idli and the idli will come off the plate intact! Dip the butter knife in water for each idli. Foolproof way to get those perfectly intact Idlis!! Those are your Idlis done😁 you can serve them with Coconut Chutney.
Yield: serves 2
Equipment: a pressure cooker, a small pan, measuring cups/ spoons, a ladle.
3/4 cup tuar/ arhar dal (skinned & split pigeon peas)
2+1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup cubed lauki (bottle gourd, one can add more veggies of your choice)
1/4 cup tamarind pulp
1/2 tsp grated jaggery
2 tsp sambhar pwd (I use MTR)
6-7 curry leaves
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
2-3 whole ber mirchi
A few curry leaves
Wash and soak the dal for 30 mins. Add the soaked dal in the pressure cooker with water, salt, turmeric pwd. Add the tomatoes, curry leaves, onions & bottle gourd too. Cook them together in the pressure for 2-3 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening the lid. The dal & the veggies must be soft & mushy by now. You can add some water to correct the consistency if needed and boil the dal for about 2-3 mins.
Next, add sambhar pwd and grated jaggery to the tamarind pulp and mix well. Add this mixture to the cooked dal & veggies. Stir well and boil the sambhar for 3-4 mins.
Now to temper the sambhar, heat oil in a small pan. Add all the ingredients listed above ‘for tempering’ to the hot oil and let them splatter for about 2 mins. Add this tempering to the boiled sambhar and mix well. Cover with a lid for a few mins. Serve piping hot with Idli/ Dosa/ boiled rice.
I simply love these….and the combo is to die for!! Do try once.