Sunday, August 5, 2007

Spongy Idlies (South Indian Idli)


There can never be a chettinad breakfast being served without idly .It always forms the main course in the breakfast. Chettiar ladies are always good at making soft idlies.Though simple many things has to be taken care of right from the selection of rice, soaking the ingredients, grinding ,mixing and storing the grinded batter for a few days etc etc.

Ingredients
Boiled rice-4 cups
Urad dhal(black gram) -1 cup
Fenugreek seed-1 teaspoon full

Selection of rice and urudh dhal
Boiled rice which are little fat and small in length compared to other rice will be good for idlies.In different areas they call it by different names.(Kattai vellai,Ponmani and so on).while going for urudh dhal always try to get whole white dhal which will give more dough than the broken ones. People who live abroad have no other go than to get the idly rice from the Indian stores. Remember the brand name of the rice that give good idlies and go for it the next time you buy rice for idly.

Soaking
Rice should be washed nicely and soaked at least for 2 hours. No harm will be done if rice is soaked long
Trick of making soft idlies depend much on urudh dhal soaking too.
Dhal should be soaked only for 45 minutes. Over soaking will reduce the quantity of batter
Wash the dhal nicely and pour 3 cups of water and soak. Add the fenugreek seed to the dhal Use the water in the soaked dhal for grinding. If you are not able to grind after soaking keep it in the refrigerator and take out 15 minutes before grinding.

Grinding
Grinding the dough in the grinder will always be the best. But the bachelors who won’t have grinders have to depend on the mixies.Sumeet mixie is my choice for grinding.
While grinding in the mixie urudh dhal should be grinded carefully. Never allow the jar to be heated. Ice water can be used for grinding which will help the batter to be cold. Add water 2 to 3 times and grind the dhal to a fine paste.Dont pour all the water in the beginning itself. I always find it better if the rice is also grinded to a smooth paste. But I have read in many places that rice should not become a smooth paste. Many have doubt in the order of grinding. Mostly people grind urudh dhal first since cleaning the grinder after grinding rice will be easy. I don’t think the order of grinding does any difference to the quality of idly.

Mixing the batter
Add the salt needed for the batter (for 4 cups of rice 3 table spoons of salt) in little water pour it into the batter and mix it well upside down for 5 minutes. Much depend on mixing also. Keep the batter in a big container and mix.

Storing
After mixing the batter transfer it into 2 to 3 containers .See to it that the containers are filled only three fourth the capacity. Allow space for fermenting. Ferment it by keeping outside for 6 to 8 hours according to season in tropical countries. In western countries it can be fermented in their own ways. After fermenting refrigerate it. I always find Tupperware boxes best suited for storing since it retains the consistency till the last day of use.
If the quality of urudh dhal you use is excellent then idlies will become flat. In that case reduce the amount of urudh dhal next time. If the dhal is very bad in quality or the batter is mixed to a thicker consistency idlies will become hard. In that case next time use a little more dhal .Make sure the consistency of the batter is neither too watery nor too thick.

72 comments:

Jothi said...

Very helpful explanation for beginners.

Illatharasi said...

Thank you so much Solai.... I exactly followed your way .... and my idlies were amazing... too soft and melting in mouth :)

Hats off to you!!!!
Will blog about this next week :)

Solai Chidambaram said...

Thankyou Illatharasi

Ahadha said...

Hats Off...Hats Off!Solai,
I tried some many ways but i didnt get good Idlis at all....some said u have to add baking soda then only u will get good idlis...(which is not good for my husbands health)
But i tried ur method and got good spongy idlis without adding baking soda.......
Thank You very much

kadar said...

i need ur help solai.....i used ur method and i m getting good idlis...but they r too watery(kolakola)i m adding exact quantity of water only....they r not stiff....and half the idlis r sticking to the cloth.....please help me out in how to overcome this.....

Rajat Nayar said...

Is the boiled rice same as Idli rice?

Solai Chidambaram said...

Rajat,boiled rice and idly rice are the same.

Solai Chidambaram said...

Kadar,Try reducing the amount of water added while grinding.The batter should be quite thick.Next time dont add fenugreek seeds.For me also sometimes if the quality of urudh dhal used is very good the idly gets stuck to the cloth.In that case we can avoid fenugreek seeds or use little less urudh dhal.

Brindha said...

HI SOLAI,
HATS OFF TO YOU BLOGGING SUCH NICE RECIPIES, IAM A HUGE FAN OF CHETTINAD DISHES. IAM FROM CHENNAI CURRENTLY IN USA. ACTUALLY IDLI RICE AND BOILED RICE ARE DIFFERENT. IDLI COMES REALLY GOOD WITH IDLI ARISI AND IT GIVES GOOD QUANTITY THAN PULUNGAL ARISI(BOILED RICE). MY MOM ALSO MAKES IDLI BATTER WITH 4:1 RATIO WITH RICE ,ULUNDHU AND ITS REALLY GOOD. ALSO ANOTHER TIP, AFTER FERMENTING DONT MIX THE BATTER BUT TAKE THE TOP MAAVU AND MAKE IDLI IT'LL B AWESOME. GRINDING RICE VERY NICELY WILL GIVE NICE DOSAI NOT VERY SOFT IDLI. ACTUALLY NOW IN USA WE R NOT GETTING IDLI RICE SO WE R FORCED TO USE BOILED RICE FOR IDLI. IT DOESNT COME AS GOOD AS IT DID WITH IDLI RICE :( GOING TO TRY CHANGING THE RICE ULUNDHU RATIO.

KEEP BLOGGING AND GOOD LUCK!

jing123 said...

I have not tried the idlies yet but I am sure to try it soon. I have tried some of your other recipes and all of them have come up very well. Thank you.

Can you please tell me the correct proportions for dosai and vadai? I love the way the hotels make it, but I am never able to get the same taste. Living in N.America, I yearn for our Tamilnadu food all the time!

Valliammai said...

Hi Solai achi, this is Valliyammai from Chennai. I am looking for home made chettinad food for home delivery on a daily basis. r u offering any such catering service in Chennai? If so, please let me know.

Prathiba said...

hi


i was trying for nearly a years to make soft idlies, but never i got the correct recipe. i gave up. recently i found your site. thanks i was able to make soft idlies and was very happy. now i am a regular visitor to ur site.

prathiba

VGP said...

Just need one confirmation...Is boiled rice the usual white rice which is known as idli rice...or is it the one which is used to prepare rice(saadam) in kerala?

Solai Chidambaram said...

Yes Boiled rice and idly rice are the same.Idly rice if available is good.It is sure to give soft idlies VGP

Johnpaul Raja said...

Hi Solai
Thanks for ur receipie. I tried to find out good Idli rice. Atlast i ve seen the "Laxmi Idli Rice" Is it Gud Brand R Not? B'coz previously i bought one different brand idli rice. But that was raw rice. So i scad to buy this Laxmi Idli rice. It contains 40LB so that.. Can u advice me

Solai Chidambaram said...

Jhon paul If it is labelled idli rice then surely you can get it.But the kerala rice used for lunch cannot be used for idli.In kerala if asked for idli rice will surely be available.People in US can buy rice labelled as idli rice.Though it may look in white colour it will not be raw rice.Dont be scared to use that jhon

sangs said...

dear achi,

I was wondering, why is it necessary to transfer batter to 2 to 3 containers. Is it not ok, if i put all the batter in one big container and allow it to ferment. Please pass you thoughts.

P.S: After seeing all the recipes in your blog i just started drooling. Thought i must leave this country and go back to india ;-).

thanks,
shangeetha

Solai Chidambaram said...

sangeetha,If you want to make idly's a number of times then it is good to transfer into 2 or 3 containers.The urudh dhal i9n the fermented batter will be on top and rice will settle down.I have mentioned I guess that you should not mix the batter much for making idly.so if you are using the batter from the same container,the quality of idly will go down each time as you are left with more rice batter.I hope you got my point

veena said...

hi...i just want to ask u if we have only broken urad dal ..thn do we have to use the double quantity u mentioned..

Solai Chidambaram said...

No veena,dont use double qty.The quality of both are different.Just use a handfull more.If you use double,you wont get idly.it will become very flat.

UmaKarthik said...

Wow! you made it really easy for. Thanks you so much

Shekar said...

Hello Solai Achi,

Your Chicken Chettinad recipe is a hit in all my parties- Nothing is more authentic than that. Thank you for sharing your skills and knowledge.

Achi, Do you have the recipe for authentic Kal Dosai? I have tried many recipes with Aval and without, but nothing like the original and spongy.

I would really appreciate if you could blog the recipe if you have it. I am based in the US and we can get good quality rice, Ulundu, and Aval here, if it is required.

Thank you very much.

Regards

Shekar Gopalan

Fishy said...

idly - so much science. I am so busted. I have been trying to make good idlies for hte past 5 months. I was never successful. Even if good on first day, it never came great on the days to come. I understand all my mistake.

I soak urad dhal over night - wrong.
I put all in same container - Wrong
I mix the batter well hoping it would get me good idlies - Wrong.

Thanks Aachi. Will surely let you know day after how my idlies turn out. I now have an obsession for making good idlies. I hope my search would end here

Gigi said...

Hi Solai!
It's me again asking you the basics.
Once you make the idli batter do you grease the idli moulds and how long do you steam the idlis for?
I have just completed the soaking phase and about to embark on the grinding stage. Fingers crossed it comes out well.
Thank you very much for your recipes as they are excellent and I always resort to your blog when I am in a spot wondering what to cook.
Gigi

Solai Chidambaram said...

Gigi,For a spongy idly you should soak the urudh dhal only for 20 to 30 minutes.now a days I soak it for just 10 minutes and I get a very spongy idly everytime.
You should grase the mould with oil if you dont use cloth.For the first batch steam it for 12 minutes.subsequent batches will be ready in half the time.To check whether it is cooked,take a wooden small stick or the back of the spoon.first wash it in water then prick the idly with that and if you find no fresh batter then it is cooked.that is how we used to check when new to kitchen

sham said...

hi

I am going to try ur recipe using ultra ginder with 2 small stones..do i need any enlightenment from you?? Thanks...

Ammu Madhu said...

wonderful idlies solai.

$@ndhy@ said...

Hi solai,
first time visiting your blog. my god, ur tips and explanation are fantastic. Usually i haven't heard of anyone telling these helpful tips. Thanx a million. I will try this idly shortly. i am in usa and i get idly rice and ponni boiled rice. i read in a website that par boiled rice is same as ponni rice.

deepa said...

Hi solai,

thank u so much for wonderful recipes, i have tried most of your recipes and it is turned out very well. especially your idlies it is really soft. can u tell how to make tasty dosa batter please.... i am waiting for your reply

ramesh said...

hai achi...could u plz tel me the meaning of par boiled rice??in tamil ....thnx

vijay said...

Hi Solai,

Can we add some cooked rice while grinding for idli does this help in making idlis softer

$@ndhy@ said...

Hi solai
I am trying ur idli recipe today. Can you plz tell me how many idlies can i make with the cup measurement u use?

Solai Chidambaram said...

Sandya.For 1 cup of rice you will get 10 idlies.So for this measurement you will get 40 idlies.

Geetha said...

hi give me some tips for making idlies out of Raw Rice.

sangs said...

dear aachi,

I have been following your method of making idlies over 4 months now.My idlies were perfect and i was happy. But For some reason now my batter is not getting fermented even after keeping it outside for more than 24hrs. Im able to make dosa, but idlies are not good. Since you are here in US can you tell me how you ferment the idly batter. any inputs would help. Thanks shangeetha

Solai Chidambaram said...

Sangeetha,For me here there is no problem in the batter getting fermented.But my daughter tells that in extreme winter,they will preheat the oven for a minute and leave the batter overnight in the oven.Try that

VRS said...

Hi Mrs. Solai,
This is my first time into your website and needless to say your recipes are tooooooo good. Ok on a serious note I had been struggling for making idlies since 4 yrs and have not not soft idly in my life. I am ashamed to say this becasue I am a tamilian and grew up in Madras eating home made idlis! I am doing the same procedure and still no results... my batter has been sitting out for more than 3 days stubburn and not willing to ferment. What do I do?

Solai Chidambaram said...

VRS,Do you live in a cold region?.If so switch on the oven for 1 minute and keep the batter overnight.I come to know that people in US do this.
Another trick for making good soft idlies is that Urudh dhal should not be soaked for more than 30 minutes.While mixing the batter make sure that it is little loose or watery.Once it ferments it will get thickened.Even after all these,if your idly is bad change the rice brand or add a handfull more of urudh dhal.Try experimenting.One day it will surely work

kavita said...

Hello,
Thanks a ton.
your tips are really awesome, i followed them and the result was fantastic. Please advise, in case, if i want to use the idli rava, what should be the ratio?

rekha said...

I am Rekha from Kerala. The rice that we get here for making idly is called doppi rice. I also find a rice variety without any special name. The label contains only one name' idly rice'. Are they good for making idly. I always envy Tamilians for the super soft idlies they makee.

Solai Chidambaram said...

Rekha,Use the rice labelled Idly rice.It is good

rekha said...

Hi Solai,

Rekha again. This time I would like to know the difference between dosa and idly 'mavu'.
Can I use the same preperation for dosa also?

Valli said...

ur receipes are accurate n excellent…thanks a lot..

Thamba, said...

Ur ReCipes r GoOd..
VerY UsefuL for All BeGinnerS..
ReGaRds >> Thamba((Chidambaram))..

Valli Mayil said...

hello aachi... thank you so much for the recipe and tips. i followed it and my idli turned out perfect. Except that, aft 3days, my idli/tosai would change colour to brown colour. The batter remains perfect and i keep them in the fridge but on cooking it, they just change colour. Is it because of the ulunthu? (cos i changed the ulunthu recently). i hope u could help cos i hate throwing away my batter aft so much of work... thanks..

Solai Chidambaram said...

valli mayil,i dont know the reason for change in color after 3 days.i cant guess any reason.May be because of ulundu

Priya Nagalingam said...

Hello Solai Aunty,, your recipes are very usefull.. Thnx
I had been making idlies and for the first time my idlies turned brownish red as Valli Mayil has mentioned.. But my batter remains completely normal in colour.. I added a pinch of baking powder instead of cooking soda(all by mistake). could this be a reason?? This is totally strange to me.. :)

Solai Chidambaram said...

Priya,adding baking powder or cooking soda are all knew to me as we live in India.May be because of baking powder ur idly turned red.But I find that my daughter in US keep the batter in the oven overnight to get fermented.You can also try that if you live in a cold region.

Jaleela Kamal said...

அருமையான விளக்கம் , இந்த முறையில் முயற்சி செய்து பார்க்கிறேன்



வாரம் ஒரு அரைப்பேன்.
இரவு ஊறபோட்டு காலை (அ) மாலை ஊறபோட்டு இரவு அரைப்பேன்.
//அரிசி 2 மணி நேரம் ஊறினால் போதுமா?//
ஜலீலா

Solai Chidambaram said...

I am very sure that urudh dhal will be best only if it is soaked for less than an hour.30 minutes will be fine.You will find lot of difference by soaking for less time.It is enough to soak rice for 2 hours.

king said...

HI WOULD U SAY HOW TO MAKE VADAI CURRY.

king said...

HI HOW TO MAKE VADAICURRY. BYNITHYA

msundari said...

Solai Aunty, I love idlis. My idli also come good, the idli are best when I just followed your steps.
The idli is so soft and spongy , I never knew I too can make this good .
Thanks for sharing your cooking secrets.

Raina said...

Hello Aunty,
Thanx for the explanation.. we are a small family of 2 adults and 1 infant... so can I reduce the rice n urad dal proportion to 2 cups of idli rice and 1/2 cup of whole urad dal?

Solai Chidambaram said...

Yes raina,you can reduce the qty.But we can store the batter for long time refrigerated.

CM said...

Achi,

Many many thanks for your recipe. As an Iyer household, I can tell you that the idlies we make are total nonsense. They are good for making houses and roads but not for eating.

A long time ago , I was in Annamalai Univ for a 2 day visit. Tasted the idlies there and since then, it has been by golden standard. I always complained to my mother that it is not like that.

Namaskarams,
Chandru
Thanks to you I have relived that taste!

sita said...

Right now i'm using 4 rice to half ulundu but still my idlis are coming flat though the batter fermented well overnight...what do i do

Solai Chidambaram said...

sita,Are you using 1/2 cup urudh dhal for 4 cups of rice?.However great the quality of the dhal you need atleast 3/4 cup of urudh dhal for 4 cup rice.I use 1 1/2 cups of urudh dhal for 8 cups of rice if the dhal is very good.
I guess you mix the batter very watery.Try mixing it little more thicker.If the batter is watery the idly will be flat.

Gaya3 said...

Wow i followed step by step procedure, and it turned out very well

my mom lives near and gives me idly batter....i wanted to try it by myself and ground in mixie half cup urad with 2 cups of idly rice..(as written 1:4)

results were great :)

vids said...

Dear Solai achi,
I started following ur blog n recipes when I was in India. Now in Australia, I can only get frozen coconut for chutney which tastes little odd. Any suggestions?

raja said...

aunty, iam a bachelor and work in germany and recently came to know about your blog when i searched in google for recipes.we like your blog a lot.very clear explanations too as it is very useful blog for bachelors.
we like to make idli this week end.

We have 2 doubts aunty.
your 1 cup measurement is 250ml or 200ml.According to that i will put vendhayam.

to get soft idlies,for uruddal u asked to grind in 3cups of water.For 4 cups idlirice,approximately howmany cups of water i can use for grinding.because i tried idli from other sites and i got neither wattery or thick.can u help me?

Expecting your reply very eagerly.Thanks.

Solai Chidambaram said...

Raja,Thanks for your compliments.I refer our azhakku as cup and it measures 200gms.Be clear that nobody can tell how much water can be used while grinding.While mixing the batter only the consistency of the batter should be made sure.For idly the batter should be mixed in such a way that you can make dosa with it at the time of mixing with an addition of little water.The batter will get thicker on fermenting.Try you will catch the correct consistency by experience.It is the best teacher

Madhu Pravin said...

Tried the idlies and it has come out really well.. Thanks a lot, Ma'am. If You don't mind, may I give a suggestion? Soak a handful of soya (soya for idly batter is available in the market) overnight or for 8 hours. Peel off the skin before grinding. Grind to a fine paste and add the batter to it. Idlies will be heavenly soft :)

deesharnya said...

Is it mandatory to soak rice and dhal for 6 hours? because when i ask my amma, she says so. but u have said 2 hours is fine.

Solai Chidambaram said...

deesharanya,The most important thing to be noted for spongy idlies is that urudh dhal should not be soaked long.I soak for just 30 minutes.Rice can be soaked long.2 hours for rice will be more than enough.If rice is soaked long also no problem.

Skl said...

Hello aunty,
We tried edli recipe,it came out really soft,it was very nice to have homemade soft edlies after coming to u.s,used to have at home in India or we had to go to saravana bhavan here to have good edlies,
Thanks a ton,now we can make at home b'coz of you,
Skl

Vidhya Subbiah said...

Hi Solai,

I tried idli following your method and it turned out to be spongy and awesome. My husband loved it. Thanks a lot for posting such recipes.

Poornima Porchelvan said...

wonderful idlies!

Divyaa Saravnan said...

Aachi if i avoid fenugreek seeds will the idlies b soft... i use the cooker for idlies... they r nice but flat

Solai Chidambaram said...

Divyaa,you can leave fenugreek.dont soak urudh dhalfor more than an hour.grind adding water little by little atleast in three or four times.if the quality odf the dhal is not good idly will be hard then next time increase it little.I never use fenugreek as I dont like its smell in idly.the smell will be nice for dosa

susana023 said...

Hi Aunty ,

I tried this idli receipe and it came out fantastic.i cant say how much happy i am.thank u very much aunty.I am no more afraid of making idli's

Can you post the pal kolukattai receipe aunty , please.Its my favourite dish

- Susana

sk said...

Hello Aunty,

Thanks for the great recipe. Whenever I make idli, water drips over the idli from the lid and idli becomes soggy in the centre. How to avoid it? I have tried with and without cloth. But the problem remains the same. Can you also tell us how to arrange the plate in the idli vessel please?

The texture and color of idli is good everytime.

Suji