Everyone in my family loves idly and dosa and I can`t believe that I did not make my favourite food idly, for 2 years.
It was quite a shift for me when we had to shift home 2 years back. It was not just shifting home but it was shifting all my work (my mind too) and getting adjusted to this new place that was four floors above ground level. All my life I lived at ground level.
It`s been millets… millets… and millets these past few months.
It started off with my friend`s long pending treat at Kaulige Millets in Bangalore. It was a lovely millet-only thali. I was amazed at the variety of food cooked only with millets. All regular rice and wheat dishes like Curd Rice, Upma, Vegetable Bath, Bisibele Bath, Khichidi, Payasam, Kesari Bath made with only millets. The list is endless.
And the taste? One can barely tell the difference that it`s made from millets and not rice.
And did I know of millets other than Ragi, Jowar and Bajra until then?
Another new chapter in my life. Thank you June!
So, why did I not make idly at home for 2 years? Work was crazy in this new home and I had no inclination to add another task to the list. It meant washing my idly grinder and all those extra idly moulds. I wasn`t ready to take on all that.
Dosa never went off the menu as the batter can be ground in minutes in a mixer-grinder but idly in a mixer-grinder? Never turned out fluffy till I got the tip on this lovely group, Cooking with Millets.
So the tip was Avvalakki/Poha/Beaten rice is a must for fluffy idly.
Boy! Did it turn out good?
So now I can grind idly batter too in minutes in the mixer-grinder.
Here is the recipe and some tips for super soft millet idly.
Ratio followed is 1:4:1 Urad Dal : Millets : Avvalakki/Poha
I have used 1 measure of raw rice as I find millets a bit too heavy and I wanted to lighten it a bit by using a little rice but you can do an all millet idly too excluding the fact that Poha is rice.
*1 cup or measure Urad Dal
*1 cup or measure Ragi seeds
*2 cups or measure Jowar seeds
*1 cup or measure raw rice or dosa rice (can replace with ragi seeds)
*1cup or measure Avvalakki/Poha/Beaten Rice, thin variety (compulsory for soft idly)
- Soak Urad Dal separately and the millets and rice together separately with just enough water for 6 hrs.
- Soak Avvalakki/Poha with the excess water from the soaking seeds if any for 10 minutes or just ahead of grinding the batter if it is the thin variety. If it is the thick variety then soak for longer.
- Grind the Urad dal with just enough water and half way through add the soaked Avvalakki/Poha and grind on high speed to fluff up the batter and incorporate some air into the batter. Do not add excess water else the batter will not be fluffy. Same way do not add less water too. Gauge the fluffiness and add the water accordingly in small quantities. Grind till you get a smooth batter. This would take less than a minute. Pour into a large vessel. Grinding the batter for too long also would heat the motor and heat up the batter too. Try to avoid this by using some cold water.
- Like wise grind the millets, rice and salt too with just enough water. This will not grind to a smooth batter. Try to grind as smooth as possible without over heating the motor too much. Initially grind with bare minimum water till it is a thick paste and then add a little more water and grind to as smooth as possible. This would take barely 3 to 4 minutes to grind in two batches.
- Mix the Urad Dal and millets batter together thoroughly but with a light hand. Yup! nothing like using your hand to give a good mix. Check the consistency. Add more water if required but do not make it a runny batter. Getting the right consistency is important for fluffy and light idlies.
- Cover it well and leave it aside to ferment for anywhere between 5 to 8 hours or maybe more depending on the weather/temperature. When the batter has almost doubled then it is ready to be poured into idly moulds and steamed for 12 to 15 minutes.
- I had ground the batter at 2 a.m. (yup! bizarre time) and the batter was a bit warm from the heated motor but that warmth fermented the batter perfectly by 7 a.m. That was in 5 hours. Was crossing my fingers! Else my daughter would have had to eat dosa for breakfast.
- Millet batter tends to over ferment very quickly. Do keep it in mind.
- Important: Do not stir and deflate the batter before pouring into the idly mould. It will give you firm idlies. Very lightly scoop from the edge of the container with a ladle or large spoon and drop it into the mould and steam. Try to keep it as a one scoop and drop.
- Deflate the batter just a bit in portions as you are scooping up only if the batter has over fermented and become very frothy. As an over frothy batter will not give the right textured idly.
- You can make Dosa too with this batter. Just need to dilute the batter a bit.
- Dosa or Uttapam can be made instantly after grinding too without fermentation. It would be a bit heavy to digest but is very tasty. It is crispy-soft and tastes a bit like Adai.
- Dosa made after fermentation turns out crispy.
Hope I have covered all the points for soft and fluffy millet idlies.