Recipe for softest idlis using kottaimuthu – castor seeds. Castor seeds adds to the soft texture of the idlis. Castor seeds are also called as amanakku vidhai / kottaimuthu.
DISCLAIMER: Castor seeds / Kottaimuthu can be extremely allergic to some people. Use with caution.
DOUBLE DISCLAIMER: Raw castor seeds / kottaimuthu is considered to be extremely toxic. Do read about castor bean poisoning here. Castor seeds, sometimes used in traditional therapies, contain ricin one of the most toxic substances known. DO NOT INGEST CASTOR SEEDS.
Castor seeds is traditionally used in idli batter for years in my region without any problem. Castor seeds are also used in traditional medicine. Adding a little castor seeds makes for the fluffiest / spongy idlis you will ever eat. If you are worried about ricin poisoning, just DO NOT attempt this recipe. You may buy castor seeds in “naatu marundu kadai” or in ayurvedic stores.
If you are making Idli for the first time, Please READ this post before you begin.
This recipe is from Padma Akka (Vinodh’s Sister).
Here is how to do the softest and fluffiest idlis.
Wash and soak unpolished whole white urad dal and idli rice (par-boiled rice) separately for 3-4 hours. Drain the water and set aside.
Add the soaked and drained urad dal to the wet grinder. Add water little by little and grind till the dal is ground smooth and fluffy. The tip in grinding urad dal is to add the water slowly. If you add all of the water at once, it wont fluff up well. Grind for at-least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, transfer the dal mixture into a bowl and set aside. Do not add more than a cup of water while grinding dal.
Using the back of a knife or a slightly heavy object, gently break the seeds and get the white part out. I have used 6-7 seeds today. Do not use more. The idli batter will become bitter.
Now grind the seeds and the sabudana (javvarisi) to a fine powder. Sabudana makes the idli even fluffier and I always add sabudana or poha (aval) to my idli batter.
Now comes the rice.
We use Idly Rice for making idly batter. Its a short grain fat par boiled rice. Par boiled rice is the only way to go for idli. Its also called as Salem Rice in Tamilnadu. Its an unique short fat grained rice. Most of the households in Tamilnadu use Idly Rice only. So its got to be idly rice for me. Add in the soaked and drained rice and add in the ground sabudana-seed powder. Grind the rice mixture for 30 minutes until smooth. Add just enough water while grinding. Do not add more than a 1 – 1.5 cups water while grinding rice.
Once ground, transfer the batter to the dal mixture bowl, add in the salt and mix well. Let there be lot of space for the batter to expand while fermenting. Do not fill up to the brim.
Cover the batter with a lid. Leave the batter in a draft free place to ferment. The batter needs to ferment for 8-12 hours. Once the time is up, the batter should have increased in volume. Take a ladle and mix it well. Your batter is ready.
Line a wet cloth (just wet NOT dripping with water) on top of the idli plates and ladle out the idli batter on the plates. Put some water in an idly vessel and put it on medium flame. Put the idli plates inside the idly vessel and let it steam for 6-7 minutes.
Remove the idli plates and drop it on a plate. Sprinkle some water on the cloth and remove the cloth.
Serve the idlis hot.
- 1 cup whole white unpolished urad dal
- 4 Cups Idly Rice (1 liter)
- 2 tablespoon Salt
- 3 tablespoon javvarisi (sabudana)
- 6 castor seeds (brown outer shell removed)
- 2.5 cups water for grinding
- Soak the dal and rice for 3-4 hours. Drain the water and set aside.
- Add the soaked and drained urad dal to the wet grinder. Add water little by little and grind till the dal is ground smooth and fluffy. Grind for atleast 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, transfer the dal mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- Now grind the seeds and the sabudana (javvarisi) to a fine powder.
- Add in the soaked and drained rice and add in the ground sabudana-seed powder. Grind the rice mixture for 30 minutes until smooth.
- Once ground, transfer the batter to the dal mixture bowl, add in the salt and mix well.
- Leave the batter in a draft free place to ferment. The batter needs to ferment for 8-12 hours.
- Idli batter is ready.
- Prep Time: 24 hours
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: Tamilnadu