This is one of the most requested recipe in Kannamma Cooks.
I have also shared the tips and tricks for soft idli batter here below. This article also has answers for a lot of frequently asked questions. Please refer to this article and I am sure most of your doubts will be answered.
Tips and Tricks for a better idli.
Here is the video for making idli.
The ingredients for making this batter is very similar to this recipe. I strongly suggest you read that before you proceed with this recipe. I have explained each ingredient in detail in that post. The ingredients remain the same for this recipe too but with one addition. We use the addition of poha / avalakki in this recipe which makes the idlies softer in this mixie method. Here is how to do idli batter using a mixie/blender.
Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml , 1 tablespoon = 15 ml
Wash all the ingredients separately in running water for 2-3 times. Soak Fenugreek Seeds (vendhayam) , Whole white Urad Dal and Idly Rice separately in lots of water for a minimum of 3-4 hours. Soak the poha/avalakki in 2 cups of water.
Grind the soaked and drained fenugreek seeds along with the soaked poha/avalakki (it would have puffed up by now). No need to drain the water from poha. Add a cup of water and grind for 3 minutes until the seeds and poha are finely ground and have fluffed up. Remove the ground poha mixture and empty it into a big vessel.
Now comes the tricky ingredient called urad dal!
The mixie / blender was making the urad dal hot when ground. While warmth encourages the growth of the bacteria, heat kills it. A very hot environment can make the batter sour too soon and the taste will not be good.
Fermentation of Idli batter is carried out largely by lactic acid bacteria. Not yeast. There are two kinds of lactic acid bacteria. Homofermentive and heterofermentive.
Homofermentive lactic acid bacteria produces only lactic acid.
Heterofermentive bacteria – the Idli bacteria (Leuconostoc mesenteroides) produces carbon dioxide in addition to lactic acid.
So for good Idli, we need the rise of batter (CO2 effect) and also souring of the batter. If the batter is too hot at the beginning, it gets fermented too soon and the resulting Idlies might not be very soft. Also the Idlies may be good for the first day but hard on the second day.
So we use ice water for grinding the urad dal so the dal doesnt get heated up when ground. Lets now grind the urad dal.
Now, add the drained urad dal in the mixie. Add in a cup of ice water. Grind for 3 minutes till the urad dal is perfectly smooth. We use ice water so as to keep the dal from heating up in the mixie. Remove the ground urad dal mixture and add it to the vessel.
Now grind the drained rice in 3-4 batches. Add upto 1.5 cups of water while grinding. Remove the ground rice mixture and add it to the vessel.
Add in the salt and mix the batter well with hands.
I marked the below orange tape to show you how much the batter ferments. Let the batter sit in a warm place. If the place where you live is cold, I have some tips to accelerate the fermentation. Keep the batter inside a cup board or a shelf or some place warm. Insulate the vessel with a warm heavy blanket. That will keep the vessel warm. If you have a small room heater, keep it running near the shelf where you place the batter. if you don’t have a heater, buy a small table lamp and leave it running near the idli batter vessel. You just need to make sure that the batter is kept warm.
Allow the batter to ferment for 8-10 hours. As you can see, I wrapped the idli batter container in a blanket to make sure that its warm as its been cold in the place where I live. I also left a table lamp inside the shelf switched on. Once the batter is fermented, it would have doubled in volume. Mix the idli batter well and store it in the refrigerator and use it within the next 3 days.
Lets make some idly now!
Put some water in an idly vessel and put it on medium flame. Oil the idli plate and gently fill the rounds with the batter. Put it inside the idly vessel and let it steam for 6-7 minutes. The key to good idlis – Do not allow it to over cook. It might become hard and dry. Just keep an eye and remove the idlis after 6-7 minutes. Do not remove the idlis immediately. It might stick. Leave it undisturbed for 4-5 minutes and then spoon it out. Serve hot with your favorite chutney and sambar.
The one common comment I get from a lot of readers is that, their idlies did not rise and the idlies were flat. The main reason is watery or runny batter. Watery batter will not rise and the idlies will be hard and flat. So use caution while grinding and do not add too much water while grinding. The batter will thin out a little after fermentation. So a BIG CAUTION on using water. Please use correct measurements as mentioned in the recipe.
- 1¼ Cups Urad Dal
- 4 Cups Idly Rice (1 liter)
- 1 cup thick poha / avalakki
- 1 tablespoon Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam)
- 2 tablespoon Salt
- Soak all the ingredients except salt in lots of water. Soak the ingredients separately.
- Grind the soaked and drained fenugreek seeds along with the soaked poha/avalakki . Add a cup of water and grind for 3 minutes until the seeds and poha are finely ground and have fluffed up. Remove the ground poha mixture and empty it into a big vessel.
- Now, add the drained urad dal in the mixie. Add in a cup of ice water. Grind for 3 minutes till the urad dal is perfectly smooth. Remove the ground urad dal mixture and add it to the vessel.
- Now grind the drained rice in 3-4 batches. Add upto 1.5 cups of water while grinding. Remove the ground rice mixture and add it to the vessel.
- Add in the salt and mix the batter well with hands. Let the batter sit in a warm place. Allow the batter to ferment for 8-10 hours. Once fermented, mix well and store it in the refrigerator.