Many people have many different versions of making idlis, the plain idlis I mean. You an always mix other veggies into it and make it healthy! or cover them with podi and make podi idlis or even idli upma!
Tho its called rice cakes, they batter also contains daal or lentils in it and is fermented before the idlis are made. A special stand called idli stand which has plates with depressions for holding the batter and steaming them is used.
It is one of the most popular breakfasts in south Indian households. At my house too, if idli is the breakfast, no complaints are heard!! Thank God for that!!.. Since we can make and store the batter for at least a week, its easy for me to make them any time kids want it.
Idli in restaurants is usually served with coconut chutney and saambar. At home, I serve it with either idli chutney or kandi podi or saambar.
I use a wet grinder to grind the batter, but a regular grinder or mixie can also be used. The only thing is that the batter should be smooth and thick, not too watery. If its too watery, the idlis cannot be formed. So it should be ground with less water. When it ferments, it becomes little more liquidy, so care should be taken.
I add the salt too before I keep it for fermentation, I feel it helps in fermentation.
For colder climates, like we have here, I wash the lentils and idli ravva in hot water and also while grinding I add hot to warm water, so that it will ferment better and sooner. I keep it in a warm place like the oven with the oven light on. It normally takes 8-12 hours for fermentation.
There are 2 ways idlis can be made, one is using idli ravva and other is by using parboiled rice or idli rice or uppudu biyyam. I always have used only Idli ravva with urad daal to make my idlis.
1 cup urad daal
2 cup idli ravva
salt to taste
enough hot or warm water
Soak the urad daal and idli ravva overnight or for atleast 6 hours. Grind all ingredients together in a wet grinder or a regular grinder. Store in a container with a lid, in the oven,with the light on for fermentation, for atleast 8-12 hours. Usually if its warm outside or the weather is warm, it does ferment quickly. After fermentation, mix properly so that all the air bubbles are gone, add some water if its too thick. Idli batter should always be thick and not too thick or thin.
Oil the idli plates lightly with oil and put the batter into the depressions and steam them in a pressure cooker with some water without the whistle or rod on or a covered container with water in it for about 10-15 min.
After steaming, remove from the depressions and serve. Serve with idli chutney or with saambar or kandi podi. or with any other chutney or pachadi. Enjoy!!!