Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Millet Idli

My mother made idlis using idli rava at home. Weekends mostly. I remember waking up to the smell of sambar and the aroma was motivation enough to scramble out of bed, rush through everything to arrive at the table, hungry as a hunter. 
 We used to love them! I still do. In fact, these were the only ones I used to make until I got my wet grinder. And then the game changed. The previously loved idli rava idlis became a thing of the past. They are great, but there is something so perfect about the idli rice, idlis. They are heavenly! And so, I kept churning out soft pillowy idlis, week after week and enjoying every single morsel.
Every couple of weeks I make idli batter. I look forward to making soft melt-in-the-mouth Idlis. The process is simple, though time consuming. Its a great option for a quick meal or to pack in the lunch box ( for the husband, who can heat them in his office). 

The highlight of our summer (2017) was my parents visiting us. They came in time for my son's birthday and stayed for mine. Oh what a wonderful time it was! Their love and good food was the best part of last year. I cooked a lot, clicked pictures on my phone and well, they're still there. I guess I'll work on the posts this year. LOL! 

During this time, I tried a variation on the regular idlis and they did not disappoint.
Instead of rice, I used millet. Hulled millet is available packaged in most grocery stores and in the bulk bin section as well.
Pic courtesy : Google search

You need:
1 cup Gota Urad Daal 
3 cups Millet 
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds

Wash the Urad daal in several changes of water (scrub lightly with your fingers. The water will turn very cloudy. Drain it, add fresh water, repeat till the water runs clear). Soak the urad daal in plenty of water. Add the fenugreek seeds.

Wash the millet and soak it in a separate container in plenty of water.

Soak the daal and millet overnight.

Before grinding, discard the soaking water. I also give both ingredients a quick rinse under running water.

Begin with grinding the urad daal. 

If using a wet grinder or a blender, add the urad daal and start grinding. Gradually add little water. Do not add too much. You don't want a runny daal paste. That will ruin the idlis. 

Grind till the urad daal turns a pale color and looks 'fluffy'.

Remove to a container.

Grind the millet now. Take care not to add too much water. This will take a bit longer to grind. Be patient. 

Once the millet turns to a smooth paste, add it to the ground urad daal. Mix well.

The batter should have a dropping consistency. Too runny- the idli will be flat and gummy, too thick (where you need to give the ladle a shake to make the batter fall into the mold) will make rock like idlis, better used as hockey pucks.

There are two options now: 
  1.  stick the pot in a warmish oven and let the batter ferment (between 10-12 hours )
  2. Pour the batter in the inner steel pot of your Electric Pressure cooker /  Instant Pot and set it to 'yogurt' mode for 8 hours on seal mode. 
Once the batter is fermented, make idlis as usual.
If you are making idlis for the first time: 

Add some salt to the fermented batter and fold it in gently. 

Before making idlis, add water to the idli cooker and set it on the stove. 

Once the water is bubbling, grease the idli molds with either oil / oil spray or ghee.

Ladle idli batter into the molds ( do not overfill) and place the stand in the steaming water. Close the lid and steam the idlis on high ( on a dial from 0-10, keep the heat at 8-8.5). Continue cooking for 15-18 mins ( when you open the lid- carefullllly- the idli tops must be plump and not sticky.

Switch off the heat and using a thick kitchen towel or baking mitten, remove the idli stand and set it aside for a couple mins. 

Carefully unmold the idlis, these should slip out easily, if not use a spoon or a butter knife to loosen the sides and transfer to a  container.

Serve idlis with chutney or sambar or both. 

I made this zuchhini chutney for my family and they enjoyed the combination very much. I unfortunately couldn't eat it as it has peanuts.


Learn to make idlis without the rice. Use Millet to make delightful idlis for a perfect breakfast.


Notes:

These idlis are very tasty. But do not compare them to the regular rice idlis,

The batter can be used to make dosa as well.

These are a very good alternative to rice idlis, specially for people who avoid rice in their diet.

These idlis can be steamed in the Instant Pot as well, but I am not very comfortable doing that. I just haven't learned how, strange as this sounds. If you have, please share the method with me.

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