Monday, November 20, 2006

Kanchipuram Idli

I found this bit of history about Idli in Wikipedia.
The word idli originates from the two Tamil words - "Ittu" and "Avi" (To lay and steam). Although the precise history of the modern idli is unknown, it is a very old food in southern Indian cuisine. The first mention of it in writings occurs circa 920 A.D., and it seems to have started as a dish made only of fermented black lentil. One description circa 1025 A.D. says the lentils were first soaked in buttermilk, and after grinding, seasoned with pepper, coriander, cumin and asafoetida. The king and scholar Someshwara III, reigning in the area now called Karnataka, included an idli recipe in his encyclopedia, the Manasollasa, written in Sanskrit ca. 1130 A.D. There is no known record of rice being added until some time in the 17th century. It may have been found that the rice helped speed the fermentation process. Although the idli changed in ingredients, the preparation process and the name remained the same.

Well, so much for the history part, but idli is a favorite on the breakfast table or even in a lunch box. Needs a little preparation.. or if you do not have the time, just get a ready mix (depends on how desperate you get!)

1 cup urad daal
1 1/2 cup Idli Rava
7-8 Methi seeds
2 tbsp. Poha
For Tempering - 'TADKA':
1 tbsp. soaked Channa daal
1 inch ginger
5-6 chilies (vary according to taste)ground
1 tbsp. each:
Fresh cilantro -chopped
Fresh Grated coconut
1 tbsp. cury leaves
1-2 dry red chilies

Soak the Urad daal, methi, poha for 6 hours. Grind and add the idli rava, leave it overnight to ferment. In the morning add salt, and season the batter with the TADKA.Make idlis as per normal procedure of steaming.
Serve hot with a pat of butter, Sambar and chutney.
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  1. wow..... anyhting south indian and I am game for it...... its so simple to make and a good variation to the normal idli...... :)

  2. Hmm....maybe I will try the ancient way of soaking the rice in buttermilk...its so hard for the batter to ferment in this cold weather! Nice post!

    Kudos, Trupti

  3. Hi,

    Nice information on Idli.....Its easy,streamed foods get digested easily....I prepare once in a while.

    Nic picture too.

  4. Hi Rooma, this idli is a good variation, infact I can eat it just with a dab of ghee / butter.

    Hi Trupti, Yes in cold climes fermentation maybe an issue, however, where I stay, it looks as if the weather has made up its mind to be SUNNY, WARM !!
    Hi Usha, Thank U !

  5. The k-idlis look really good, Manasi! These days, they sell idly and dosa batter in Indian grocery stores and I'm one eager customer! It's just a matter of adding tadka to it to make it look as good! :) I'll try it out soon. Thanks for sharing this.


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