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.


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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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Almond Meal Sabudana Khichadi in the Instant Pot

Wishing you all a (belated) Happy new year! I've been away so long, it felt almost odd to break the silent streak. This much loved space was neglected because a few months ago, the laptop I was using broke. Really. I mean the screen cracked. It was usable, but it was just too much of a bother, to connect the laptop to the TV, use the tv screen .. argh! I just let it be.

These days, almost everyone is crazy about the Instant Pot ( Electric Pressure Cooker) and those who have one will sing it's praises. To the extent that people who haven't purchased the IP/ EPC scramble when they spot a deal.
And why not? 
The IP /EPC is very useful and versatile. 
It's a pressure cooker on steroids!

And so, I prefer to use my EPC over the manual pressure cooker. I rely on it quite a lot.
I can program it and walk away, knowing everything will be done perfectly. 
The husband need not count the whistles and switch off the stove ( not that he remembers, in any case. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had to use my old manual pressure cooker as I had the IP fermenting idli batter for me, and despite warning him, the cooker whistled away, the water evaporated, the daal inside was burnt to a charcoal black and the smell! oh dear god! ... and all through this, he sat, on the sofa, fiddling with his phone, unaware. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't come home in time).

It just does SO much! 
Today, I made Sabudana Khichadi in it. I was talking to my mother and did not feel like slaving over the stove, with one hand stirring and the other clutching the cell phone to my ear. 
I also substituted almond meal for peanut powder. It isn't the same but makes a really good substitute.

click to learn how to make sabudana khichadi in an electric pressure cooker or instant pot, IP

Here is a link to my regular stove top sabudana khichadi  with tips and tricks. Over the years, I've had many people tell me that they love khichadi, but are terrified at making it, it always turns out sticky and gluey and ends up in the trash. Do try my tips and trick for every- pearl- separate khichadi,

Here is my Electric Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot (EPC/ IP) version.

Prep :
I usually eyeball the quantity.  But I'll try to be a bit accurate here.

Rinse 2 cups Sabudana pearls under running water. Soak the pearls in water that comes 'just' above the sabudana level. The tops of the sabudana should skim the water.
I usually soak them overnight. This gives me perfectly soaked pearls.

When ready to make khichadi, grind together 2-3 fresh green chilies and 1 heaped teaspoon of Jeera / cumin seeds with a hefty pinch of salt. 

Use about 3/4 cup of almond meal ( I buy this from the store). Mix the almond meal with the sabudana, add some salt to taste and 1 -2 teaspoons of Sugar. Mix it all well.
*Tip: The almond meal quantity can be increased. This will ensure that the sabudana does not become gluey. Look at the sabudana once you add and the almond meal, the pearls should be coated with a thin layer of the powder.

Now, Start your EPC/ IP on Sear / Saute mode.

Add 1 tbsp Oil and top with 2 Tbsp Ghee ( don't skimp, another reason why it turns a gluey mess, too little ghee. And oh! don't skimp the ghee, I add oil first as I find that the oil acts as a layer between the hot pot base and ghee and keeps it from burning.)

As the ghee melts into the oil, add the green chilies and cumin.

Once it sizzles, add the sabudana mixture and mix it all well.

I had a boiled potato on hand, so I just cubed it and tossed it in the mixture. Sprinkle just 1-2 tbsp of water on top and mix.

If you are planning to add raw potato, peel, quarter and make thin triangular slices and add them in after the green chilies. Place any lid that fits over the EPC/ IP top and let them soften and cook. Then add the sabudana.

Cancel the Sear / Saute mode and place the IP lid on. Sealing mode.

Press 'Manual' mode and put it on 1 minute timer.

Once the timer beeps, signalling the end of cooking, release the pressure manually (QPR), VERY CAREFULLY, by turning the 'whistle' knob to 'vent' position.

Once the pin drops and all the pressure subsides, open carefully. With a spatula, gently mix the khichadi together and taste. Add salt / sugar if needed.

Squeeze the juice of half a lime, mix and plate.

Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and fresh shredded coconut (optional)

see how to make sabudana khichadi in your IP


Ideally, a stove top sabudana khichadi  isn't covered when cooking. Neither do we sprinkle water. IF using the old method, skip this.

I always add sugar, I love the spicy and slightly sweet taste.

If you do not want to use fresh shredded coconut as a garnish, you can add some dry shredded coconut into the hot khichadi once its done and mix it in. 

My cousin sister uses red chilies powder instead of fresh green chilies (they give her a horrid tummy ache), so if you do not want to use fresh chilies, add a scant tsp of Kashmiri red chilies powder or a blend of Kashmiri and a hotter powder ( adjust to suit your spice tolerance). This will change the appearance totally, the khichadi will look an angry red! But my cousin tells me, it tastes good too,

You can safely consume this during fasting /vrat/ upvaas. 

Leftover khichadi reheats well in the microwave, sprinkle some water and heat through for a minute at least.
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