Idli and Dosa batter is one of the mandatory item in every South Indian home. Atleast once a week, we all make the batter and make idlis and dosas. Most of us have a schedule of making batter on sunday and use the batter atleast for 2-3 days during the weekdays. Breakfast and dinner goes handy with this batter. Idlis are very good for our health as they are steam cooked and no oil dish. Even for the babies it is always recommended to start their diet with idlis. The only secret for getting softer and malligai poo idli is the proper proportion of rice and dal and the fermentation of the batter. I have given here the proportion of rice to dals which I use always in my home and upon fermentation, I always get softer idlis. I have heard of many people who use cooked rice or poha (puffed rice) along with the rice and dals for soft idlis, but I believe that proper fermentation is the most important aspect of getting soft idlis. Lets see the conventional method of making Idli and dosa batter.
Preparation and Yield:
|Preparation time||4 hours|
|Making Time||35 mins|
|Puzhungal Arisi / Parboiled Rice**||3 Cups*|
|Raw Rice||1 Cup|
|Urid Dal||1 Cup|
|Fenugreek Seeds||1 teaspoon|
*1 Cup = 250ml
** Nowadays we are getting idli rice in shops. Conventionally, we use puzhungal arisi (parboiled rice). To get softer idlis, we need to use raw rice along with parboiled rice. But if we get idli rice, then we can skip raw rice and use only idli rice. In that case the ratio of idli rice to urid dal is 4:1
- Take parboiled rice and raw rice in a mixing bowl and rinse in water twice or thrice and then soak it in water. Take urid dal and fenugreek seeds in another vessel and rinse it in water twice and add water to soak them. Leave the soaking rice and dal aside for atleast 4 hours. Add generous water to the dals and rice as the soaking process makes them double their size.
- After 4 hours, drain the water from uriddal and add it to the grinder. Initially add 1/2 cup of water to the grinder and start the grinding process. Then slowly sprinkle water in regular intervals and grind the urid dal to a nice and thick batter. This process usually takes atleast 20 minutes. If the urdal quality is good, then we would get more batter. After 20 minutes, our urid dal batter is nice and smooth and if we take some batter and roll it in our hand it should roll like a soft ball. Also the moment we stop the grinding process, we could see small bubbles on top of the batter. This is the right stage to remove the urid dal batter from grinder. Remove the batter and keep it in a mixing bowl. Next, drain the water from the rice and add it to the grinder. Add water little by little and grind the rice to a nice, smooth and thick batter. Add the rice batter to the mixing bowl which has already the urid dal batter
- Mix both the batters well with a ladle or clean hand. When the urid dal batter and rice batter are nicely combined, then close the bowl with a air tight lid or a proper lid to cover the bowl completely and keep it aside for 12 hours or overnight for fermentation. After 12 hours, we could see batter has fermented and the quantity would have doubled up. Now add salt and mix the batter well. Our Idli / Dosa Batter is now ready for making Idlis / Dosas
- The proportion of rice to dal 4:1 works for grinder. If you don't have a grinder, then you have to use 4 : 2.5(rice to dal) ratio as grinding the batter in a wet grinder automatically double the urid dal batter but mixer doesn't.
- Grinding the batter in Wet grinder automatically takes care of aeration. It incorporates air to the batter making the batter light but at the same time increase the quantity. But grinding batter in a mixer doesn't incorporate air in the batter making the batter dense and our idlis will also turn our harder. So if you grind the batter in a mixer, you need to beat the uriddal batter nicely atleast for 5 minutes using a whisk or ladle to aerate the batter nicely.
- Time for Fermentation process greatly depends on the weather/climate. If we have nice sunny weather, our batter will get fermented quickly within 6-8 hours itself. If we have cold weather, the fermentation process would take more time.
- If you are living abroad and if the season is winter, it is very hard to ferment the batter. A small trick helps us to get softer idlis in that situation. After 12 hours, we can just add a spoon of eno salt to the batter and we could see immediately the batter bubbles up and becomes lighter and we could get softer idlis. But if we are going to add eno salt, then we need to add it to the quantity we are going to use and not for the whole batter. So take the required quantity in a separate bowl and add eno salt to it just before you plan to make the idlis.
- If you are not a fan of idli but want to use batter for dos, then we always need to dilute the batter with a little water before we make dosa as dosa needs little thin consistency compared to idli.
- I have seen many people who use 1/2 cup of aval / poha / puffed rice along with rice while soaking.