Idlis are steamed savoury cakes which can be had as breakfast or snacks. Generally, idlis are made using rice and urad daal (white Indian pulses/lentils) but they are also made using semolina. The addition of oats to semolina, takes this dish a few notches up on the health-scale.
The rice and daal are mixed together in a particular ratio, soaked for 5-6 hours or overnight and then ground to a smooth paste. The mixture is then left to ferment overnight* or for 7-8 hours. Next, it is poured in idli moulds and steamed.
The idlis are very bland by themselves, so they are consumed with a variety of chutneys (such as tomato, coconut, peanut and coconut, green tomato, onion, etc) and/or with sambhar which is made with Indian lentils (arhar daal) that are cooked with vegetables and tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds. This makes it a complete and healthy meal to kick-start the day. It is light on the stomach yet filling (I know it sounds contradictory) and yes, satisfying…
In South Indian households, idlis are part of everyday meals especially the breakfast. During earlier days women used to grind the soaked rice and dal manually on stone grinders but these days the hard work is done by the electronic mixer-grinders.
Here is another oats recipe (besides the Oats Upma) which again is a wonderful substitute to eating oats with milk or water. When I have to make idlis in a jiffy I have no option but to use semolina to make idlis where I use ratio of 1 cup of semolina and 1 cup of curd. Here you need to substituted half cup of semolina with half a cup of oats.
½ cup oats (ground to powder)
¼ tsp fruit salt (I use Eno Fruit Salt)
Mix the powdered oats and semolina together and add beaten curd to it. Add salt and fruit salt and make a thick paste but of a pouring consistency. Keep this mixture aside for 20-25 minutes.
In the meantime, ready the idli moulds by greasing them with oil.
Add two cups of water (it depends on the size of the container in which you are going to steam the idlis) in the idli container.
When the water starts to boil, place the moulds in the container and cover it with its lid.
Steam the idlis for about 20-25 minutes. Once the idlis are done, remove them from the mould and serve with chutney of your choice and sambhar.
To make the idlis look tempting, I temper the idli batter with a teaspoon each of black gram lentil and white Indian lentil along with mustard seeds and broken cashew nuts (it is optional though). (Fry all the ingredients in 2 tsps of oil.) I also add chopped green coriander to add an extra dash of colour to the idlis.
(*The time for fermentation varies and depends on the climatic conditions)
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