Saturday, May 27, 2006

Idlis at Last!

The batter finally rose.

And we had yummy idlis for lunch today!

Idlis are these white, round, steamed, ball like dumplings that are made of a rice and lentil batter.

A staple of South India, I literally grew up eating idlis, since my grandfather (who used to live with us) insisted on eating them every single day.

I used to hate them when I was a kid, since it was so freely available. But the moment I came to the US and realized they were no longer available, I began to crave them with a fierce, intense longing that took me completely by surprise.

I've been in the US now for three long years and have tried without success to make idlis. The batter would never rise despite my best efforts and this prevented me from making this healthy, yumm-o-licious dish.

Overnight fermention seemed a wistful dream.

We tried all the tricks. Someone said "add methi (fenugreek) seeds" - someone else said "keep the batter in the oven." Another person suggested we add yeast.

We tried and tried, but the batter would refuse to rise.

After a point we just gave up.

Then yesterday, Nanu came up with the bright idea that we should try again. Seeing that it was so hot, perhaps the batter would rise due to the temperature outside.

And it did rise. Hallehlujah!

So we ate the idlis with "Molaga Podi" - (a powder made of ground red chillies, lentils and other spices mixed with sesame oil), "thenga chutney" (green chillies, lentils and cocunut paste of sorts) and a dollop of "thayuru" (yogurt).



Elizabeth said...

Mmmmm, idlis... :)

Shree said...

I grind the batter and put it in the oven that way it works really well, especially in winter. You can warm the oven for 10 minutes before you put the batter into the oven...and don't keep the oven on when the batter is in:)

poornima said...

You know I tried that so many times when I was in Bloomington, IN - but it never worked. It worked here in Carbondale, perhaps because much more humid and hot. Who knows? :)

Elizabeth said...

Sunitha could make idlis in Bloomington...weird.