Steaming hot and fluffy idlis with spicy sambhar and deliciously savoury chutney is a mouthwatering treat that is associated with the breakfast of most south indians. But slowly it has moved into all our homes to become the favourite breakfast option for people from all parts of India.
While leading multinational companies are heavily trying to sell us cornflakes, muesli, oats etc to transform our breakfast habit into something which can be prepared instantly with minimal effort, most Indians have still not found favour with these processed food items. Crispy dosas with a wiff of oil and a potato masala, sambhar and chutney is the indulgent breakfast that most of us enjoy on holidays and weekends. The fermented batter of idli and dosa which comprises of rice and lentils like urad dal ensures that it is high on nutrition like proteins and carbohydrates which are a great way to kickstart the day. Steamed idlis are also low on calories and are the favourites of all those watching their weight. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized and digested by the body.
While most of us have seen most of our south Indian friends having special heavy duty wet grinders to make a big batch of batter, modern mixies and blenders suffice too for making a batch of smaller quantity batter.
However, it maybe tedious for most of us to prepare and ferment the batter which requires soaking of lentils and rice and then grinding the batter and then left to rise and fermnet by soaking overnight.
The good news is that there are a host of options to buy fresh batter readily available to ensure that we get a quick yet nutritious fix of our favourite breakfast. Furthermore, the remaining idli batter can be used to make a host of other things like ravi idli, utthapams, different varieties of dosas by adding wheat flour and ragi flour and idli upma among others.
To make idli and dosa batter, three parts uncooked idli rice to one part split black lentil (whole white urad dal) are soaked separately for at least four hours. Optionally, spices such as fenugreek seeds can be added at the time of soaking for additional flavor and to aid digestion. Once done soaking, the lentils and rice are ground to a fine paste, then they are combined and a dash of rock salt is added. Next, the mixture is left to ferment overnight during which its volume will more than double. This batter can be used for making idlis on the first day and for.making crispy dosas later.