Sunday, December 9, 2007

Idli, Sambhar and Chutney

This dish represents the classic cuisine of southern India but loved all over the country. When I first started living on my own, I never attempted idlis thinking they are really hard to make. However, after one bite of the packaged mix I decided to attempt it myself (inspired by a conversation with my mom ). I found the whole process relatively easy and the idlis turned out quite nice. All the ingredients listed here are available at any south asian grocery.The sambhar recipe is my mom's and it really is different from all others i've seen and the powder she uses makes all the difference as well.So here it is, idlis served with sambhar and chutney.

Ingredients and requirements for Idlis

1 cup udad dal
2 cups idli rava (if you get parboiled rava use that)
Maintain this 1:2 proportion according to how many idlis you need.
Idli stand
pressure cooker
salt to taste

Wash and soak udad dal in water for atleast 4 to 5 hours. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and then switch the oven off. Grind the soaked dal to a very smooth paste. Touch the paste by hand,it should feel smooth like butter. Add just enough water while grinding as needed to make the paste. Don't add too much water. Remove ground udad dal into a large bowl. Meanwhile wash idli rava and remove excess water.Add rava to the ground dal.Add salt. Mix well. Keep the idli mix in the warmed oven, covered overnight.The mixture should rise. If it doesn't rise the idlis will be hard. Mix well and add water to get a very thick pourable consistency. Don't add too much water.
Next day, heat water in a pressure cooker. Apply oil to each well of the idli stand. Add idli mix into each well. Put stand into the cooker with 1 inch of water. Close the lid. Don't add the whistle. Once the cooker starts to give out steady steam, lower heat and place a small bowl over the outlet.Time the steaming.For the first batch of idlis steam for 11 minutes. Thereafter you can steam for 7 to 8 minutes for each batch. Remove idli stand after steaming. Let it cool. Remove idlis by gently cutting around each idli with a flat edged spoon. The idlis come out quite easily. Keep covered in a casserole.

Mamma's sambhar

1 cup toor dal, soaked for 10 minutes and cooked
2 onions diced into chunks
2 tomatoes
1 tblsp tamicon (tamarind concentrate)
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
2 tblsp Sakti Sambhar powder (Get it specially from India), use any other in place but it will not be the same
1/2 tsp asofetida
salt to taste
1 tblsp ghee

Heat ghee. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds and asofetida. When the seeds sputter add diced onions. Fry till onions turn transparent. Add tomatoes. Fry for about 2 minutes. Add sambhar powder, salt and tamarind. Mix well. Add dal with enough water to make a pourable consistency. Boil sambhar. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves. Serve with idlis.

Bengal gram and coconut chutney

1 cup grated coconut (I use store bought frozen packets)
1/4 cup bengal gram or chana dal
dry red chillies (bedgi variety) 4 to5
tamarind paste 1 tsp
salt to taste
curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds

Roast 1/4 cup bengal gram or chana dal. Roast dried red chilles (bedgi mirchi). Add coconut, tamarind, salt, roasted red chillies and roasted gram into a blender with 1/4 cup warm water. Grind into a coarse paste. Meanwhile, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry till seeds crackle. Add to the chutney and cover immediately. Serve with idlis.


K.Boy said...

try "Nayak's Sambhar powder" available at Mangalorean stores in Mumbai.It is close to authentic Konkani sambhar.

Gromit said...

Oh thanks! I'll keep that in mind.