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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Quick Vegetable Idlees

Quick Vegetable Idlees idli recipe south indian breakfast

Before the kids arrived, I used to dutifully soak and grind and have batter fermenting for either Idlee, Dosai, or Adai, pretty much back-to-back. Just a habit I picked up from my mom. The batter keeps well in the fridge and is handy for quick breakfast or snack.

But, over the last couple of years, I have started relying on quick alternatives that are still healthy, but may not have the traditional process and taste. And, one such short-cut is quick idlees made with urad dal flour, rice idlee rava with suitable rising agents.

Years ago, I didn't think twice about the endothermic reactions my mom taught me (being my Chemistry teacher) but now that I use it a lot to create the rise in idlees, I just smile quietly and thank my mom. The endothermic reaction of Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) with Citric acid* in water creates the required rise in the form of Carbon Dioxide that is released.

Grated carrots, beets, ginger, even corn kernels, cilantro, onions can be mixed in with the idlee batter to add a boost. Sometimes, I throw in a handful of quick cooking rolled oats to the batter (adjusting water to get the right consistency).

In winters, for the yeast rise (rather than citric acid+baking soda reaction), I allow the batter to ferment for an hour or so in warm place (usually by the heating vent).

The batter consistency determines the quality of idlees - too thick a batter results in hard, dense idlees while soupy batter results in mushy goop. The quantity of water given here has worked well for me, but, feel free to experiment.

If idlee steamer is not handy, can use muffin mold pan. Steaming apparatus can be a pressure cooker minus the weight, or a large pot of boiling water with lid.

¼ cup urad dal flour
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ cup rice idlee rava
½ tsp citric acid
½ tsp baking soda
1¼ cup water†
½ tsp salt (or less, if preferred)

Grated vegetables (optional)
† Add one cup first and then add the rest as needed after the 10-minute wait, to get the right consistency

  1. Combine the ingredients, stir well and allow to sit for 10 minutes
  2. If preferred divide the batter it into two parts, or make two batches separately as above. Stir in grated carrots, beets, ginger into one batch and corn kernels, ginger, onions, cilantro for the other. Or use any favorite vegetables, or none at all
  3. Steam in the traditional idlee cooker for about 10 minutes or till done. The quantity given here makes about 8 standard size idlees(about2½ inch diameter)
  4. Serve with favorite chutneys. My favorites for idlees are spice tomato-chili chutney and milder coconut-cilantro chutney, besides the staple Idlee Molaga Podi ( a home-made spice powder), of course [recipe to come] :)

An alternate recipe, using yeast:
½ tsp rapid rise yeast
1¼ cup warm water
¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup urad dal flour
3/4 cup rice idlee rava
½ tsp salt

Bloom the yeast in sugar+water till frothy (about 5 minutes). Then mix in the rest of the ingredients and allow to sit in a warm place for 1 or 2 hours before steaming.

*Some people are sensitive to citric acid as-is, but not to the end product of the citric acid+baking soda+water reaction.

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  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Trendsetters said…

    they look colorful n surely healthy...very creative

  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger Parita said…

    So colorful and yummy!

  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger R said…

    these idlis r a visual delight :) i am sure they taste yummy too!

  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Trendsetter:: Thanks! Glad you stopped by!

    Parita:: Very sweet of you to drop by, thanks!

    R:: Thanks :) I liked the beet+carrot+ginger ones best, but the kids liked the corn idlees :)

  • At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Sheela,
    I have been following ur blog for quite a while now,usually get so engrossed in the colorful and delightful looking pictures that I always run out of time to leave u a comment. U really have a good eye for pictures and all ur recipes are very simple and very uniquely modern. I m trying some this weekend!! esp the grilled eggplant recipes..

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Sheela said…

    SizzlinSpice::Thanks, that is very gracious of you! Glad you took the time to leave me a comment here.

    I enjoy the flexibility of fusion cuisine combined with healthy ingredients to present a meal quickly. Of course, elaborate slow-cooked meals have their unique flavor and merits and I like them too, whenever I can ;)

  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Cynthia said…

    One of these good days I hope to eat idli

  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Cynthia, dear, let me know how the idlees turn out!


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