My sambar today would make my Mom say ‘Way to go’!
And I’ve got Idlis perfecto tenth time in a row!!!
IMG_20140805_173541_wmI have loved idlis for as long as I can remember. It has been the tale of a Rajasthani’s love affair with Idlis – Persistent perusal, failure, heartbreak and then sweet success. After failing multiple times I finally have worked out the to-dos and the not to-dos!

Here is my go-to recipe from Sujatha’s blog with some additional ‘gyaan’ gained from experience – my learning down the months.

Idli rice/ponni rice – 3 cups
Whole urad dal (washed)- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds(methi daana)- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 ½ tsp (adjust as per taste)

Soak the rice and urad separately for 5-7 hours. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad  dal when soaking.
Place in the refrigerator for an hour and grind them separately in the mixer, using chilled water to grind the urad
Mix both the ground mixtures very well  and add salt (I use my hand to give it a nice whip and mix)
Leave to ferment overnight or 7-8 hours till the mixture doubles up
Gently scoop batter off the top and transfer to greased moulds. Do NOT stir and mix the batter.
Steam for 10-12 minutes. Stick a toothpick in to check. If it comes out reasonably clean, the idlis are done.
Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve hot with Sambar.


Here are the lessons I learned over the past few months-

-Use idli rice ( I used to use any at hand in the past)
-Use whole urad ( I always used split dal)
-Ratio for mixie grinding 3:1 or 21/2 :1
-Soak overnight and cool in the fridge before grinding to counter the heat. Grind using chilled water.
-Mix thoroughly before you put it for fermentation (read, ghoto/whip and mix with hands like a ‘halwaai’)
-When it is all fluffed up in the morning, scoop batter gently off the top and steam ( I used to mix the fermented mix with all my vigour with a ladle..I realize it’s a No-No totally!)



Oil free Sambar

I love my visits to the Bombay Airport. The Shiv Sagar outlet there does a mean Sambar with some delectable mini idlis. Their sambar is one of the best I have ever had and I have been attempting to recreate that. My friend and co-blogger Sujatha Arun does a delightful tiffin sambar and the basic idea for this oil-free sambar was born there. I wanted the Shiv Sagar taste but no oil. So after a few attempts I got it just as I wanted it. The sambar masala is home- made and makes all the difference. A big shout of thanks to my buddy Priya Arun for sharing her family recipe!
It also hides  a cupful of  Lauki (bottle gourd) or kaddoo (pumpkin) in it’s delicious depths and the boys down bowlfuls without a fuss. Sneaky mommy at work 😛
For the sambar masala
Akkha/Sabut Dhaniya (whole dry coriander) – 100 gms ( ½ cup)
Jeera (Cumin seeds)- 25 gms ( 1 ½ Tbsp)
Daana Methi (fenugreek seeds) – 10 grams (1/2 Tbsp)
Kashmiri red chillies,whole- 25- 30 (can use byadgiwhole chilies and some kashmiri chilli powder in case not available)
Heeng (asafetida)- a heaped tsp
Curry leaves- 25-50
Raw rice- 1 Tbsp
Tuar daal- 1 tsp
Brush a skillet/heavy bottomed pan with 2 drops of oil and roast the sabut dhaniya for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
On the same skillet roast the following one at a time
Jeera- roast and remove
Daana methi- roast and remove
Whole red chillies+ curry leaves- roast and remove.
Rice and tuar daal- roast and  heeng at the end. Remove in a minute as the heeng tends to burn fast.
Cool completely and grind.
Store in an airtight container.


For the Sambar
Arhar/Tuar daal (Moong daal works well too) – 1 cup
Lauki (Bottle gourd) or kaddoo (pumpkin),cubed- 1 cup
Onion,cubed- I
Garlic,mined- 1 tsp
Ginger,grated- 1 tsp
Green chillies,chopped fine- 1 or 2
Tomatoes, pureed- 2-3
Sambar masala- a heaped tbsp
Tamarind pulp/tamarind chutney- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chili powder- a heaped tsp (or less as per taste)
Curry Leaves 7-8
Salt- 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Turmeric- ¼ tsp
Wash and soak the daal for an hour.
Rinse the daal and pressure cook it with the bottle gourd/pumpkin, onion, garlic,ginger,green chilly, salt, turmeric and enough water till well cooked.


After a whitle,lower the flame and cook for ten minutes on low heat.Open and whisk well with a balloon whisk.Keep some pieces of the vegetable out before you whisk in case you like some chunks in the sambar.


Adjust the consistency by adding more water, if it is too thick.
Add the curry leaves, tomato puree, Kashmiri red chilly powder, sambar masala and boil for 10-12 minutes on low heat.


Add the tamarind pulp/tamarind chutney and boil for another 5 minutes. (if using  tamarind pulp, add a tsp of sugar)

Serve hot with idlis ( find the recipe here )or rice.
If desired, the sambar can be tempered with a tsp of mustard seeds and some curry leaves  after crackling them in a tsp of hot oil. But one doesn’t really miss it.


Idli and Dosa with Idli Rawa

I love Idli and Dosa and can eat them anytime, even without the accompanying sambar and chutney.

Getting the batter right is crucial to a good crispy dosa and soft idlis. I came across Idli Rawa /Idli Sooji/rice semolia some time back at the the super market and was curious and picked up a pack. With no clue how to use it, I hollered for help and my friend Priya Arun gave me this superb no-fail recipe. It gives me very soft idlis and crunchy oil-free dosas every time.


Recipe for Idli and Dosa batter with Idli Rawa


Idli Rawa/Idli Sooji/Rice Semolina- 3 cups
Whole Urad dal- 1 cup
Methi/fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp

Soak 1 cup urad dal with a few methi/fenugreek seeds for about 3 hours.
Soak 3 cups of idli rawa in water just above the level of the rawa , for an hour. Idli rawa will absorb the water.
Grind urad dal and idli rawa separately. Mix both batters, add salt and leave to ferment for 6 to 8 hours.
You can use the batter to make idlis right after it is well fermented.
Keep it in the refrigerator for two days and thin down the batter a little to make dosas.You can use the batter to make the dosas along with the idlis too but it gives much better results after the 2 days stay in the refrigerator.

Killer idlis and crispy crisp dosas!!

Thanks Priya!

Instant Rawa Idli Kanchipuram Style

Had a healthy fruity breakfast this morning and went for my yoga session like a good girl.
Back home at 11, hear a friend talk about Idlis and that does it- Idli craving!!
Now cravings are strangers to patience! The traditional way of soaking, grinding and fermenting is not an option with them. This Instant rawa idli was manna from heaven! Wanted to do them in kanchipuram style with cashews but had none. So why not roasted almonds! Very soft and aromatic with the ghee I used and all done under  30 minutes!
Enjoyed it with a simple onion tomato chutney.
Rawa Idli

Rawa/sooji/semolina 2 cups
Yougurt- 1 cup
Urad and chana daal- 1/2 Tbsp each
Curry leaves – 7-8
Rai/mustard seeds- 1/2 Tbsp
Roasted almonds/ cashews- 2 Tbsp, roughly chopped
Ghee/clarified butter – 2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Eno fruit salt- 1 Tbsp
Heat ghee in a wok and crackle the rai, turn the heat down. add curry leaves and the urad and chana daal and roast till they turn brown.
Add the rawa and roast on medium heat till it begins to change colour. It takes 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped almonds or cashews. Remove and cool.
Once cooled, add the yogurt and salt and mix well. Add half a cup of water and mix. Cover and keep for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes,check the consistency of the batter. You should have a thick dropping consistency. Add some water in case needed.

Meanwhile, heat water in the idli stand and grease the idli moulds with ghee. As soon as the water starts boiling, add the fruit salt to the batter and spoon into the idli moulds. Steam for about 10-12 minutes. Check by piercing a knife. If it comes clean, idlis are done. Rest for 3-4 minutes and remove.

Recipe first seen on Chef at Large and sourced from Amu’s recipes.

Onion tomato chutney

Onion 1 medium sized cubed
Tomatoes 3 medium cubes
Green chilli 1 chopped
Oil 1 tsp
Rai/ mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 4-5
Sambar masala – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Salt 1/2 tsp ( to taste)
Sugar 1/8 tsp

Heat the oil and splutter the rai. Add curry leaves and the chooped vegetables. Add the salt and sambar masala. Cook covered till somewhat tender.
Cool and grind.