Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes

Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes

Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes, are traditionally served in South India for breakfast or as a snack. Idli is a steamed cake made from a combination of rice and lentils that have been soaked, ground, and fermented into a smooth dough. Beaten rice(poha) when added in little quantity adds a smooth texture to the idlis.

The process can be summarized into 3 steps :

  • Step 1: Soaking – The lentils and the rice are soaked separately in different containers, covered with water for 6-8 hours.
    dhuli urad dal with methi dana ( lentil with fenugreek seeds)
    idly rice with poha(beaten rice)
    soaked rice with poha

    soaked dal with methi dana
  • Step 2 : Grinding – After the soaking process is complete, the lentils and the rice, are drained and rinsed separately. The two elements are now ground separately to achieve the right consistency, in a food processor or blender. Start by grinding the lentils first into a smooth batter, using very little water. Transfer it into a big container. Next add the rice and grind it coarsely using little water. Transfer the rice batter to the vessel containing the lentil batter. Add salt and carefully mix the two batters with a clean hand or large spoon. Cover the container with a lid and let it rest stand still in a warm place to ferment to a spongy batter.

    fermented idly batter
  • Step 3 : Steaming – Once the batter has fermented and at least doubled in volume, it is time to cook the idlis. Pour batter into bowls of an idli cooker. Steam for approximately 10-11 minutes on low medium heat. Allow it to cool for 3-4 minutes and then take it out using a spoon onto a plate. Serve it hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
steamed rice lentil cakes

Idli is a steamed cake and is also a fermented food. The fermentation of idli and dosa batter, typically overnight, is an essential step in their preparation. It allows the breakdown of carbohydrates, resulting in more soluble sugars. Fermentation improves the nutrient profile and increases bio-availability of nutrients and minerals in rice. This food is useful for blood sugar management, diabetes, gut disorder and a host of other health problems.

Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes are made from parboiled rice or idly rice. You may also use white rice, but parboiled rice ferments better than white rice. In addition, the idlis and dosas made with parboiled rice possess most of the advantages of brown rice.

Follow the simple but detailed recipe below and share Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes Recipe cooking experience in the comments section. You can also rate the Fermented Rice Idlis or Steamed Rice Cakes Recipe and give feedback.

Fermented Rice Idlis
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: South Indian
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice - preferably par boiled or sona masoori
  • ¼ cup poha(flattened rice)
  • ½ cup split and husked black lentils(dhuli urad dal)
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds(methi dana)
  • salt as per taste
Instructions
  1. Mix rice and poha in a medium vessel. Rinse and clean it with water. Then soak it, covered with water by a couple of inches, for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. In another container, simultaneously add fenugreek seeds and urad dal. Wash, clean and soak covered with water by at least 3 inches, for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. After the soaking process is complete, drain and rinse rice/poha and lentils/fenugreek seeds separately. Don't throw away the water used for soaking the urad dal. Use this water for grinding the lentil and the rice separately.
  4. Next step is grinding the two elements separately to achieve the right consistency, in a food processor or blender.
  5. Grind the lentil mixture to a fine smooth paste with very little water. This may take 10-15 minutes or so. Transfer lentil batter to a separate, very large vessel.
  6. Repeat with rice, but this time aim for a slightly gritty batter as opposed to the smooth batter of the lentils. Start by adding quarter cup water to the machine then handfuls of rice at a time, with additional water to facilitate the grinding of the rice. This may take 15 or so minutes.
  7. Carefully transfer the rice batter to the vessel containing the lentil batter.Add salt and carefully mix the two batters with a clean hand or large spoon.
  8. Cover the container with a lid and let it rest stand still in a warm place to ferment to a spongy batter.
  9. The lid of the container should not be placed too tightly and make sure that the container has room for the batter to double in size. If not, pour half the batter into a separate vessel to allow room for expansion. The batter rises on fermentation and if the container is not big enough, the batter will overflow.
  10. Ferment overnight or 12 to 48 hours, depending on the temperature, or until batter appears to have doubled.
  11. When the batter is fermented, stir and mix the batter so as to form a smooth mixture.
  12. Take an idli steamer and fill it with enough water. Bring it to a boil.
  13. While the water is heating, grease the idly steamer plates with oil. Pour 2 spoonfuls (or as required )of batter into the molds so that it fills ¾th of the molds. I did not fill to the top as the batter rises on being steamed.
  14. When the water starts boiling, put the idli stand into the steamer. Cover the lid and cook it on medium high heat for 10-11 minutes.
  15. Insert a toothpick into the idlis to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, then it is done else cook it for another 2 minutes or till it is done.
  16. Let the idlis cool for 3-4 minutes and then take it out using a spoon onto a plate. Serve it hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
Notes
There is one special piece of equipment necessary to prepare idli. Besides a device to grind the rice and lentils, you will need an idli steamer. These can be found online or in specialty stores.

If are staying in a cold place and it's difficult to get fermentation, I have a solution. Preheat your oven at 200F( do not preheat more than this). When the oven is preheated, turn off the oven and wait for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, put the container having the idli batter inside the oven with lid covered. The batter will get fermented in 6-8 hours.

 

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