How to Make Soft Idlis
  1. Wash the urad dal nicely and soak it for at least 4 to 6 hours.
  2. In a separate bowl, wash the idli ravva under running water and soak it for an hour.
  3. Drain water from the soaked urad dal and grind it in the mixer. Make a smooth thick batter. It should not be runny. Grind till it is soft and fluffy.
  4. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel as the batter will ferment and increase in volume. Squeeze water from the soaked idli ravva and add it to the ground urad dal batter. I use my hand to mix both as it is the best way to get a perfect blend. Now cover with a lid and keep aside in a warm place. Leave the batter to ferment overnight. The fermentation is slow in winter and quick during summer. As we live in the tropics it is easy to ferment nicely but if you live in a cold climate then keep it in a heated room or in your oven with the light on. The primary reason for soft and fluffy idlis is the fermentation process.
  5. In the morning, you will see that the batter has risen to the top. Add salt and mix gently with a ladle. The batter is now ready to make idlis. Pour 2 cups of water into the idli steamer.
  6. I wanted to make a different idli so I took a greased ring mould and placed some grated carrots in it and poured the idli batter over them.
  7. Place the mould in a closed pan for ten minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if the idli is done. Gently unmould the idli onto a platter and serve with the chutney in the ring. Drizzle some ghee liberally over the idli.
  8. Or for regular idlis—-
  9. Heat 2 cups water in the idli steamer. While the water is heating, wash the idli plates and lightly grease them with oil if you want to. I just spoon the idli batter using a small ladle onto wet moulds so that the idlis come off easily. Place the idli stand in the idli steamer and cover with the lid. Steam the idlis for exactly ten minutes. Remove the lid and the idli stand and leave it for a couple of minutes. Grease a spatula with ghee and carefully remove each idli and place in a bowl. Drizzle some ghee (clarified butter) over the idlis for a divine taste.
  10. Serve the hot, steamed idlis in a plate with chutney, sambar and gun powder or podi. Or Serve in a bowl with the idlis submerged in a pool of sambar.
  11. Take the finely sliced coconut, roasted chana dal and green chillies in the mixer jar. Add a little water and make a thick paste. Remove into a bowl and add salt and milk. Mix thoroughly. Take a small pan for tempering; heat the oil and add the dry red chillies, then add the dal, once they are a bit done then add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the curry leaves and pour over the coconut paste. Your chutney is ready to eat with idli.
Recipe Notes

1. Idli batter can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

2. Coconut chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or more if in the freezer without adding salt or tempering.

3. Chutney goes extremely well with idli, dosa, uttapam, masala paniyaram,upma, vada. I like it with steamed rice too.