Moving on to Day 3 of the blogging marathon with some mini idlis. A miniature version of anything is cute and attracts kids be it a mini dosa or a mini chapati and so on. So mini idlis are no exception and my kids love it especially when they have been soaking in yummy sambar. I was a big fan of mini idlis and it was the only thing I would order when we go to Saravana Bhavan. I am sure many of you would agree that their “14 idli sambar” combo is always the best.If you have fermented batter, then idli is done in a matter of minutes. So it is normally easy, but since I have to come up with interesting and sometimes time-consuming side dishes to make the idlis more appealing to K it can get a little complicated. Given that K loves dosai and I love idlis we draw the line where the first day it is idli and the second day is dosai. Enough of my rambling .. so let’s move on to the recipe
Ingredients – Sambar
1 tsp oil
4-5 tsp Bisibelabath/Sambar powder
To make the batter we need to soak the rice and urad dal separately for 5-6 hours. They are normally ground separately, but I usually grind the urad dal for 20 minutes and then add the rice to it and grind for another 12-15 minutes. Learnt this tip from my mom.
The batter is ready. This has to be kept in a warm place to ferment. See tips at the bottom for the methods I use to help fermentation in cold weather. Make sure that the batter is slightly on the coarser side for idlis.
Fermented and all set to go.
Get the cute mini idli stand out and start pouring the batter using a spoon.
Place in a idli cooker or a pressure cooker. If using pressure cooker do not use the weight valve. Steam for say 10-12 minutes. Open the pressure pan and look at those beauties all puffed up and spongy. Wet the fingers with water and touch the idlis after opening the pressure cooker. If nothing sticks to the fingers then the idlis are done. This is an useful tip which I learnt from my mother in law when she visited us.
Another look at the spongy idlis.
Now let us get started on the sambar. Multitasking really helps in this case. Season with mustard seeds. Add onion and when the onions are cooked add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes turn mushy.
Add around 2 cups of water followed by bisibelabath powder, turmeric and salt. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for say 10 minutes. Then add the tamarind juice and let it boil for few minutes. Finally add the cooked toor dal.
We are almost there. Turn off the stove after a couple of minutes. Sambar is ready and is waiting for the idlis.
Now all we have to do is to pour ladles of sambar over the mini idlis and let it sit for 10 minutes so that it soaks up the sambar. Melt-in-the-mouth idlis ready. Addition of coconut chutney as another side dish takes this dish to a much higher level.
The first picture was updated on 4/29/2013.
1. To ferment the batter in really cold weather I place it in the oven with just the oven light on. It ferments with no problems.
2. Other tips I read here and there and which I follow are to add salt to batter and mix with clean hands and then let it stand for fermenting.
3. Wash and soak the dal and rice. Using this soaked water for grinding will aid fermentation.
4. Grinding rice in a mixie can be hard at times. So instead of rice we can use idli rava. For this method wash the idli rava and let it sit for atleast 30 minutes. Then grind the urad dal and mix it with soaked idli rava. The ratio of dal : idli rava is 1:3.
5. I normally keep this sambar simple with just onion and tomatoes but feel free to add vegetables as needed.