Idli is a popular South Indian snack which is usually had for breakfast, but can also be part of dinner or lunch. When speaking of idli, what comes to mind is the one made of de-husked black lentils (urad dal) and rice. The rice idli takes a lot of hard work – soaking, grinding, fermenting, but before all that you need to have the special rice with which you can make the idli.In contrast, the rava idli can be made in exactly half an hour and taste awesome. No soaking or overnight work is required. All that one needs to have are the idli plates , medium coarse/ fine semolina(rava) and yogurt or curd(preferably sour).Considering that they are steamed and no oil is used , they are as healthy , or even healthier than the rice idlis.
The following steps will describe how the idlis can be made.
1. Take two cups of semolina/suji/rava
2. In a frying pan, place around two spoons of oil and add some mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop before adding a spoon of white , broken (or full) de-husked black lentils (urad dal) and a spoon of channa dal (broken chickpea).You can add some cashew pieces too. Fry all these ingredients till they are golden brown.
3. Keep them aside.
4. Use the frying pan again to roast the semolina. Place a spoonful of oil in the pan, add two cups of semolina/suji and roast. You will know the roasting is done when a light aroma fills the air and the semolina does not stick to the sides of the pan.Add the fried channa dal, cashews etc to the semolina.
5. Transfer this fried mixture to a plate and keep it aside for 10 minutes, to cool.
6. Now add a cup of water to the cooled semolina. Do not make a paste with the water. The semolina should still be dry. Spread the mixture with your hands and break any lumps when you come across them.
7. Let this stay for 10 minutes. The water is added so that the semolina can absorb it and become a bit softer, which aids in cooking.
8. Now add around 3-4 cups of curd / yogurt. You should be able to make a smooth batter with this. If necessary you may add some water.Don't make the batter very watery. Add a teaspoon of cooking soda to the batter. Mix the batter thoroughly and start filling the idli plates using a ladle. In place of soda bicarbonate, you can also use ENO salt (a whole packet can be used) and soon after mixing the contents, while the mixture is bubbling, you can fill the idli plates.You can make rava idlis without curd , with only soda , but the softness will be reduced.
10. You can place some pre-cooked peas, carrots and beans in the idli plates before pouring the batter over it.
11 Sprinkle cut coriander leaves over the poured batter.
13. Place the idlis plates in the stand and keep the stand in a cooker. Steam for 8 minutes.Steaming involves using the cooker without without the weight valve.
Remove the idli stand and lift the idli plates and spread them out so that the idlis can cool. Then use a spoon dipped in water before removing each idli.
Rava Idli goes best with coconut chutney, onion chutney or tomato chutney.