Monday, August 17, 2009

Soft Spongy Idlis and The Tag!

I have not had a very great relationship with idlis....I seemed to be playing hide and seek with really good idlis for the longest time - they'd hide and I would seek!! Not that I was too bothered - as it is, making idlis at home is too much of a hassle - what with all the grinding that is involved. And so I was more than happy to just go a restaurant whenever we felt like having idlis.

But then, one day, my little one demanded idlis. No, she didn't want to go to the nearby restaurant, she wanted them made at home - in the pressure cooker.

And there began my search for the perfect soft and spongy idli. I first started by adjusting the rice to urad dal ratio. The idlis then turned out just fine...but still, not great. Not like soft pillows or wispy clouds and all such euphemisms that have been bestowed on idlis.

And then one day, while browsing the many blogs, I came across Ramya's blog. She suggested using sago for really soft idlis. And boy, did that work!!

No longer elusive, my idlis come out (like soft pillows and wispy clouds) soft and spongy every single time!


Rice: 4 cups (I use ponni rice)
Urad Dal: 3/4 cup
Sago/sabudana: 1/2 cup
Methi seeds: 1 tbsp
(do use your own ratio, this combination currently works perfectly for me. Idlis, I have realised are very, shall we say, capricious - rice varieties, water and temperature variations all affect the final result.)

Soak rice, sago and methi seeds together for about 6 hours.
Soak the urad dal for 3 hours. An hour before grinding, transfer it to the fridge.

Grind the soaked rice first. You don't need a smooth paste, a slightly coarse texture (like semolina) is good enough.

Grinding the urad dal till it is silken smooth is the key to good idlis. You know that you've ground the urad dal enough when it feels ever so slightly warm to the touch - remember, you'll be taking it straight from the fridge before grinding it.

When grinding both, the rice and the urad dal, add the water a bit by bit. The final consistency should be neither too thick or too watery.

Mix the two batters together and add salt. Cover and leave it undisturbed for about 12 - 15 hours, at the end of which the batter would have risen considerably. Sometimes, it also tends to overflow, so do use a large vessel!!

To make the idlis, grease the idli moulds and drop the batter into them.

Pour about an inch of water into the pressure cooker and bring it to a boil. Put the idli stand into the cooker and shut the lid - without the weight. Turn up the flame to high and let it steam for 7 minutes after which lower the flame to the lowest setting for another 2 minutes.
Take the stand off the cooker immediately, unmould the idlis after a couple of minutes and eat them right away!!

Shri passed me these awards with a tag. Thanks Shri, I really enjoyed doing this tag :))

Here we go:

What is your current obsession?
Glass painting

What are you wearing today?
Shorts and a tee

What's for dinner?
Dal, roti and tindli ki sabzi.

What’s the last thing you bought?
If we are talking edibles, then beer last night.

What are you listening to right now?
Nursery Rhymes.

What do you think about the person who tagged you?
She seems like someone I'd love to meet - I mean there are some questions here, the answers to which make me feel like I'd hit it off with her!!

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Queenstown, NZ

What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Sun screen, sun glasses and cotton clothes.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Ladakh, India

Which language do you want to learn?
Mandarin. My daughter's learning it at school and I am already dreading the day when she will converse in the language and I will be clueless as to what she is saying.
Psst...I used to do that with my mom when I started learning French!!

What’s your favourite quote?
If He got you to it, He will get you through it.

Who do you want to meet right now?
My sister

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?
There's this ages old powder blue dress that I just love.

What is your dream job?
Hosting a food based travel show.

What’s your favourite magazine?
National Geographic

If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

What do you consider a fashion faux pas? (Faux pas mean error in etiquette.. )
White trousers and....ahem, coloured undies.

Who are your style icons?
No one

Describe your personal style?
Classy and Elegant

What are your favorite movies?
Shawshank Redemption and Usual Suspects.

What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?
I don't use cosmetics too often and I can live without them but these are the 3 that I would highly recommend: SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence, MAC eyeliner and Hermes Rose Ikebana in perfumes.

What inspires you?
Perseverance and a never say die attitude.

What do you try to cook when you have cooking blues (When you feel real lazy to cook some thing)"?
Omelettes. They are so easy to make and always so satisfying.

Which 3 places do you like to visit/vacation?
If I can help it, other than Ladakh, I wouldn't want to go to the same place again, considering that there are so many more I'd like to go. These three places are the ones I have been wanting to go for a long time: Everest Base Camp, Lake Manasarovar and Machhu Pichhu.

What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?

What Kitchen gadget would you like to own?
The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Which is the one gadget/utentsil without which you just can’t work?
My Knife

What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
whine my heart out - the poor husband has to bear the brunt of it!

What is the meaning of your name?
;) all in good time! (no that's not the meaning of my name!!)

Which other blogs you love visiting?
Seriously, you want me to name about 100+ blogs here?!!

Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Cakes and Ice creams. I love them both, so I'd have to say sizzling hot brownie with a scopp of vanilla ice cream!

Favorite Season ?

What is your funniest cooking disaster?
That one time when I left something to cook on the gas and dozed off. Got woken up by a phone call, sniffed burning food and bitched about how careless people were to let food burn like that to the friend who had called only to discover that....

What is your comfort food?
Tomato Saar

What is the one dish that you love to make over and again?
I am the kind that actually dislikes making the same thing over and over again; that said, I do tend to make a simple chicken curry pretty often.

Who inspired you to start blog?
Browsing through all the blogs in the blogosphere!

Which 2 blogger friends would you like to invite to your place and what would you like to cook for them?
I'd like to invite not 2, but all the members of the Book Club. Coffee, cakes and conversation - oh what a great thing that would be!!

Respond and rework – answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own. Then tag eight or ten other people.

Well, I actually enjoyed answering all the questions, and so I pass the awards and the tag without any changes to:
Bindiya, Poornima, Bergamot, Ann, Soma and JZ.


  1. Aqua,Your idlis look real divine with the color and the spongy texture..Adding sago is new to me..

  2. Lovely Idlis!Great reading your tag and yes, I think we do have similarities like the movies and very funny disaster indeed!

  3. heyy thxx aqua for tagging me, loved all u said bout urself!! and btw will try those idlis asap!

  4. Idlis look so soft and pillowy aqua , Sago is an interesting addition and a lovely meme too. Im looking forward to read about pomegranate soup here !

  5. WOnderful fluffy idlys. I'm been lucky with idly's so far. Had them turn soft form the first time I made them.COngrats on the awards.

  6. Idlies look great with the chutney! And nice reading about you.

  7. Nice reading the tag dear..esply the disaster one..;)
    Idli is something I am yet to try at home..looks perfect..:)

  8. sago in idlis... that's something new for me too. nice reading about you..and thanks for tagging me

  9. Wow,i too had an eye on those idlies,will sure try in future!

  10. The idlis have come out very was good to read about you.

  11. Great idlis Aqua, adding sago is something new. Great rading ur tag and thanks for tagging me.

  12. Whenever mom makes Idlies at home, we start off by saying "Deadly Idly" :-D but these look "Heavenly Idly" :-) ... A very well answered Tag.

  13. Your idlis do look good. Mine come out hard :(

  14. Congratulations on your award, was good to read about you, those idlis look delicious, i have never tried adding sago, def will try next time

  15. presentation is just superb...i tried making iddli's several times..but never succeeded in it..wen i make dosa, its coming out perfectly.. but alwayz problem with idli.. it becomes very had and if i throw it to someone they will die.. i dont know from where i can get the correct rice for idli in maharashta..

  16. My entire family loves Idli! i have never used sago, but i do use less rice & more dal.

    Thanks for the award/tag.:-)


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