This savoury cake is called 'Idli' in India. The spongy cake served with coconut chutney makes my family's favourite breakfast.
The fermentation rate depends on the temperature of the surroundings. If you are living in a cold country, Keep the batter in an unheated oven with only the oven lights on. Always keep the batter in a large vessel to give it space to rise when fermenting.
The fermented batter can be refrigerated and can be used for up to 3-4 days. We usually make a lot of batter and refrigerate for the next day. Before using, keep outside for 15-20 minutes to bring it to room temperature.
Ingredients 3 cups of white rice (raw or parboiled)
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 cup black gram lentils
1 tsp fenugreek seed (optional)
Water as needed
Salt to taste
Wash the white rice and black gram lentils. Soak the rice in water for 6-8 hours. Soak the black gram along with fenugreek seeds for 4-6 hours.
After soaking, drain the black gram with fenugreek seed and rice from the water. Put the rice, black gram and cooked rice in a grinder. Add water to the level of the ingredients in the grinder. Grind to make a smooth, fluffy and medium thick batter. Transfer to a large bowl. Do this step in small batches.
After grinding, stir the whole batter with a spoon to mix well. Cover and keep the batter in a warm place. Let it ferment for 8-9 hours. Don't use an air-tight lid or container.
After the batter is fermented, the batter will double and rise. So always use a large bowl or vessel. Now add salt and mix well with a ladle.
Brush a steamer mould with oil. Add a ladle full of batter into the mould. Steam for 15- 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, insert a toothpick to see if the cake is cooked well. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, steam cook for a few more minutes.
Now remove the mould from the steamer. Transfer the cakes to a plate. Serve hot with coconut chutney.