I was preserving one of my mom’s best dish for the new year . Oh ,what a pity, my modem went wrong on the new year day , just 10 days after its warranty period. Can you imagine? I spent 9 full days without browsing the blogs . mmm mm ….. That was good in a way. I could look at my daily routines in a different way.
Coming to the treasured recipe , this kurma (but we call it kuzhambhu) is perfect for Idlis. My brothers call it ‘duplicate kari kuzhambhu’, as it is much spicy and the taste immitates mutton kurma. (They eat meat.) For a vegetarian like me , it is like a feast to have it with steaming idlis.
Though, almost every one of the Indian bloggers has posted this, I feel it is good to share my mom’s secret for a ‘malli poo idly’. Yes, my daughter used to describe my mom’s idly this way , meaning it is as soft and white as jasmine flower.
Idly rice- 4 and 1/2 cups
Urad dall- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
Wash the rice twice and soak it with fenugreek seeds for 2-3 hours.
Wash the dall twice and soak it separartely for half an hour to one hour.
Grind the dall first. Add minimum water and sprinkle ice cold water for better frothing. The grinder should run for atleast 30 min. Take the dall out and grind the rice next. When the rice is little coarse, add enough salt , unload and mix well with your hands. Make sure the batter has the right consistency before fermenting. If you pour the batter from your hands, it should run down smoothly and slowly. After a thorough mixing, let it stand for 10- 12 hours. The batter would have risen good if it was in right consistency and had the right amount of salt.
Mix again well and pour in the idly molds and steam cook for 15 minutes. To check the doneness, just touch the idlis and they should not stick to your hands. Take out the molds from the stand and let it cool a while. Dip a spoon in water and use it to unmold the idlis. Hot and soft idlis are ready to be served with chutney, sambhar or kurma.
Please note :
* The ratio for rice and urad dall varies with the variety we use.
* Also it is true that if it is an aged dall and rice , it yeilds more batter.
* My mom has the conventional idli steamer, in which she covers the mold plates with a wet white cotton cloth instead of greasing with oil. It is my belief that it is the cloth that gives the ultra softness to the idlis.
* You can store this batter even for a week in the refrigerator, but always bring the batter to the room temperature before steaming for better results.
* The consistency and salt are the key factors for a perfect idli. If the batter is watery, the idli will not rise on steaming, on the other hand, if it is thick, the idli will be hard.
* You can store the cooked idlis in the refrigerator. When needed, steam it again in the cooker for hot and refreshed idlis. To reheat the idlis in the microwave oven, simply wet the idlis in running water, place them as a layer on a microwavable plate and cover with a wet paper towel and heat them for a couple of minutes.
* For a different redo of the idlis, crumble them and do upma . Find here a lemony version of idli upma .
Peppery potato kurma:
Potato- 2 number
Oil – 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Chana dall /Gram dall- 1/4 cup
Medium sized onion-1 number
Medium sized tomato – 1 number
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Pepper corns- ½ tsp
Ginger- 2 inch piece
Red chilli powder- 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/8 tsp
Turmeric powder- few pinches
Finely chop the potato. Take the ingredients in the ‘to grind’ list and grind with little water and make as a coarse paste. Heat oil in a non stick skillet, sputter fennel seeds, add the ground paste, keep stirring continuously till the raw smells fades away. Once the masala is sauted well and oil oozes out, add the chopped potato and stir slightly. Add enough water and salt according to taste. You can test the spice level at this point.
Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker and cook till you hear the first whistle. The curry thickens very well after cooking . If it is too thick , dilute with water and bring it to another boil.
Note: If you hesitate to use the liberal amount of oil asked for, the chana dal will stick (even) to the (non stick) pan and get burnt , spoiling the whole taste. Also stirring continously is as important as the oil.
Go ahead and try this, I am sure this will be in your favourite list soon.
Updated on Jan 21st :
As Gini wanted to know, I am adding a picture to illustrate how to line the idli mold with damp cotton cloth.