Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thiranga cocktail idlis

At one point of  time idlis were something I had wanted to run away from; for in the college hostel mess it used to be a regular for three days a week and sometimes hard, sometimes under steamed and always with some coconut chutney where the water and the coconut had fought with each other.
To add to it all my mother-in-law has them for her breakfast and her night dinner, thus we were forced to have them every morning save the weekends or the days the batter shall take the form of dosa. But it was my mother-in-law's idlis that I would miss when I first went to live elsewhere. The type of rice available was not suitable for idli. Her idlis are the softest I have ever had. She times her grinding like a science experiment and her steaming is just perfect. She had a large size wet grinder and I was only allowed to help her lift the grinding stone after the process is complete for fear that anyone but her will mess the consistency.
I never bought a wet grinder and would make do with the heavy duty mixer grinder until a decade ago. I followed her measurements and did my own time calculations ( which now I have all forgotten and do not adhere to). Now I can judge the quality of rice and / or the urad dhal and alter the proportions too. We still have idli for breakfast about once or twice a month.
I would not have made a post for idli  because it is such a staple South Indian recipe that everyone does it well. But the other day someone having had the idli at my place sent me a mail requesting the rice and urad measures and grinding method. So I decided to post here. Even then plain idlis are not as cheerful as these to celebrate India! On the eve of the Indian Independence Day this is my tribute to my country.

Basic Idli Batter:
3  heaped cups par boiled rice
1 cup level urad dhal
3 teaspoons fenugreek
Salt to taste

Soak the fenugreek seeds in water.Wash the rice and dhal well and soak them separately. Rice shall be soaked for about 6 to 8 hours while the urad dhal needs to be soaked for just about half an hour to forty minutes.
The fenugreek can also be soaked for so long as the rice.
If you soak the urad dhal at the same time as the rice, place it in the refrigerator until the rice is ready.
When the ingredients are ready for grinding, place the fenugreek and the soaked water in the grinder. Run the grinder until the fenugreek grinds well and add some water to it. The paste will be frothy after some minutes.
Drain the water from the urad dhal and add to the grinding. Add mall quantities of water at intervels and grind the urad to a fluffy batter. Once ground, the urad will be light and will float if a small portion is dropped in some water. Transfer the urad paste to the bowl in which you would store the batter.
Grind the rice in a similar manner until the rice is slightly coarse just short of being done fine.
Mix the rice and the dhal paste in a batter. Add the salt and mix well.

See to that the utensil is large enough to allow room for fermentation. Allow 10 hours to overnight for fermentation.
Just before pouring on the idli moulds, give the batter a brisk stir. Grease the idli mould with little oil and spoon the batter to fill the dent.
Place them in a steamer. Allow a steady steam to flow and reduce the flame a bit to regulate the flow.
Steam for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the steamer and allow to cool a bit before scooping out the well steamed idlis.

Serve with coconut chutney, thakkali vengayam chutney and sambhar.

For the cocktail idlis, the batter is  poured into the mini size moulds and steamed. Once removed they can be deep fried with added condiments or served with chutney of choice.

For my thiranga, I have made use of the sambarapuli (coriander chutney) for the green and the ellu milagai podi for the orange.

Mix the dry coriander chutney and the milagai podi with small quantity of oil separately. Gently roll the mini idlis in these until they are well coated with the chutney/ podi.
Arrange them in small bamboo skewers and serve with chutney of choice.
This is ideal for parties as starters especially when children are in your guest list. They will certainly relish the taste and even if they refuse to eat further, these will take care o their hunger.


  1. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY Lataji!!!! So Cute!!!! Amazing, love the creativity!!! Will definitely try for kuttu, may be with less spice!!!!

  2. Happy Independence day.. Nice colorful mini idlies...Perfect for snack too


  3. Wow wow wow lovely and cute flag coloured cocktail idlis Lata. 3 cheers to our country's independence day.

  4. Wow wow wow awesome and cute our flag coloured idlis Lata. 3 cheers to our country's independence.

  5. I used to have idlis for breakfast everyday too... something that was fast and easy for my mom to make in the morning rush besides packing lunch for all of us and heading to office herself and that made me detest them.. but like you that was among the first few things I missed when I moved to Singapore :)
    The kutti, colorful idlis look so pretty.

  6. lovely one... making me hungry

  7. Wow, colourful idlis for independence day and you have well explained the procedure to grind the batter.

  8. awesome!
    Happy independence day...

  9. I ve now resorted to 2 cups idlyrice, i cup sona masoori and 1 cup urad soaked togethe for 4 to 5 hrs, and ground. It gets smooth within 12 mins of wet grinding, both idly and soft or crisp dosas are possible.

  10. This is such an original idea, Lata. I'm used to seeing Independence Day burfis, dhoklas, anything in layers, but don't remember seeing this, they are very cute. I'm having great fun seeing all the Independence Day creations in the food blogs.

  11. Beautiful Lata.
    One can relate completely to your memories of Idlis!
    It was not a favourite and we always prefered Dosa.
    Having idli's was always conditional: only with ishtu, only with unda chutney.
    And now we crave the softness and flavour of those very items.
    I miss the matta-rice idli's.
    Loved the presentation and crave the ellu-podi idlis! :-)

  12. wow..good idea..will make some colourful mini idlis for my son ..am sure that would tempt him to eat..

  13. Delicious! Mouth is watering!!

  14. I liked your variation of rolling them in respective color chutney for colors..Orange color was easy as we roll in milagai podi..Never thought for green..We thought alike,gud fun na making these cocktail idlis

  15. Wow! eventhough idlis are not many peoples favourite the way you have presented is so delicious and inviting!

  16. Very nice. Just saw another tri-colour idli, where the chutney was added to the batter and steamed. This would taste amazing since the podi/chutney seems great. And indeed a nice starter and healthy snack for kids.

  17. Loved the cute idlies in various colors. awesome mam :)

  18. Cute idlis reflecting the colors of our National Flag well!! Delectable clicks :) Awesome blog and am happy to follow you :)
    Today's Recipe - Soft Coconut Burfi / Delicate Coconut Balls
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Lata Raja.