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Vegetarian Food:Idlis
2005-02-17
Name: Kevin Tighe hi,
i really like idlis, so i bought a mix-package at the indian supermarket. unfortunately, the directions are a bit vague. it says to mix it w/water or curd, and let it rest before use.

well, it doesn't say how to shape them. how do you get them in those little disk shapes that puff up in the center? is there a form or a press you use? or do you cut them in flat circles and they puff up when cooking? or do you form them w/your hand?

then, how do you cook them? i think they are steamed, but it has no directions on anything like that. how long do you steam them? or do you fry them in ghee? (they always look as white as bao, the chinese dumplings, i don't think they have been fried) or baked? how long do you steam them? 5 minutes? 30 minutes? i have no idea.

the brand i have is 'melam instant iddly/dosai mix from cochin, kerala, if that helps.

also, when it says to set aside for 8 to 10 hours before use...is this in the refrigerator or at room temperature? is a yeast action happening to help it rise during this time like with bread? do you first form the idlis before setting aside, or have the batter in a large bowl?

also, it says to add 1 1/2 cups of water to the mix. is this 12 ounces (375 ml)? i have a feeling that 1 cup of water in india is not equal to 250 ml's/8 ounces. putting in the wrong amount of water could drastically change the consistency of the final product.

for all these reasons i have not opened my box of idli mix for fear of making a mess that would be completely inedible.

thanks much,
kevin
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2005-02-26
#1
Name: dipti
Subject:  great
hi kevin its great ! and i would like to thank swati 'coz i got to learn a few things
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2005-02-23
#2
Name: Swati
Subject:  Idlis
Hi KEvin,
The secret is in proper fermentation. I think u r doing evrything else fine. And idea for this. after mixing the batter, pre-heat ur oven to 325 and switch it off. Keep ur batter inside then. Leave it for overnight, morning it'll ve good to go. Just grease ur japanese cups with any oil lightly b4 pouring the batter. Staem for 15 to 18 mins. With 10 mins on high and then steam in low heat.

If u r planning to get different mix, then try GITS idly mix. Think they are quite good.

Try ur idly and let us know how they come out.

cheers,
Swati
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2005-02-24
#3
Name: Kevin
Subject:  success
dipti & swati!

i am eating an idli right now as i am typing, and it came out perfectly.
thank you both so much.

yes, this time i kept the bowl of idli mix in an unlit gas oven (the pilot light keeps it at about 102F, perfect for yeasted bread dough to rise). the time before i had it on the kitchen counter. well, overnight the kitchen was only about 60F (12C or so), so that prevented any fermentation.

mmm, it is really delicious. i can taste the slight twang of the sourdough yeast or whatever the fermentation is. i melted some butter over it with a little salt. very nice. i am thinking it would be good with butter and jam or butter and maple syrup, too. i've only had them with dinner before...and am eating them now for my breakfast. i LIKE these for breakfast! ooo, i think they would be good with grated cheese/paneer/etc inside, too. like pao de queijo in brazil (cheese bread)...wait, idlis, i think, often have curd inside, right? o yes, i can see that would be delicious. i haven't had that type yet, tho.

thanks much. i feel like i am off a new adventure exploring different ways of eating these. i knew i liked them when i first had them about 4 years ago.
:-)
kevin
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2005-02-22
#4
Name: kevin
Subject:  idlis
hi dipti,

well, i made 4 idlis. i decided to not use the whole package, as i may need to experiment a bit. good thing i did. they came out horribly. they never rose or fermented or got bubbles or anything. when i steamed them they came out like thick damp clay.

i had to laugh. really.

maybe they weren't warm enough to ferment or something while sitting overnight.

i am going to try it again. this time i might let them ferment in the bowl placed in an unlit oven. the pilot light keeps it at a nice temp. if that doesn't work, i may try adding baking powder to one batch and yeast to the next batch.

o, for the forms, i used little japanese dishes that are about the same size and shape as an idli. they fit perfectly into my steamer.

wish me luck! (i think i'm gonna need it!!!)
:-)
kevin
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2005-02-23
#5
Name: kevin
Subject:  dipti...gits idli mix
thanks, dipti,
i think that's the best idea i've heard all day (abt getting the other type of mix)
i will do that.
kevin
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2005-02-23
#6
Name: dipti
Subject:  good idea
hey tell u what save u'r self all that trouble and get u'r self gits idli mix which u will get at any indian store and it is a ready mix .u can prepare idlis in 20 mins no need to wait overnite and they come out really well
i do the same sometimes and all the method is writen 2
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2005-02-18
#7
Name: dipti
Subject:  idlis
hi kevin to make idlis u need a special equipment called idli stand,with 2/3 plates it is something like an eggpoacher with holes.u pot the batter in the mould and steam it for 10-15 mins .u can chk if they r done by inserting a toothpick or knife and when it comes out clean it is done.as in a cake,to set aside leave the batter in the bowl for fermentation,and finally 1 cup of water in india also means the standard 250ml cup v use too the standard measures.just add water little by little though 'coz u r doing it for the 1st time.it shld resemble a cake batter
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2005-02-19
#8
Name: dipti
Subject:  idlis
hi do let me know how the idlis turned out.u need to put sone water in a container and heat it then put the container containing the idli batter into it
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2005-02-19
#9
Name: dipti
Subject:  glad
i'm glad i could help u
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2005-02-18
#10
Name: Kevin
Subject:  idlis... mystery solved
thanks, dipti,
that makes sense. i didn't know there was a special stand & form for steaming them. i do have a steamer. somehow i'll figure out (or buy) some little forms for putting them in there. now i understand why the directions just stopped before the cooking process. its understood how to cook them.

and thanks for the info on the cup. i have seen 'cup' mean anything from 4 ounces, 6 ounces, 8 ounces, 10 ounces in different countries. (125, 200, 250, 300 ml)

i do appreciate it. i think i might make them this weekend!

Thanks much,
kevin
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