Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rava Idli

I don't lose my cool that often (so she says!) but when I do get upset my mind can churn over it for hours. The best way to calm me down is to plonk me in a bookshop. Of course, there will be a dent in my wallet when I come out, but atleast (her South Indian sensibilities say), it won't be because of adding more clothes to my wardrobe ;).

So, some weeks back when I was fuming because of the spouse's tendency to procrastinate, I walked into a bookshop and started browsing through the shelves. And as usual ended up at the cookery section. Found two youngsters who had parked themselves right in front of the measly three shelves of cookery books and were leafing (and I use this term very loosely) through some coffee table books - one on Interior Design and one on French Cuisine. Reminded me of the episode in Friends where Ross discovers that the section in the library which has the book he has authored, is frequented by young lovers wanting to make out, because no one ever goes there. My mood had only improved very slightly by then and I was annoyed that I had to reach over them to look at the books; they weren't fazed though, kept talking about this and that, the while turning the pages quite aimlessly.
After a few more attempts at browsing, I took a deep breath and decided not to let my own surly mood interrupt these two - didn't we all catch so many stolen moments in the most incongruous of places? I smiled as I thought of my own rendevous with hubby and how we used to wait for them - so what if today that might mean I would have to wait till he actually got around to making it on time ;).
Just as I straightened up to leave however, one title on the bottom shelf caught my eye. Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin - a book I had seen praised on many blogs. I picked it up immediately and after going through it for a few pages, decided to buy it. I left the store feeling much happier. She seems to have covered most of my favourite dishes and the recipes are just the home made versions we are used to. Simple instructions, basic ingredients and no complex, tweaked recipes. I agree though that its more Tamilian recipes as compared to South Indian recipes - there's not much representation from the other states here. But what she does do is describe classic Tamil recipes very well.

Last Saturday, while wondering what to do for breakfast, I got the book out and leafed through her tiffin recipes. And found the recipe for rava idli - now I have only ever had the MTR mix version and since it is so good, I never bothered trying to make it from scratch. For the past couple of months however, it hasn't been available in the markets, so I decided to try the recipe.

The end product exceeded all my expectations - I guess I didn't think it would turn out as good as a product which had been perfected after extensive lab tests. But I can't believe I could forget about the magic of fresh ingredients! The idlis were soft and oh-so- flavourful! Though the recipe didn't call for it, I let the semolina soak with the yoghurt and other ingredients for about an hour, so maybe that helped too. Rava idlis are also my 5 year old's favourite tiffin item and I often send it in her snack box to schoo, so its great the recipe worked.

Had the idlis with a hotel style "sideish" - a lovely tangy, spicy, curry made with tomatoes coconut - recipe to follow. Nirvana on a weekend.

Rava Idli (Chandra Padmanabhan - Dakshin)

Made 12-15 idlis

2 tbsp ghee
1 cup semolina (rava/sooji)

1/2 cup sour yoghurt (beaten a bit)
2 green chillies chopped
1 cup coriander leaves chopped
salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped cashew nuts

3 tsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
curry leaves

1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee and roast the semolina till golden. Cool
2. Mix the semolina with green chillies, yoghurt,salt and coriander leaves. Add about 1/2 cup water to make a thick batter of pouring consistency.
3. Heat 1 tsp ghee, fry the cashews and keep aside.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tsp ghee and add tempering ingredients. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the tempering and the cashew nuts to the batter.
5. Pour into an idli mould and steam in a pressure cooker (without the weight on) or in a large vessel, for 15 minutes.
6. Remove the mould from the cooker, cool and remove idlis. Serve hot with tomato curry (thakali kozhambu) or sambar or chutney.


Arch said...

Oh, Cant tell you how much your little story matches mine ! I was out that day too, at Crosswords, because I was sick of shopping for clothes and needed the retail therapy anyway, thanks to the never-ending travel S has been at the last couple of months !! Bought a lot of chick-lit, Indian authors, time pass read...Must try rava idlis, I still manage to get the MTR packet here, surprised you arent getting it - its in a new pack now, green coloured one...

Sayantani said...

my son loves this but I never get the perfect little fluffy ones. thanks for this recipe. between what variety rawa you used? here in bangalore we get at least 5-6 varieties and am always confused which one to use. I find the idli rawa a little coarse and it takes a lot of time to cook and also soaks much water. do we also rest the batter for sometime?

Miri said...

Sayantani, I use fine semolina - not idli rava. I rested the batter for about an hour, but even half an hour should do. Just make sure you use yoghurt which is a little sour..

sra said...

Oh Miri, the only books I seem to buy nowadays are cookbooks, unless I've forgotten to take one with me when I'm travelling and buy one at the airport. How do we store everything? So rather typical South Indian as I am, I buy clothes instead ... but wait, we need to store those too, right? I prefer to borrow from the library these days.

Enjoyed reading about your serendipitous rava idli!

Krishna said...

talking abt the MTR ready mix; have used the GITS ready mix extensively.. - the main usp being that mix with water 'n voila.. - no subjectivity of quality of curd, how sour, etc - 'n passes the standard quality check of the juniors palate...

Miri said...

Krishna - I tried the Gits, but wasnt a patch on the MTR.....:(

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