Monday, October 27, 2008

the Really easy Idli

Idlis are among the healthiest, easiest and without doubt the most liked breakfast for South Indians. There is some difference in the way Tamilians get their mix versus the way Andhra does its idli. This is the Andhra style of Idli making.
This page will be useful if you do make idlis regularly but get your batter from the store, readymade. If this is your first time with idlis, then it may take a few times of cooking to get the 'steaming' part right.


The ratio

1 cup Urad Dal

2 cups Idli Rava

Step 1

Roll up your sleeves

Wash & soak in water for 3 hours

Step 2

After three hours

Grind to a soft paste.

Avoid adding too much water while grinding it down

Wash the idli rava two to three times,

Squeeze out as much of the water as possible

Step 3

The batter

Mix the wet idli rava to the Urad dal paste.

Let it stand for 4 hours to allow fermentation

Step 4

After effects

You can continue to ferment it if you like your idlis particularly sour ( Many do!!).

Otherwise you can make the idlis now or refrigerate the batter

Step 5

Making the idlis

Add salt according to taste to the batter

Pour the batter into ‘idli patram’ and steam.

You can use a steamer

Alternately a pressure cooker without the weight works as a steamer !!

I use a pressure cooker into which I add 2 cups of water, place the idli rack, close the cover and heat it without the weight on.

Wait till the steam is really strong and then turnoff the fire. Generally takes about 10 minutes but you ll have to perfect the timing.

Serve idlis hot with coconut chutney, sambar or peanut chutney. And be prepared for second servings !!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the Really easy rajma curry

Rajma is a favorite at our place and goes very well with roti ,chapathi as well as rice

STEP 1 : Soaking and pressure cooking Rajma


Choose the light brown ones and skip the dark ones. The dark ones need prolonged cooking, and that’s not Really easy

250 g

Soak overnight in sufficient water. First thing in the morning drain away the water, rinse the soaked seeds well.
Pressure cook soaked rajma for atleast 20 minutes. Old kitchen wisdom advises against adding salt as that prevents satisfactory cooking of the rajma. Try cooking with added salt. It did not make too much of a difference for me

STEP 2 : The final preparation


2 tblsp

Cumin seeds

1/2 tsp

Onions, medium sized, cut into thin slices


Ginger –garlic paste

1 ½ tsp


2 tblsp


1, pureed


To taste


½ tsp

Coriander powder

1-2 tsp

Chilli powder

1 tsp

Garam Masala

½ tsp

Note: Some recipes use onion paste. I found this gives too strong a taste and I prefer to use chopped onions. Too much of tomato isn t too good, again going by my preferences !

Heat oil in a heavy pan. Add cumin seeds. Take care not to burn the cumin; 30 seconds should do.
Add onion and fry till transparent.
Add ginger garlic paste and mix well. If you have a good nose for things, it helps. Ensuring that the rawness of the ginger garlic leaves the pan is the best way to know you can move on. Other wise I would spend 3-4 minutes here.
Add curd and blend it in well.
Now add the tomato puree. This is again an important step and the trick is to cook the tomato well in the onion. Looking for the oil to separate from the mix is a dependable sign.

As you are waiting for that to happen, add the powders, coriander, chilli, turmeric and salt to the mix. ( If you ve pressure cooked rajma along with salt, then watch your salt now! I skip salt here.)
Now add the boiled Rajma and let it boil in the gravy on a slow flame for about 10 minutes. The rajma stock in the pressure cooker can be put to good use during the final cooking. Garam Masala for the final effect.

Another option is to add the gravy mix to the cooker and pressure cook for 4 minutes but I haven t tried this so far.

Use Kasoori methi once you get a hang of the cooking (advanced level!!)