Friday, January 8, 2010

How to make a perfect Idli / dosa batter at home

Ingredients for the Dosa are the same as for Idlis. As we all do here grind the batter , make Idlis the first day and from next day you can make Dosas and Uttappams. You can also grind batter just for making dosas making sure that you use less Urad dal / Black gram dal.

Idli / Dosa Batter Ingredients:
3 cups Idli Rice / Par boiled Rice
3/4 cup whole deskinned Urad Dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsps Salt / as per taste

How to soak the rice and dal
Clean and wash the Idli rice at least three times in running water and soak the rice for at least 4-5 hours . Keep water at least  an inch above the level of rice in the vessel.
Wash the dal and fenugreek seeds together for three times in running water and then soak. This mixture need not soak for more than half an hour.  So soak this mix four hours after you soak the rice.

How to grind the batter
Wet Grinder will be the best for grinding the batter. You have to wash and clean the grinder pan, fix it up and then put the dal and fenugreek mixture little by little as the grinder starts running. Add the remaining water also little by little. Urad dal should fluff up nicely as and when you sprinkle water.
Let the grinder run till you can see small bubbles appear in the batter. Urad dal will also start flying inside the grinder. If you touch the batter it will be the soft and smoothest batter.
Stop the grinder and remove the dal batter in to a container which can hold about at least 2 litres of the batter.
After removing the dal, fix up the grinder pan again, add the rice little by little , in to the pan while it is running.
The rice would have enough wayer since it has soaked for more than 4 hours. Sprinkle a little to keep the rice and the grinder stone moving continuously. Push down the rice stuck at the handles every now and then, using a plastic spatula.
As and when the rice gets ground, remove the vessel from the grinder and add it to the Urad dal batter.
Leave the batter for about 10-15 minutes. Mix in the salt ( rock salt would be the best) with a ladle, fold in the batter nicely as you would a cake mix.  You have to see that both the batters Dal and Rice mix  and blend nicely. Cover it up tightly either with a plate or the lid of the container, leave it to ferment.

How to find out if the Batter is fermented.
After about 6 hours you can open the container and see for yourself if the batter has fermented.  If it has, then the batter would have risen up to at least one third of the level above where you left it. If not leave it without touching the batter,  for a 2 hours more.
If the climate is cold outside the batter will not ferment fast. You might have to cover it up with a woollen shawl or keep it in the oven over night with just the light on or near the voltage stabilizer, where you are sure that the temperature will be warm.

Dos and don'ts  to know while preparing the batter
1. Do not add excess water while grinding the batter. Dosa will become difficult to prepare and it will also become very thin and papery.
2. Urad Dal can run in the grinder for a long time but not rice. Rice will become hot then, the dosa prepared will not be tasty.
3. Always grind the dal first and then rice and let the dal get frothy while grinding. You can add more water when you mix the batter, if you do not get the correct consistency.
4. While fermenting the batter do not keep the batter out in the open for more than 8 hours if you are in the tropical climate. The batter will become sour. It will be better for you to ferment the batter overnight and refrigerate in the morning.
If you are in the cold places it would be better for you to ferment the batter in the day time as it will be slightly warmer. Grind the batter in the morning and leave the batter where you get sunlight, till the evening. The batter should have risen by that time.
5. Do not use yeast or baking powder for this batter to ferment. You will lose the natural taste.
6. If you are trying the batter for the first time, use half the ingredients  first and make the batter.
7. You can use the prepared batter for making Idlis first  and Dosas as well.

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