Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Idli / Dosa Batter

This is something I wanted to post when I get the fermentation process right. I've never been able to get it right. Especially in winters. I've tried this method twice till now and it has come out right both the times.

When I was due to deliver, my parents came to Glasgow about a month is advance. My father stayed for about 2 weeks and left before my delivery. He came back after my delivery. Since he was coming back in such a short time, he didn’t have much luggage. He asked me if I wanted anything. I thought I might never get this chance again and told him to get the Ultra table top grinder.

Its been with me ever since (about 2 and a half years now) and makes my life easy when I have to make Idli / Dosa batter. To top it, my mother gave me a recipe so I can use the same batter for Idlis and Dosas. I've been using this recipe for a while now and the idlis and dosas come out really well.

I used to use yeast for fermentation. But I didn't like the taste. We did get used to it as we wanted to have dosas, but I wasn't satisfied as V was not enjoying his dosas. He loved them when we went to India in October. But here, we had to force him to eat.

Recently, I thought I should try not using yeast. When I made dosas, me, P and even V saw the huge difference in taste. We didn’t force V to eat. It was more like the dosas they make at home in India. Although the fermentation process takes a longer, we decided we will not use yeast anymore.

That's the dish I use for fermentation. The batter is fermented in this photo.
Here's how I make my batter:

1 cup Urad Dal
5 cups Rice – I use long grain
1 cup Thick Poha
2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

  1. Soak Poha and Fenugreek Seeds together in about 3 cups of water for 4 to 6 hours. Wash Rice and Urad Dal and soak them together for 4 to 6 hours. I sometimes soak for around 8 hours also.
  2. Grind the Poha and Fenugreek Seeds first.
  3. Once they are ground to a smooth paste, add the Rice and Urad Dal. Add 2 cups of water and let it grind to a smooth batter. This takes me about 40 mins.
  4. Preheat the oven to 100 deg C.
  5. Once the batter is done, remove into a huge dish. Remember, once fermented, it’ll more than double in volume.
  6. Put the dish in the oven and keep the oven light switched on over night or for atleast 10 hours.
  7. Try to refrain from opening the oven door frequently as this will cause the heat loss.
  8. Your batter is fermented once it has become 2 and a half to 3 times in volume.
  9. If you take out the top layer, you should see the batter is light and fluffy.
  10. Mix well so the air comes out from the batter.
  11. You can remove and put it in the fridge now.
  12. I like my batter to be a bit sour. So I put it back into the pre heated oven with the light on for another 10 hours or so.
Fluffy batter

Note 1: This is a long process and this is the way I follow it to get the taste we like.
Note 2: If you are using a mixie, you might not want to use so much rice as this might burn your mixie.
Note 3: Some friends replace rice with rice flour for dosas. In such cases, the ratio should be 1:6 for Urad Dal to Rice Flour. I am not sure about this as I haven't tried it. But my friends who have used this combination say it works fine for dosas. I do not know anything for Idlis.
Note 4: In another option, you can use Urad Dal Flour and Rice Flour.The ratio should be 1:2. Again, I haven't tried this and this method is mainly for dosas.

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