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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rava Idli / Semolina Idli

Usually the store bought mixes can never compete with homemade stuff in quality or taste. However MTR's rava idli mix is an exception and no homemade mix can beat this. It is obvious of course, since MTR is the creator of rava idli mix.
MTR is such an iconic brand that it hardly needs any introduction among its Indian customers. The abbreviation MTR stands for "Mavalli Tiffin Rooms", a famous restaurant in Bangalore. And for the non locals, the word MTR is synonymous with the delicious instant food mixes the company markets under the same brand name. I had read about the man behind this giant food empire once on a Kannada website and thought about sharing it here.

The person who was responsible for the growth and the tremendous success and popularity of MTR is late Mr. Yagnyanarayana Maiya. Born in a poor family as one of the 9 kids, he could not pursue education because of his family circumstances. He began cooking at weddings and other functions when no choice was left and thus began his career in the food industry.
In the meantime, two of his brothers who were also cooks started "Brahmin's coffee club" on Lalbagh road, Bangalore in 1924. It became quite popular in a short period of time but when one of his brothers passed away, Mr. Yagnanarayana stepped in, to fill in his place.

Besides being an expert cook, he was strictly disciplined and honest in his work. He had set standards for himself that his hotel would be not one among others but it would be the topmost. He gave utmost importance to hygeine and the taste of the food. To him, nothing was important than customers' happiness. He would diligently pick all the ingredients needed for cooking at his hotel.

During 1950,  his European tour to study the restaurants there, had further strengthened his beliefs in serving hygienic, high standard food to his customers. After his trip, he revamped his hotel,  changed the name to "Mavalli Tiffin Rooms" which became popular as MTR.
One of the interesting tidbits I read about him was he would never allow to use the rice batters ( like the idli batter) after 9 am since it starts to go sour at that time. He would throw away the batter in the gutter instead of serving his customers sour idlis.

Being a creative person, he came up with this rava idli mix during second world war when there was shortage of rice. Up until then people knew only about rice - urad dal idlis.

Ingredients: (Yield 16 idlis)
Semolina / Sooji / Rava - 1.5 cups
Salt to taste
2 - 3 Tbsp fresh/frozen green peas
2 - 3 Tbsp grated carrot
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 to1.5 tsp baking soda
1 & 3/4 cups yogurt (Fatfree yogurt will do. Half the quantity of yogurt can be substituted with water but don't skip the yogurt. )
For tadka:
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp chana dal / Bengal gram
 1 Tbsp urad dal / Black gram
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp cashews
 1/2 tsp grated ginger
 Few minced curry leaves
1 - 2 finely minced green / red chillies (optional)

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the ginger. Fry until it turns golden brown and then add the other tadka ingredients.
2. When the dals turn reddish, add semolina and fry on medium flame until it starts to change color. Add salt and mix well. Let cool.
* If idlis are not prepared immediately, this mix can be stored for months in a closed container. Add baking soda while making the batter.
3. To the mixture that has come to room temperature, add yogurt (or yogurt + water) and baking soda and mix well. Leave the mixture to rest for about 5 - 10 minutes. Then add the grated carrot, peas and cilantro to the batter and combine well.

4. Grease the idli plates and pour the batter into idli moulds. Steam them until done.
Serve with saagu as they do in Bangalore restaurants or with chutney or sambhar.

Rava idli is my "most favorite" among idlis and so, I thought of posting it on last day of BM#11 under the theme "idlis". Check here to find out what my fellow marathoners are cooking during this marathon.

And my posts during this BM with "Mix and Match" themes.
Lunchbox - Quinoa Khichdi
Bihari Cusine - Thekua
Kids Delight - Color Palette - Cilantro Carrot Rice
Eggless Baking - Eggless Brownie Cookies
Holiday Cooking - Eggless Almond Moon Cookies
Preps & Preserves - Chhena & Chhena Halwa



Kalpana Sareesh said...

Very int info on MTR n this is perfect batter.. n yummy looking idlis..

Vardhini said...

Good to know about the MTR mix and the idlis looks soft and yummy.

Event: Sinful Delights
Event: Stuffed Paratha

Cool Lassi(e) said...

I gave up on this after giving it umpteen shots. May I will try your recipe. Looks so perfect!

Srivalli said...

Such an interesting read about MTR and its founder!..thanks for sharing Suma..I love rava idlis too..and your plate looks yum!..So glad you joined me for the BM and it's been a wonderful exp having you for all the editions.

Wish you and your family a wonderful year ahead!

Priya said...

Super delicious idlis,feel like having with spicy coconut chutney.Happy 2012 wishes dear...

Loveforfood said...

Eat great and lose weight

Gayathri Kumar said...

Nice write up Suma! Idlis look delicious..

The Pumpkin Farm said...

platter look divine

The Pumpkin Farm said...

lovely platter

Harini said...

rava idli happens to be our family fav too!

Prathima Rao said...

Soft & yummy idlis!!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

kitchen queen said...

delicious and soft idlis.I too use MTR rava idli mix since the idlis come out perfect and lovely.

simply.food said...

Soft and spongy idlis very delicious.

Smitha said...

quick and instant alternative to th eregular idlis...thats what I do when I dont have regular idli batter at home!...
Happy New Year Suma!

Chef Mireille said...

love the history with the recipe

Pavani said...

I love MTR mixes and masalas. Thanks for telling the story behind MTR.
I love home-made rava idlis too.. Yours look fluffy and delicious.