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Thursday, June 24, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ B for Bajra Flour Idlis

These healthy idlis are made using ground pearl millet or bajre ka atta / bajra flour. Bajra / pearl millet / sajja, a whole grain has been grown from ancient times in Indian sub-continent and Africa and used in cooking, both in grain and ground forms. Bajra has been a poor man's staple food in many regions of India and only recently, bajra and other millets have been gaining popularity among the urban class for their nutritional value. 

Pearl millet is a gluten-free grain, nutritious, rich in protein, iron, and fiber making it a great alternative over rice and wheat. It is also a complex carbohydrate, which takes longer to digest thus help managing blood sugar spikes after meals, making it suitable for diabetics. These idlis are obviously gluten-free, vegan and makes a wholesome and filling meal, when served with a lentil side dish like a sambhar.
Flat breads and porridges / khichdis are the most common preparations in India using this grain. However many south Indian breakfast dishes can be given a healthy twist by incorporating millets into recipes. I have replaced a portion of rice with pearl millet / bajra flour in my idli recipe to make them healthier. I have also tried a version, replacing rice with bajra rava / coarsely ground pearl millet. I have not completely replaced the rice in both the cases since I am not sure the flour alone would lend structure to the idlis. These idlis are not very different texture or tastewise from the standard version and can be easily incorporated into one's diet.

Ingredients: (Yield - 27 idlis)
1/2 cup bajra flour / pearl millet flour
1/2 cup idli rice
1/2 cup  urad dal / skinned black gram
1 tbsp. poha / flattened rice 
1/4 tsp. methi / fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Water to grind (I used slightly less than 1.5 cups of water.)
* Rinse and soak idli rice, skinned black gram, flattened rice and fenugreek seeds in water for about 3 - 4 hours and drain the water. Let the water level be at least an inch above the level of the ingredients during the entire soaking period.
* Grind the soaked ingredients along with pearl millet flour / bajra flour adding salt and water as needed to form a thick, smooth batter. The final batter should not be runny. (I used less than 1.5 cup water to grind the ingredients.)
* Transfer the batter to a container and cover it. Allow the batter to rest in a warm place overnight. The batter may take anywhere between 8 to 16 hours to ferment depending upon the local weather. 
* Stir the fermented batter and fill the greased idli plates. 
* Heat water in a steamer / idli cooker / pressure cooker on medium flame. Place the idli stand in it and cover the lid. There is no need to put the pressure valve on if using the pressure cooker to steam idlis.
* Cook on low medium flame until idlis are done, about 20 minutes. (To check whether idlis are done, touch the surface of the idlis with wet fingers. If they are not sticky then that means idlis are cooked perfectly. If they are sticky, cook for some more time.)

* Turn off the stove and wait for at least 5 minutes and carefully remove the idli stand. Run a spoon around the edges of idli and remove them.
* Serve with a spicy chutney and / or sambhar. Our idlis were served with tomato chutney and sambhar.

The batter may not raise as much as the regular idli batter. Especially for those living in cold climates, if the batter smells sour and has not raised even after enough fermentation, add a little Eno fruit salt / baking soda to the batter and make idlis. (I haven't tried it but it will definitely be helpful.)


Srivalli said...

I am seriously loving your Idli series and this one with Bajra looks amazing..very nicely done Idlis Suma.

Harini R said...

Wonderful idea to use bajra flour in idlis. The platter looks very inviting.

rajani said...

Like I mentioned many times before, I love this idli series. It’s a great idea to substitute a portion of rice with millets, making it healthier but without compromising the structure and taste. That plate makes an excellent breakfast Suma!

Radha said...

I substitute rice with millets completely or in parts for healthy options. I like the idea of using the flour. I have some bajri flour and would love to try this idli. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

sushma said...

Bajra idly looks too good. yummy

Narmadha said...

Bajra idli looks so soft and love the texture of the idli. so healthy and nutritious as well