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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Barnyard Millet Dosa / Oodhala Dosa

Barnyard millet is a healthy ingredient that would prove beneficial to include in one's diet. This pseudo cereal which has a low glycemic index is gluten-free, low in calories, and a good source of iron and fiber. It is easy to incorporate it in Indian cuisine even if one is not used to it and it can replace rice in many of the dishes. This is a popular ingredient during fasting in certain regions of India as cereal grains are not allowed during the period. 
This is one of my favorite millets to substitute in south Indian style breakfast dishes as it can replace rice easily. Today's barnyard dosa are a healthy twist to the traditional dosa recipe which is prepared with a fermented batter of rice and black gram. This is one of those millet recipes one can try if one is skeptical towards millets or new to millet cooking. These dosas are similar to traditional version, texture and tastewise and none would be the wiser. These dosas can be served for breakfast / dinner along with coconut chutney and sambhar for a wholesome meal. 
Ingredients: (Yield - 12 dosa)
1 cup sanwa / barnyard millet
1/4 cup urad dal / skinned black gram 
1 tbsp. chana dal / split chickpeas / 
2 tbsp. poha / flattened rice
1/2 tsp. methi /fenugreek seeds 
1 tsp. salt
About 1/2 cup water to grind
Oil to make dosas
* Add millet, skinned black gram, split chickpeas, flattened rice, fenugreek seeds and rinse twice with water and drain.
* Soak them in water for 3 - 4 hours. Drain the water used to soak before grinding. 
* Add the soaked ingredients and salt to a blender / grinder and grind finely adding water as required to form a thick, pourable consistency batter.
* Transfer the batter to a container, cover and let it ferment in a warm place overnight or for more time if living in a cold place.
* Heat a griddle and pour a ladleful batter at the center and spread it thinly with the back of the ladle. (I made medium sized, thick ones but the dosas are made thinner and griddle sized.) Drizzle oil around the edges and cook until the surface appears dry. 
* Flip the dosa and cook on the other side as well for few seconds.
* Remove it with a spatula and repeat the dosa making process.
* Serve them warm with chutney of your choice.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, June 25, 2021

'Foxtail Millet' Green Mango Rice / Korrala Mamidi Pulihora / Navane Mavinakayi Chitranna

Rice is a chief crop of south India both in terms of production and consumption. Obviously there are plenty of main dishes made with rice in the region. Mavinikayi chitranna, a rice dish made with grated raw mango and seasonings happens to be a summer comfort food of Karnataka, a south Indian state. I tried to make the dish healthier and nutritious by replacing the rice in the recipe with a millet. Here are some other millet based rice dishes that I have posted.
I used foxtail millet but it can be replaced by other millets like barnyard millet or kodo millet. Cooking the millet into a mush spoils the consistency of the dish (especially if one is particular about it). Cooking the millet such that each grain stands apart is recommended while making these kind of dishes. I have cooked a large portion of the millet than the quantity mentioned below in the recipe and so, I haven't mentioned the exact quantity of water I used to cook the millet. I usually pressure cook millet for 2 whistles and use less than 2 cups of water for each cup of millet used. I leave the cooked millet aside for at least 10 minutes and spread it in a wide plate if especially trying to substitute it for rice in a dish. 
Thanks to my husband, I had a bag of frozen, grated mango which I would have never even thought of buying, 😉. I used that in the recipe and so the gratings are more noticeable than the shredded fresh green mango. If the mango used is not sour enough, drizzle some lemon / lime juice over the rice and stir to combine. This millet dish is dry compared to the rice version and so, serve it along with some yogurt on the side. Some chips / papad  or fried vadis would be a nice accompaniment.
1/2 cup foxtail millet / 2 cups cooked foxtail millet
2 tbsp. oil
A handful of peanuts
1 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, broken into bits
1 spicy green chili, sliced lengthwise / chopped fine
1 sprig of curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
1 cup peeled and grated green mango 
Lemon / lime juice to taste (optional)

* Check and remove if any tiny stone bits present in millet. Rinse and pressure cook the millet for 2 whistles adding water as needed. When the valve pressure is gone, remove and leave the millet container out on the counter for about 10 minutes. Then spread the cooked millet on a wide plate, breaking any lumps if present with a spatula. 
* Heat oil in a wide pan and add peanuts, split chick peas, black gram and mustard seeds in that order. When the peanuts turn golden brown, add green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves. Sauté for few seconds.
* Next add turmeric, asafoetida, grated mango and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes and then add the cooked millet and salt. Mix well, breaking any lumps if present. (Taste and add lemon / lime juice if the mango used was not sour enough.)
* Turn off the stove and serve the millet - green mango rice warm with fried papad or chips and some yogurt.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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.)

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Avarekayi Mixture / Fresh Field Beans Chivda

These were a batch of hitakida avarekalu / peeled field beans / hyacinth beans that I bought in V.V. Puram, Bangalore during my last visit to India. Finding them in July was a pleasant surprise, as avarekayi floods the markets during winter months. It seems now one can find avarekayi during off season too but however it should be noted that they miss their characteristic 'sogadu', as my sister-in-law pointed out. For the uninitiated the word 'sogadu' is a Kannada term associated with avarekaayi or avarekai as it is colloquially called. It refers to the quality of the beans in terms of aroma, flavor and the size. It seems that sogadu is determined by the weather, during the growth and harvest period of the crop. 

Avarekayi refers to the pods and avarekaalu are the beans inside those pods. They are usually sold whole with the beans still in their pods or nowadays, if you shell out extra money, you can buy beans removed from their pods and peeled. Yes, you read that right. These beans need double peeling. The beans first need to be moved from their pods and are then soaked in water for few hours. Soaking helps to peel the outer skins of the beans. Finding worms in pods is pretty normal and obviously they need to be thrown away. (Below are chivda made my mother with those avarekalu sans turmeric.)
The peeled beans are used in several dishes like uppittu, rotti, melogarahitakida bele huli, payasaavarekai dose and others. My recipe today is for a traditional snack called  avarekayi mixture or chivda made with fresh hyacinth beans aka avarekaalu. It is one of those tasty snacks we grew up eating, that can be fixed in less time and can be stored for a few weeks. The beans, flattened rice, and other tidbits are quick fried in oil in this preparation. Avaraekaalu / beans and flattened rice can be used in equal quantities. They can be used in 1:2 or 2:1 ratio, whatever one's preference is. Or flattened rice can be skipped totally from the recipe. I haven't mentioned the quantities of peanuts, coconut bits and roasted Bengal gram in the recipe below as they can be added according to taste.

Oil to fry
1 cup hitakida avarekalu / fresh green hyacinth beans / frozen surti papdi lilva
1 cup thick poha / flattened rice
Dried coconut cut into thin pieces
Roasted Bengal gram / Chutney dal / chana dalia
1 sprig of curry leaves
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
2 pinches of turmeric powder
* If the beans have not been peeled, they need to be soaked overnight for at least 5 - 6 hours and then peeled. If using frozen beans, thaw them. Dry them with a towel and keep them aside.
* Heat oil in a kadai or deep pan on medium flame. If a grain of flattened rice is dropped into the oil and it immediately raises to the surface, then the oil is hot enough to fry. Otherwise heat oil for few more seconds.
* Add the coconut pieces to the oil and fry until they turn lightly golden brown. Immediately remove and transfer them onto a plate covered with a pair of paper towels to absorb the oil.
* Next add peanuts and fry them until golden brown and remove them onto the plate.
* Drop a handful of flattened rice into the hot oil. They expand and immediately raise to the surface. Remove them with a slotted ladle and transfer onto the plate. Repeat the procedure with the remaining flattened rice. 
* Add avarekalu / hyacinth beans / Surti papdi lilva to the oil and fry them in batches, until crisp or they float to the surface. Transfer them onto the plate. Turn off the stove. 
* Transfer the oil to another container and use the same kadai for the next step. Or heat another wide pan. Heat 2 tsp. oil and add dry curry leaves. When they crisp up, add roasted Bengal gram and stir once. Turn off the stove and immediately add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt.
* Add the fried flattened rice, peanuts, coconut pieces and beans.
* Stir them well to coat the ingredients with spices. 
* Let the mixture cool and store them in an airtight container.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Avarekayi Melogara / Karnataka Style Field Beans Gravy

After yesterday's avarekayi idli, here is another traditional dish from Karnataka called melogara, which I have prepared with avarekaalu, a favorite produce among the locals. Melogara is a side dish that can be served with rice or Indian breads like rotis / pooris. Avarekaalu is a Kannada word for fresh field beans / hyacinth beans and hitakida avaraekalu are peeled beans. Frozen surti papdi lilva would be a decent substitute when fresh ones are not available. The melogara can also be prepared with snake gourd (padavalakayi), mixed vegetables or any greens. 

A melogara can replace huli aka sambhar in a south Indian style menu and this particular melogara is a winter dishMelogara is a spicy, strongly flavored and delicious gravy that is quite easy and quick to prepare. The difference between a melogara and a sambhar is that melogara doesn't require toor dal / pigeon peas for it's base and is also prepared thicker than a sambhar. A mixture of lentils, spices and coconut are sautéed and ground which forms a delicious base for this gravy. One can find gravies prepared along the same lines in other south Indian states albeit with regional variations. 
1 cup hitakida avarekaalu / fresh field beans / frozen Surti papdi lilva
Salt to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
Ingredients for seasoning / oggarane:
1 - 2 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida powder
Ingredients for frying:
2 tsp. oil
1 tbsp. split chickpeas (chana dal / kadalebele)
1 tsp. skinned black garm (urad dal / uddina bele)
1 tsp. rice
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns 
3 dried red chilis
A handful of shredded, fresh coconut

1. Heat 2 tsp. oil and add split chickpeas, skinned black gram and rice. Sauté on low flame until the split chickpeas start to slightly change the color and add coriander seeds, poppy seeds, peppercorns, and dried red chilis. Continue sautéing until the chickpeas and black gram change color to brownish and corianders seeds change a shade darker. Then add coconut, stir for few seconds and turn off the stove. Let the mixture cool.
2. Grind the fried ingredients to a paste adding water.
3. Cook the beans adding little water in a microwave or on stove - top.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to sputter, add asafoetida and curry leaves.
5 - 7. Next add the cooked beans along with the water if any, the ground paste, turmeric and salt to the pan.
* Add enough water to bring it to a thick consistency gravy. (I added about 1 & 1/4 cups water.)
* Cook the mixture on low flame until it starts to boil and then simmer for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove,
* Serve it warm with rice and a drizzle of ghee or with rotis.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A - Z Idli series ~ A for Avarekayi Idli

This idli platter was my inspiration to the A - Z idli series that is going on in my blog. When I cooked that platter, I thought why not try a platter 'A - Z' style and here I am. I started the series with alphabet D instead of A and today's recipe should have been the starting point. Idlis need no introduction in India. The steamed dumplings made from a fermented batter of rice and black beans is an iconic breakfast dish from southern India. This guilt free and easily digestible dish is healthy, gluten-free and vegan. 

Today's recipe is a dish from Karnataka using avarekayi aka field beans or hyacinth beans. For those who are from that south Indian state, avarekayi needs no introduction. Avarekayi called anapakaya in Telugu, papdi lilva in Gujarati / Hindi or mochai in Tamil is an important winter crop and most sought after bean, especially in the southern parts of the state. The ones available in the middle of December is considered to be the best, aroma and flavorwise and used extensively in cooking ranging from breakfast dishes to snacks.
I am posting three recipes this week with avarekayi / field beans as the main ingredient. The first one in the series is avarekayi idli where the peeled beans are blanched and are added to the idli batter along with seasoning. Avarekayi in Kannada refers to the pods and the beans inside are called avarekaalu. The outer skin of the beans is also removed to use in cooking. The peeled beans can be added to other breakfast dishes like uppittu, rotti, and dose. Frozen Surti papdi lilva can be substituted in place of fresh ones as I have done here though there is no comparison between the two in terms of flavor, to be honest. Avarekaalu adds nutrition as well as flavor to these idli. Serve them with coconut chutney for a delicious breakfast.

Ingredients: (Yield - 20 idlis)
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 cup peeled, fresh / frozen avarekaalu / field beans / hyacinth beans (I added 1/4 cup more.)
4 cups fermented idli batter
1/2 cup fresh / frozen grated coconut
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tbsp. grated / finely chopped green chillies
A handful of cilantro, chopped fine
2 sprig of curry leaves, finely chopped
Ghee / oil to grease the idli plates
* Boil beans in a microwave with a little water. Drain the water.
* Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start to sputter, turn off the stove.
* Heat water to a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
* Add toasted mustard seeds, cooked beans, shredded coconut, chili - ginger paste, cilantro, curry leaves to the idli batter. Add salt to the batter if needed. 

Mix the ingredients well with a ladle.
* Grease the idli plates and fill them with idli batter. 
* Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.
* Set the heat to lowest setting and steam for about 20 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. Turn off the stove and let sit for about 10 minutes.
* Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove them.
* Serve them warm with a chutney and sambhar.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Lauki Idli / Sorekayi Idli / Sorakaya Idli / Bottle Gourd Idli

I had two kind of idlis on my mind for alphabet 'L' and in fact, I had already cooked one of those 'L' idlis, about an year ago. Lauki idlis / bottle gourd idlis was not on that list and to be honest, the idea did not even occur to me. The suggestion came from my husband at the last minute. Bottle gourd is one of those low calorie vegetables and I try to sneak in our diet as much as possible and so, I thought why not? A quick google search showed me that there are enough creative minds who had already experimented with the idea. 

I would have thought of a different batter if I had time but I had to keep it quick since these were made for today's breakfast with no advance preparation. I used an instant batter made with semolina aka rava idli batter for these idlis. And so there is no soaking, grinding or fermenting the batter. If one has toasted semolina on hand or a MTR rava idli packet, 😀 the idli preparation becomes a breeze. One can do the toasting semolina part in the recipe in advance and keep it handy. If one has never tried idli making, rava idli is an easy and instant version to try. 
The semolina is toasted with a seasoning and soaked in yogurt for about 20 -30 minutes and the batter is ready to go. I usually add grated carrot and peas to the rava idli batter to make it nutritious and today, bottle gourd went in instead. They turned out good and one would not even notice the difference between regular rava idlis and these. They make a great meal anytime of the day though these are considered a breakfast dish. We enjoyed them today with a chutney made with fried gram sans coconut. Vegetable saagu would be a delicious accompaniment to these idlis.
Ingredients: (Yield - 14 idli)
2 tbsp. oil
1 to 2 tbsp. cashews 
1 tsp. split chickpeas / Bengal gram / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 inch ginger piece, finely chopped / grated
1 or 2 green chili, finely chopped
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 & 1/2 cups semolina (medium coarse)
3/4 cup peeled & grated bottle gourd
1/2 cup yogurt
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt or to taste
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1/2 tsp. Eno's fruit salt

1. Heat oil in  a pan and add cashews. Toast them until golden brown, by turning them once. Transfer them into a small bowl with a slotted spoon.
* Add Bengal gram, skinned black gram, mustard and cumin seeds to the same oil. When the lentils start to turn reddish brown, add ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Sauté for about a minute. 
2. Next add semolina to the pan and toast on medium flame, continuously stirring until you start to smell the aroma and it starts to slightly change the color.
* Turn off the stove and transfer the mixture into a bowl and let it come to room temperature. (This can be done in advance and the mixture can be stored in air tight container for weeks.)
3. Add grated bottle gourd, salt and minced cilantro to the semolina bowl.
4. Next add yogurt and water to the bowl and mix well. Cover and keep it aside for about 30 minutes.
5. Stir the mixture once and if the mixture appears too thick, add some water. 
* Grease the idli moulds with oil / ghee. Place a cashew at the center of each idli mould. (Or the cashews can be added to the batter.)
* Heat about 2 cups of water in a idli cooker base or a idli cooker or a steamer on medium heat.
6. Add Eno's fruit salt to the semolina bowl just before making idlis and sprinkle a tsp. of water over it and mix well. 
* Ladle the batter into the idli moulds.
* Place the idli stand in the prepared cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the valve for the lid if using a pressure cooker.
* Steam the idlis on low heat setting for about 20 - 25 minutes or until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers or a toothpick / knife inserted in the center should come out clean.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
* Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
* Drizzle melted ghee over the idlis and serve them with a chutney / saagu.
* Refrigerate the left over idlis and use in a day or two. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Nuke them covered in a microwave, and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Kumbalakayi Idli / Sihi Kumbalakayi Idli / Savory Pumpkin Idli

Kumbalakayi idli is a traditional breakfast dish from the south Indian state of Karnataka. The pumpkin is called kumbalakayi in Kannada. As the title suggests, kumbalakayi / pumpkin is the star ingredient of the dish and hence use Indian variety pumpkin if available, for an authentic flavor. I have used the American one since that is what I get even in my local Indian store. 

Pumpkin idlis come in both savory and sweet versions and today I am sticking to the former though I made both. One can make both for breakfast to balance the flavors or can go with one version. Yes, the sweet version is also made for breakfast and not served as a dessert. These savory idlis I am posting today are an interesting and delicious option for those who are bored eating the regular idlis. Besides, it is an instant version for an added bonus. 
These are gluten-free, vegan and as I mentioned earlier, instant variety idlis. One can skip the usual rigmarole of idli making here which puts off many to try the idlis in the first place. One doesn't need to soak the ingredients, grind them or ferment them in this case. Rice rava is mixed with grated pumpkin, coconut and spices and rested for about an hour or less. The batter is then used to make idlis. There is no need to add any leavening agents here. Rice rava, though a traditional choice can be easily replaced with idli rava. 

These delicious idlis don't need any elaborate side dishes. A simple coconut chutney will be a perfect accompaniment. The leftovers can be refrigerated. They freeze well as well and when needed, just remove them from the freezer and microwave them covered in a glass bowl for few minutes and you will have hot piping idlis to serve.

Ingredients: (Yield 6 idlis)
1 to 2 tbsp. split chickpeas / chanadal / Bengal gram
1/2 cup rice rava / idli rava (I used idli rava.)
1/2 cup grated pumpkin (1/2 cup more can be added.)
1/2 grated fresh coconut (I added 2 fistfuls of coconut.)
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 spicy green chili 
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
3/4 tsp. salt or to taste
Water as needed (I added about 1/4 cup.)
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (I didn't use any.)
Oil to grease idli plates
* Soak Bengal gram in water for a couple of hours or until dal can be broken when pressed between thumb and forefinger. Drain the water used to soak the Bengal gram. (One can soak the dal the previous night and refrigerate to use it in the morning.)
* Rinse the idli rava and squeeze out all the water completely. Add it to a bowl. 
* Pulse the coconut, ginger and green chili to a coarse paste. (This is optional. (Instead one can add shredded coconut, finely minced chili and grated ginger directly to the rava bowl.)
* Add the soaked Bengal gram, ground coconut mixture, grated pumpkin, salt, minced cilantro and 2 tbsp. water to the idli rava bowl and stir well to combine.
* Cover and let the mixture sit for about an hour. If in an hurry, it can be soaked for 30 - 40 minutes.
* Check the consistency of the batter after the resting period. Add 1 - 2 tbsp. of water if needed. The mixture should look thick but if you squeeze it, some water should come out of it.
* Heat water in a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
* Grease the idli plates and fill the moulds with the batter and press them with fingers to shape them. 
* Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.
* On low medium flame, steam for about 20 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. 
* Turn off the stove and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

* Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove the idlis.
* Serve them warm with ghee if desired and coconut chutney.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Jowar Flour Idli / Jonna Pindi Idli / Sorghum Flour Idli

Sorghum, a millet is an important cereal crop grown in the world, for ages. This grain which is called jowar in Hindi, jonnalu in Telugu, jola in Kannada and cholam in Tamil is a traditional staple in south and western parts of India. Sorghum is gluten-free, nutritious, rich in protein and iron, making it a great alternative to rice. It is also a complex carbohydrate, meaning it takes longer to digest thus helping manage blood sugar spikes after meals, making it suitable for diabetics.

I have been trying to incorporate millets in our diet as much as possible in the recent years. These idlis which are made with this healthy grain is one such experiment. The standard, traditional version of idlis are made with urad dal / skinned black gram and rice or cream of rice. I have been making idlis replacing a portion of rice with jowar flour to make them healthier. 
I use rice / rice rava and sorghum flours in equal proportions or sometimes slightly more sorghum flour than rice in the recipe. I am guessing that replacing the entire rice with sorghum flour will interfere with the texture of the idlis. I don't have access to sorghum grain, either in whole or cracked form and so I haven't experimented much with the proportions or replaced the rice entirely with sorghum. Maybe using sorghum grain works if rice needs to be completely eliminated. I will update the recipe when I can get hold of some sorghum grain.

Using rice rava / idli rice and sorghum flour in equal proportions will yield soft, fluffy idlis and one would not find these idlis any different from the regular version. They make a healthy, gluten free and guilt free meal for anytime of the day. Serve them warm with chutney and sambhar. Here is a version made with idli rice and sorghum flour and check the recipe to know the consistency of the idli batter.
3/4 cup sorghum flour / jowar flour 
3/4 cup cream of rice / idli rava
1/2 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1 & 3/4 tsp. salt
Water to grind the batter (I used a little more than a cup.)
* Rinse black gram / urad dal thoroughly twice with water and soak in water in a container for about 3 hours. Similarly rinse cream of rice / idli rava with water and soak in water in another bowl. 
* Drain the water from both black gram and cream of rice containers. Squeeze out the water from the idli rava as much as possible.
* Add black gram, salt and water (as needed) to a blender and grind finely. (Skip adding salt while grinding if living in a hot climate. Add salt to the fermented batter before making idlis.)
* When the black gram is ground, add cream of rice / idli rava and run the blender for a couple of minutes to blend. Next add the sorghum flour and again run the blender to combine. Add extra water if needed. The final batter should be of thick, pouring consistency.
* Transfer the batter to a container and cover it. Leave it in a warm place to ferment overnight. 
 If living in a cold place, leave the batter container in the oven with the light on. Don't turn on the oven. The batter may take 8 - 10 hours to ferment in a warm place. It may take longer to ferment in cold climate, may be up to 16 - 18 hours.
* Heat water in a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
* Grease the idli plates and fill the moulds with the batter. Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.
* On low medium flame, steam for about 20 - 25 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. Turn off the stove and let sit for about 10 minutes.
* Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove the idlis.
* Serve them warm for breakfast along with coconut chutney and/or sambhar.