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Saturday, September 11, 2021

T for Thatte Idli / Bidadi Thatte Idli

For the uninitiated, idli happens to be a traditional and popular breakfast item from south India. Idlis are basically steamed dumplings prepared using a fermented batter that uses rice and black gram. The batter is poured into special molds meant for the purpose called an idli stand, that can hold up to 2 dozen idlis. The commercial versions at eateries and restaurants across the region of course are meant to handle on a larger scale. The traditional, eco- friendly versions in some parts of the state of Karnataka have been leaves of banana, jack fruit, teak, or turmeric trees that are fashioned into pockets to hold the batter. 

Today's version thatte idli comes from the south Indian state of Karnataka, thatte referring to the plates that are used to steam the idlis. This locally popular idli variety has it's origins in Bidadi, an industrial suburb outside of Bangalore enroute Mysore. The route which is also famous for Maddur vade has eateries through out to dish out these thatte idli for the hungry travelers and the locals. The plates yield bigger size idlis than the standard concave shaped ones and almost equal to three of the regular idlis. Eating one idli would almost make you full and so these plate idlis in a way save your time in terms of cooking and cleaning. 
The plates used at eateries are similar to the one shown above though usually larger. It is hard to stack if using these kind of plates at home and I use the plate idli stand shown in the pictures.We add flattened rice to our regular idli recipe to make these thatte idli which come out super soft and easily breakable kind. Some use sago / sabbakki instead. I have seen videos where Bidadi eatery owners mentioning that they use only kusubalakki (parboiled rice) and uddina bele (skinned black gram) in 4:1 ratio, which hasn't worked for me and I stick to our recipe for these idlis. These idlis are vegan, gluten free and guilt free and make a wholesome, filling breakfast / brunch. They are usually served with a dollop of butter, along with chutney and sambhar. The butter can be skipped if vegan.
Ingredients: (Yield - 8 idlis)
2 cups idli rice / Selam akki
1/2 cup / skinned black gram / urad dal / uddina bele
3/4 cup flattened rice / poha / avalakki
Water to grind (I used about 1 & 1/4 cups.)
2 tsp. salt or to taste

1. Rinse idli rice, skinned black gram, and flattened rice together and drain. Repeat the step one more time. Soak them together in water in a bowl for about 3 to 4 hours and drain the water used to soak completely.
2. Grind them together adding salt and water as needed to grind them into a smooth and thick batter. (The salt can be added just before making idlis if living in a warm climate. I add it while grinding since I live in a cold climate and the batter takes longer to ferment.)
3. Transfer the batter to a container that is big enough to allow the batter to raise during fermentation. (Compare the pictures 3 and 4 to see the volume of the batter increasing after fermentation). Cover the container and allow it to ferment overnight (if the batter was ground in the evening) or for about 10 - 12 hours in a warm place. If living in a cold climate, leaving the batter in an oven with the lights on (without turning on the oven) helps. Or use yogurt setting in an instant pot.
4. The fermented batter should rise well and be fluffy but not turn sour.
* The fermented batter looks like above in the picture - thicker than when grounded, airy, and slightly sour smelling. 
* Heat about 2 cups of water in a idli cooker base or a idli cooker or a steamer on medium heat. 
* Grease the idli moulds with ghee / oil. 
* Gently stir the batter a couple of times with a ladle. 
5 & 6. Ladle the batter into the idli plates carefully without spilling.
 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.
7. Steam the idlis on medium heat setting for about 15 - 20 minutes or until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
8. Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis from idli stand. Remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
Serving the idlis:
Drizzle butter over the idlis and serve them with a chutney, and sambhar if preferred. Mine were served with roasted gram chutney and sambhar.

What to do with leftover idlis:
1. Refrigerate the left over idlis and use in a day or two. 
2. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Nuke them in a microwave, covered and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.


vaishali sabnani said...

These Thatte Idlis have been haunting me for a while now . Last year I bought a Thatte Idli Stand , just like yours, yet haven’t been able to use it. Your idlis look super spongy and would make such a wonderful lunch/ snack.

Radha said...

Perfect choice! I have had these idli's on the way to Mysore, and they were amazing. I did add a little sago, when I made at home. Bookmarking this recipe.

Srividhya said...

Love thatte idlis stopped with idli podi. I love your plate idli stand. I love this humble idli platter.

Srivalli said...

I love thatte idli and must have made it a couple of times..will bookmark this as well!