Are you aware of the origin of the South Indian Dish Idli and Dosa? Read this article to find out the history behind these south Indian foods
In India, we have many delicious and healthy breakfast cuisines, but no one could deny if IDLIS are present in breakfast. A healthy and tasty breakfast is the best way to start the day. The round, delicately steamed rice cakes known as IDLIS are typically served with a bowl of sambhar and a spicy, sour coconut chutney. They are made from a fermented rice batter and black gramme. Both are regarded as essential components. Besides its incredible taste, have you ever wondered how these were created?
Eminent food historians have offered a variety of ideas. The precursor to the idli is therefore described in some old Indian books. Because idlis and the cuisine of that area are somewhat similar, a food historian hypothesized that the modern idli may have come from Indonesia today. It was brought to India by the cooks of Hindu kingdoms in the Indonesian area between 800 and 1200 CE. This is only one theory; another contends that they were introduced here by Arabs. According to this theory, Arab traders began making rice cakes and eating them with bland coconut chutney when they arrived in this area and were unfamiliar with Indian food. There are many opinions and reasons about whether this food is Indian or Arabian, and someone in Chennai even observes March 30 as “The Idli Day.”
Begin your day with Idli & dosa
It was a fantastic way to start the day with Idli and dosa because it doesn’t make the stomach feel bloated. It’s easy to digest and feels filling. Idli and dosa, if you take them along with sambar, it give you good morning energy because it has a good amount of carbohydrates and protein. South India is the origin of dosa. The town of UDIPI, referenced in Sangam literature, is where it is believed to have started, a historian claims. Dosas made in Tamil Nadu were softer and thicker. In Karnataka, they were first made in their thinner form. Everywhere throughout the nation, dosa is served in localized varieties. Modernized variations of the dosa, including cheesy masala, chowmein, vegetables, and many others, are available today.
Hindu kings of the Shailendra, Isyana, and Sanjaya dynasties previously dominated the area that is now Indonesia, and, likely, cooks who travelled with the royals on their official travels to India brought the recipe back with them. The consumption of steamed foods has a long history in Indonesian cuisine, according to Acharya, and the kedli seems to be the idli’s nearest relative.
A form of the idli known as “iddalage” is referenced in a 920 CE Kannada text called Vaddaradhane by Shivakotiacharya. The Sanskrit writing composed in 1130 CE by King Someshvara III of the Deccan contains similar recipes. A recipe called “iddarika” is described in the text.
Despite these references, the kedli is a later but stronger contender as the ancestor of the idli because three elements of the modern idli, namely the use of rice along with urad dal, the long fermentation of the mix, and the steaming of the batter for fluffiness, are missing from these mediaeval Indian texts.
In addition to being delicious, these delicate idlis—lentil and rice cakes—are also incredibly healthy for you because, like their delectable dosa cousin, they are packed with protein and fibre. They are oil-free, which is much better. You’ve probably had idli in an Indian restaurant, but I’ll walk you through making idli batter and idlis at home using only five ingredients.
Idli is a five-ingredient dish that originated in south India and has taken hold in Indian kitchens all over the rest of the country and around the world if you love fermented foods and are aware of the enormous health advantages they provide.
Dosa, adai, sambar, and Pongal are just a few of the incredibly healthful South Indian meals restaurants have made popular. And more than virtually any of these other dishes, idli best exemplifies this. This fluffy white disc, formed of the two fundamental and incredibly healthy building blocks of rice and lentils, may very well be the healthiest food on the planet. Idli tastes unappealing when eaten alone. Nevertheless, when paired with sambar and green coconut chutney, it transforms into one of the most wonderful dishes you’ve ever had.
They are all easily accessible online or at Indian supermarkets. This variety is offered in the Indian store, not in American supermarkets. The rice is occasionally designated as idli rice.
Dark rice (white rice is fine too). Use any type of rice you have on hand, even basmati. Either urad dal or black gramme lentils, aval, or flattened rice. Although it’s optional, adding salt to the idli recipe is unnecessary. Just before steaming the idli, add it.
Raise and soak lentils: The two types of rice—regular or brown rice and the black lentils (urad dal), must be soaked overnight. Soak the poha, or flattened rice, and the fenugreek seeds in the urad dal. Although doing this overnight is ideal, you can do it for roughly six hours daily.
Idli batter is blended: Drain the rice and lentils once they have soaked, then grind them separately with new, cold water. Don’t try to speed things up by grinding them together because the texture you ground each to will affect how your idlis turn out.
The rice must be somewhat coarser than the lentils, which must be mashed into a smooth pulp. You can purchase a wet grinder made specifically to grind idli and dosa batter online or in India, but you are not required to. Perfect and soft idli batter is easily made with a powerful blender. I use my Vitamix, and as an added plus, it does so much faster than a wet grinder.
When the rice and the urad dal have reached the desired texture, it is time to ferment the batter. To do so, combine the rice batter and the urad dal batter in a large mixing bowl and set aside to ferment for about eight hours, preferably in a warm place or an oven with the light on. You will notice it once the batter has fermented. The batter will appear puffy and rise quite a bit (it’s a good idea to put a plate or a baking sheet under the bowl — I’ve had to deal with an overflow of fermented dosa batter in the oven, and it was NOT fun to clean up).
- To make the idlis, you will need an idli mould. It is inexpensive and will last a lifetime. Furthermore, if you are in India and have access to a cheap idli steamer, you can use that to steam the idlis. Otherwise, a large stockpot with a vent hole on the lid will suffice. If you use a pressure cooker, ensure it has a top vent to place the pressure regulator or “whistle.” This is because you don’t want to pressure cook your idlis; instead, you want to steam them, eliminating the need for the pressure regulator.
- Apply a thin layer of cooking spray to each plate in the mould when your batter is ready. Though it is unnecessary, the idli is much easier to remove after it has been steamed if my parents did this. Now, evenly distribute the batter into each small mould, stopping short of filling each one because the idlis will puff slightly as they steam. I fill the bottom plate first to make the process easier, then stack the second plate on top, fill that one, slide in the third, fill it up, and so on.
- You would have a better result if you assembled everything and then filled in the moulds. Add about one inch of water to the trivet in your stockpot or pressure cooker. Now set the idli mould on top of the trivet, cover the pressure cooker’s or stockpot’s lid (without locking the pressure regulator), and increase the heat to medium-high.
- Set your timer for 10 minutes once you notice steam beginning to escape from the pressure cooker’s vent or the stockpot’s lid. Turn off the heat when your timer rings. After letting the idlis sit in the stockpot for a few minutes, I carefully removed the mould, gave them at least five more minutes to stand, and slid them out. To help the idli come out, gently press the corners with your fingers. You can also check out this video for easy understanding.
Time, preparation, and planning are required to soak the rice, lentils, and batter. To make this step-by-step guide easier for you to understand, I’ve divided it into 4 main sections:
- Combine 12 cups of parboiled or idli rice with 12 cups of regular rice in a bowl. As I have demonstrated in the video, you can also make the dosa using 1 cup of idli rice instead of regular rice.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds and 1/4 cup urad dal to the same bowl (methi).
- Combine the rice, lentils, and methi seeds in a colander and give them a few rinses. Set them aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of thick poha to another bowl (flattened rice or parched rice).
- Add poha to the bowl with the rinsed rice, lentils, and methi seeds after rinsing it once or twice in water. Pour in 1.5 cups of water, then stir. For 4 to 5 hours, soak everything with a lid on.
- Remove the soaked ingredients from the water and place them in a blender or mixer grinder.
- To produce a fine grainy consistency of rice in the batter, add 2/3 to 3/4 cup water and pulse or blend. A batter with a smooth consistency is likewise acceptable.
- Place the batter in a big pan or basin. Add a few tablespoons of rice flour to the dosa batter if it gets too thin. In the batter, thoroughly incorporate the rice flour.
- Add 1/2 tsp. of rock salt that can be eaten. Mix thoroughly.
- If the mixer starts to heat up, stop and wait a while. Re-grind after the mixer has cooled down.
- You can grind everything at once or in two batches, depending on the size of your jars. I added 34 cups of water to the two batches of grinding.
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