Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tatte Idli - Special masala idli

Tatte in Kannada is plate, idlis made in small little plates that can be set up in their own stand and steamed. Why is this special? Well, for one the shape is different from regular idlis but more importantly because this idli can be eaten just by itself without much side dish fanfare. The idli batter is already decked up with fresh masala ingredients to enhance the taste.

When I was writing this post, I realized that I have not started any serious dose(dosa) or idli recipes yet on the blog. What a shame J, I will get to it some time in the very near future.

Back to Idli batter, there are number of versions each working really well for the people that make them. Some people swear by their proportion of urad dal and rice,  some by the time of grinding and fermentation methods while some go by the actual mixing. In Karnataka and Andhra, idli is made with the rice rava and not by grinding rice. Nammamma makes some of the pure white, light and airy idlis using the rice rave that resemble the fully bloomed pristine jasmine flower from my home town and hence called mallige idlis.

I alternate between the rava and rice method depending on my mood, time available for grinding the rice etc. The texture of idlis made using the rava is slightly more grainy and feels soft and crumbly when you break into them. On the other hand, idlis made with rice is more bouncy and smoother to the bite. Hallmark of a good idli in either method is a light and airy end product. 

Now if you do not have a tatte idli stand, doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Use the pan that comes with your pressure cooker (the one you use to make rice or dal) and spread the idli batter to about ½ inch thickness in the pan. Or use your regular idli plates to make the idlis.
What do you need to make Tatte idli?
I use the same batter for normal idlis
Idli dough ingredients:
1 cup deskinned urad dal(or deskinned whole urad)
2.5 cup rice rava
1 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tblsp salt
3/4 cup water to grind

Masala ingredients:
1 Tblsp black pepper corns
1 Tblsp cumin seeds
4 Tblsp chana dal
4 Tblsp thinly sliced fresh coconut (see notes)
2 Tblsp chopped cilantro
How do you make Tatte idli?
Making Idli dough:
  • Wash urad dal in atleast 3-4 changes of water, scrubbing the dal as you drain the water.
  • Soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds in 4 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
  • Soak rice rava separately in 3 cups of water for 4-6 hours.
  • Wash the urad dal one more time, drain out the water.
  • Grind the dal and fenugreek seeds in a grinder/blender using not more than 1 cup of water at different intervals until you get a really smooth dough (see notes).
  • In the meantime, take fistfuls of soaked rice rava, squeeze out the water and put in in a wide bowl.
  • Scoop out the ground dal on to the squeezed rava, put salt and with a light hand, mix them all together into a homogeneous mixture.
  • Cover and leave it in a warm place over night to ferment. 
Making the tatte idli:
Note: Each tatte idli is approximately equal to 3 regular idlis
  • Pound the pepper and cumin in a mortar and pestle into a coarse crush, DO NOT POWDER THEM. (see notes)
  • Soak chana dal in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes or until they plump up, drain the water.
  • Chop the coconut into thin, longish juliens – idea is to have to bite into coconut pieces when you eat the idli.
  • Add the coarsely crushed pepper-cumin, soaked chana dal, chopped cilantro and chopped coconut pieces into the fermented idli batter, give it a mix.
  • Prepare the tattes (or the cooker pan) by smearing a drop of oil all around it. Pour the batter to about ½ inch in the plate.
  • Set the plates (or the pan) in the idli cooker or regular cooker and steam it for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Remove the idli stand from the cooker/steamer and let it stand for 2 minutes. 
  • Using a blunt knife, remove the idlis from the plate by working around the edges first. 
  • Grinding urad dal into a really smooth, bouncy dough is half the battle won, use as little water as needed to run your mixer. Using fridge cold water helps your mixer/blender motor to survive longer. 
  • Pepper and cumin seeds are crushed enough to release flavor, do not make a powder of them. Pepper powder also makes the tatte idlis spicier. 
  • I have seen two varieties of rice rava in the stores here - one is slightly larger grains than the second. I prefer the smaller variety. 
  • Scrubbing the urad dal helps remove any remnant black skin and result in a white idlis. 
  • One of my cousins stops making idlis and dosas in winter as she does't believe you can ferment them well, what works for me is to preheat my oven to 170F (minimum my oven will go down to) and switch it off. Place your idli batter bowl inside the oven overnight. 


Prathibha said...

very delicious idli..we make thatte idli plain as well as spiced version

NamsVeni Pothas said...

Tatte Idli my old memories!!!!very tasty and healthy.

Nagashree said...

@Prathibha - :-), somehow when amma took the plates out, it was always masala idli.

@namsVeniPothas - Woodies, right?

Gayathri NG said...

Thanks for sharing such a authentic dish, looks nice and yummy...

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Mouth watering I am not a great cook myself but easily recognize one in you. Very pleasant to read the detailed writing especially the passion around making the bland idly into a spirited and spicy one.

Look forward to more. Like it

Kannada Cuisine said...

I love masale idli and tatte idli as well..REminds me of my home town Tumkur so much.It is famous for Tatte Idli as you might know!

Nagashree said...

Thanks all for stopping by.

@anonymous - Thanks for your comments.
@gayathri - Yes, it is an authentic dish, try it out and let me know.
@Kannada cuisine - I have not been to Tumkur but my parents lived there for a while long before I was born :-). Some of my cousins studied in Tumkur Engg college.

Tina said...

Sounds delicious...

Akila said...

Very different.... Looks lovely..... When u find time do visit my blog