Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oats-broken wheat idli - making healthy choices tasty and acceptable

Let us say you are hungry and famished and you reach a table where there are 2 things - a bowl of boiled spinach and a platter of fried spinach pakodas (if you are a spice lover like me) or a bowl of gulab jamoons(for those of you with a mean sweet tooth). How many of you reach out to the boiled spinach? Not many (unless you are popeye himself), I thought so. I am guilty of this too. Food is a very complex thing - it encompasses taste, visual and sensory appeal but beyond all this there is a sub conscious effort that feeds the decision making process. Most of us just refuse to eat things that are touted as 'healthy' as we seem to brand it immediately to be 'tasteless' or worse 'bad tasting'.

If I haven't said this before, I am a person who thinks prevention is better than cure. A few years back, I started looking for healthier choices in the kitchen and started to experiment to include ingredients not familiar to me. I strongly believe that the diet my parents (and ancestors) followed was a good one but diet alone does not contribute to a healthy life. Our life styles have changed vastly from what it used to be in my grand parents or parents life time. My Dad brisk walked every day as long as I can remember, his morning walk is when I learnt my cycling with big brother to put me and get me off of the bicycle until I learnt how to do it myself :-). I only knew how to steer the cycle and keep peddling, my brother sat me on the cycle and ran next to me until I was ready to get off.  So it was exercise time for the family. My dad also did what he called 'Shatha Patha (literally meaning 100 steps)' after every meal sometimes outside in the compound wall, some times inside our huge rectangular living room. Nammamma had no dearth of physical activity given her cleaning, washing, walking etc. My day doesn't resemble either of that now, I am plopped infront of my laptop most of the days either for work or (you guessed it) for blogging and surfing. If I go out somewhere, it is a drive and not a walk. So, even if I were to follow the same fantastic diet my parents did, there is no guarantee I will be blessed with the same excellent physical health they had, right? So I need to make adjustments to compensate.

Since I am not a dietician, I read, absorb and use common sense to make my food choices. Without overdoing anything, I try to get the benefits from old and new ways of living and I hope it works :-). The mantra for me atleast for now is 'less processed', I will let you know if it changes after I read some more and analyze more..

So on that note, here is a healthier than regular rava idli made with a combination of oats and broken wheat. If you are averse to introduce 2 new ingredients in your rava idli, go ahead and keep the regular upma rava but I strongly encourage you to use the broken wheat, it tastes more wholesome and the idlis are truly delicious. A healthier option you will not regret trying.

What do you need to make Oats-Broken wheat idli?
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned oats)
11/4 cup broken wheat
2.5 cup yogurt (preferably home made and a day old)
1/4 Tsp baking soda
2 Tblsp grated coconut
1 big carrot
1 Tblsp oil
1 Tsp mustard
1 Tblsp chana dal
1 Tsp black pepper
5-6 cashews broken into pieces (optional, I didn't use it)
8-10 curry leaves - chopped fine
fistful of cilantro (I didn't have any this time and skipped it)
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)

How do you make Oats-Broken wheat idli?
  • Heat a pan on medium heat, add oats and stirring frequently roast for 3-4 minutes until it starts to crisp up. Keep aside.
  • Add broken wheat to the pan and roast it for 4-5 minutes stirring until it just starts to change color and you can smell the roasted flavor. Keep aside.
  • Once cooled, make a powder of roasted oats.
  • Wash, peel and grate the carrot.
  • Add oil to the pan, add mustard seeds, chana dal, black pepper and cashews (if using) and roast them stirring continuously until mustard pops (30seconds to a minute)
  • Add the chopped curry leaves followed by grated carrot and coconut.
  • Fry for a couple of minutes until carrot turns limp, add the powdered oats, roasted broken wheat, salt. Give it a good mix and switch off the stove.
  • Whip or vigorously mix the yogurt to make it homogeneous.
  • Once the mixture is cool to touch, add baking soda, mix it in well.
  • Add the yogurt to make a dropping consistency batter (just like regular idli dough)
  • Take a table spoon at a time and drop it into oil smeared idli moulds.
  • Steam like regular idli without weight for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Switch off, let it stand for 2 minutes outside the cooker and remove using a spoon or butter knife.
  • Enjoy the healthy breakfast with chutney, spice powders or sambar.
  • There is no fermentation involved in this idli and the dough should not be kept for long once the baking soda is added. If you are making large batches than your idli mould can hold at a time, mix soda and yogurt to small batches and steam them immediately. If you let the batter sit for long with soda, the idlis tend to fall flat.
  • Coconut gives it taste and helps to make idlis lighter and fluffier. You can omit this if you do not use coconut.
  • I used a finer variety of broken wheat (called #1 on the packet), this is slightly bigger grain texture than upma rava and works fine. If you get much coarser grained broken wheat, run it in the mixer to break it slightly.
  • Roasting oats until they crisp up makes the idli not to have a sticky texture (which is what cooked oats tend to be), when you squeeze the oats between your fingers, it should crackle and break and not bend over.
  • Just like rava idli, this tastes good if the yogurt is slightly sour, I keep the yogurt out on the counter top over night to make these idlis in the morning.


Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Delicious and healthy idlis

Smitha Kalluraya said...

Wow .. these Idlys are super healthy.. book marked..
Do visit my site wen u r free..

NamsVeni Pothas said...

this new recipe idli is simply superb. very tasty and healthy too.
yes. walking is an easy and good exercise even for older people.

Priya Suresh said...

Wat a healthy breakfast, oats -broken wheat make a fabulous pair in Idlis.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

wow its a healthy breakfast... love it... will try soon...

Chitz said...

A healthy option, love the addition of oats & wheat :) Well said dear, we really suck in leading a healthy life :(