Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sabudana idli(no dal) & Onion chutney - super fluffy, masala idlis and some Goldilocks adventure

We are back to atleast two at home now since last Saturday, BH came back from his business trip and Saturday was the normal, lazy weekend with no breakfast, but a heavy brunch day. BH was still jet lagged and we didn't feel up to going out so idea of brunch was a perfect fit. Since the temperatures are still hovering in the 90s here and by mid day my kitchen and the entire top floor starts to resemble a furnace, we are finishing off any cooking before then and take shelter downstairs until it starts to cool off in the night. We do not have air condition at home and had never felt the need for it in all these years and are still not serious about it. Hopefully the heat wave passes on. So Saturday being no exception, I wanted to cook something wholesome, tasty and also quick that we could may be do repeat dose of for dinner and not have to switch on the stove again.
These Sabudana idlis came to the rescue, they need a little planning and make ahead prep but there is no grinding involved. With an overnight fermentation, you get the fluffiest and white idlis you won't even notice didn't have any urad dal at all. Yep, these idlis do not have urad dal but still turn out deliciously soft and yummy and they are light on the stomach, custom made for the hot summers. Best of all, I also finished my stock of sabudana I had brought for making the sandige and one more item taken care of in the pantry now :-), now what do they say about 'hitting 2 birds with a single stone'?
Ah, before we go into the recipe, here is a little something I wanted to share with you all if you ever wondered about my diminished frequency of blog posts. Taking advantage of the weather, we just get out of the house every weekend and go in search of walking trails. Where we live, there is no dearth of walking trails - big, small, winding, straight, ups, downs, there is something for every taste, interest and ability. This is our current obsession and to me personally equivalent of meditation. Away from the buzzing electronics, enjoying the bounty of nature all around us and walking along side the little birds and animals that inhabit the woods has indeed been very rejuvenating. Last week, we drove up to our favorite Mt. Rainier and found a water fall called Narada falls. If you have an Indian background, I do not have to explain 'Narada' to you but if you have not heard the name, he is the sage in Indian vedic texts that constantly travels between the worlds and is ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Not sure if the name had anything to do with how the water falls in 2 distinct tiers at different heights. It was simply beautiful and the rainbow at the bottom of the falls just added the perfect garnish.
I didn't start off telling you about our hiking to acquaint you all with my weekend escapades but rather to share with you all a rare find I found along the hiking trail and it has to do with food :-). I discovered these heavenly delicious berries in the mountain trails that I hadn't seen thus far in any farmer's markets or super stores. Though I didn't know the name at the time and BH very concernedly kept telling me that they could be non-edible (ok, he said that they could be poisonous and I might just drop dead any moment by eating them, I do understand he was concerned and feared not being able to get me to medical help in time..)I kept popping them as we walked on and ultimately got him hooked onto try a few fistfuls. These were more delicate compared to the blueberries I regularly eat. When I came back to electronic civilization, I found that I had been eating the coveted huckleberries that ripen in a short timeframe, found only in mountains and loved by wild bears. I felt like Goldilocks gone into the bears house and wiped out their stock of huckleberries :-). I apologize to any bears that are looking for these berries in the mountains and wondering about the short supply but I did enjoy them as much as the bears do and next time if I make my way up the mountains in berries season, I will carry a small pail to bring some berries home.
If you get your hands on huckleberries especially fresh from the plants in some mountain range, go ahead and give yourselves a treat. They have such a deliciously sweet & fragrant taste that you feel as if you are in paradise. If the entire universe was telling me I was in paradise with a snow clad Rainier on one side, Narada falls infront of me and these delicious berries on the path, who am I to say it wasn't heaven? Life is good and I am blessed. Next time, if I get my hands on huckleberries, I will show you some delicious ways of using them in recipes.
Until then, enjoy what you have. Take a peek in your pantry and if you find some idli rava and sabudana, just read though the rest of the post and make these fluffy sabudana idlis for your next breakfast. Soaked idli rava and the pearly sabudana makes this idli a refreshing and enjoyable experience from the usual. I also packaged in a very yummy no-coconut chutney to go with the idli here. This is amma's signature onion chutney which I had never tasted until after my marriage. The first experience of this slightly sweet, tangy & spicy chutney with the typical bland idlis made me fall in love with it hook, line & sinker (more about that in another post, I just received some fishing wisdom from a colleague and the references are still fresh in memory :-)). Me & my SIL can lick clean an entire bowl of this chutney made for the whole family with or without idlis.
This is one of the rare chutneys I make without any hint of coconut and I love it, that says something if you know how much of a coco'nut' I am. So go ahead and give a try to this chutney.

What do you need to make Sabudana idli?
Makes about 25 idlis
2.5 cups rice rava/idli rava
1 cup sabudana/sago pearls
2 cups thick yogurt (a little sour is preferred)
2 cups water
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 Tsp mustard
1/2 Tsp crushed black pepper
1-2 finely chopped green chilies
1 Tsp grated ginger
1.5 Tbsp chana dal
1/2 Tsp urad dal
4-6 curry leaves

How do you make Sabudana idli? 
  • Wash idli rava under running water and pick any impurities. Put them into a big bowl. 
  • Wash sabudana/sago in water a couple of times until the water runs clear and add it to the bowl with idli rava.
  • Whisk yogurt well to form a uniform texture, add 2 cups of water and mix well. Pour this into the bowl.
  • Add salt and mix well to make the batter, consistency of batter is a little thinner than regular idlis at this time as the idli rava and sago both absorb the liquid while soaking. 
  • Cover and keep the bowl in a warm place over night or for about 8-10 hours. 
  • The batter would have fluffed up, feels light when you spoon it and would have become thicker than when you started the soak time. This time also allows the batter to ferment and you can smell the sour yogurt smell. 
  • Mix well and add a few spoons of water if needed to bring it to dropping consistency. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard, chana dal and urad dal. Let mustard pop and dals turn light golden. 
  • Add chopped crushed black pepper, green chilies, grated ginger, chopped curry leaves and roast for about 30 seconds. 
  • Switch off and pour the seasoning into the batter.
  • Add grated coconut, taste and adjust salt if needed. 
  • Prepare idli plates by brushing each dip with oil and spoon in the batter. 
  • Steam cook for 12-15 minutes. 
  • Switch off, open the container and let it stand for a couple of minutes before gently removing idlis with a butter knife or a wide spoon.
  • Enjoy them with the spicy onion chutney. 
What do you need to make onion chutney?
2 cups chopped onions (use red onions or Indian variety for best taste)
2-3 red chilies
small piece of tamarind
1/2 Tsp jaggery or brown sugar
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1/8 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tsp salt

How do you make onion chutney? 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan, add coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds. 
  • Roast them for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until fenugreek turn light brown and you smell the aroma. 
  • Add red chilies and roast for 30 seconds. 
  • Add chopped onions to the pan and mix well to bring the coriander & fenugreek to the surface (leaving them at the bottom of the pan will burn them)
  • Stirring frequently, roast for 6-8 minutes until onions break down and turn translucent. 
  • Once onions are soft, switch off add salt, tamarind and jaggery/brown sugar to the pan.
  • Let it cool completely. 
  • Take the contents to the blender and blend them into a paste without adding water. 
  • Your spicy onion chutney with a hint of coriander is ready to be enjoyed with idlis and dosas. 
  • Do not add salt while frying onions to speed up the process, this is one recipe where 'slow & steady' creates the magic. Let onion cook by itself on medium heat before adding salt. This brings out the natural sweetness in the onions. 
  • Do not use yellow or white onions, they are typically more pungent than the red variety. 
  • Do not blend this chutney when the ingredients are hot, if you are in a hurry and can't wait, go for other chutneys. The taste comes when it is ground cool. 
  • Adding a day old yogurt imparts a nice taste to the idlis and also helps fermentation. I made my idlis without any baking soda or eno fruit salt. 
  • If you do not have sour yogurt, add 1/2 Tsp baking soda to the batter just before steaming the idlis.


kitchen queen said...

super delicious idlis.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow!!! wonderful recipe. we must taste this healthy idlies. pictures are so cute.

Anonymous said...

Is this small nylon sago or big sago that we use for Maharashtrian Kichdi and vada ??

Nagashree said...

I used the regular sabudana and not the nylon one. Hope you will make it and like it too :-)