Rava Idli Recipe is a soft pillowy steamed semolina dumpling seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal and cashew. There are many theories about the curation of Rava Idli but all of them are intertwined in Karnataka only, so it could be said that Rava Idli have it’s roots in the state. Many food historians condemn traces of Rava Idli in the pre modernization era of Karnataka and then there are stories to substantiate the household presence of Rava Idli in the last few decades only. Today the Rava Idli has become a staple dish in the cuisine of the state and hence I could not chalk it out from my list while thinking of Karnataka nouvelle cuisine.
Rava Idli is one of those few dishes I learnt to cook as a novice housewife and even till date I am equally fond of these cottony soft dumplings dipped in piping hot sambhar accompanied by perfectly brewed cup of filter coffee. The uncomplicated process to prepare these idlis is always one of those pleasurable experiences in the kitchen when deep down in your heart as a cook you are affirmative about the flawlessness of the end result. Over the years I tried enlivening the flavors of Rava Idli by trying different permutation combinations of seasonings and seasonal vegetables but somehow the end result always made me crave for the bonafide flavors of Rava Idli.
Though the recipe calls for few basic ingredients only but still there are some tipping points which makes difference between the good and the exceptional Rava Idlis. One of them is the quality and taste of baking soda, try to use neutral flavored baking soda to avoid ending up with fruity tasting idlis. And the most important one which I learnt after many disastrous trials of rave Idli is to use the sour curd, I prefer using sour curd rather than fresh curd to make Rava Idli, some how the temperature and sourness of curd really matters for the texture of the idlis. Also resting batter for a short span before mixing baking soda helps semolina absorbing moisture and flavors in a better way and tend to produce moist, mouth melting idlis.
Rava Idli Recipe
Yields 10 - 12 Idlis
Rava Idli is a soft pillowy steamed semolina dumpling seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal and cashew.
1 Cup semolina (rava)
1 Cup curd, at room temperature
1/4 Cup water
1/2 tsp baking soda
Salt, as per taste
1 medium size carrot, finely chopped
1 tsp urad dal (split black lentils)
1 tsp chana dal (split bengal gram)
1 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
2 curry leaves, chopped
4 cashew, finely chopped
2 tbsp ghee
In a pan heat ghee over medium heat once ghee is heated add mustard seeds and saute for few seconds.
As mustard seeds start crackling add chopped curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal and saute till dals turn light brown in color.
Now add cashew and fry for 1 – 2 minute.
Add semolina to the tempering mixture and roast it over medium heat till semolina turns pale brown in color and it’s aroma is released. Stirring continuously while roasting.
Turn off the flame and transfer semolina to a bowl. Set aside until it cools down to room temperature.
Combine tempered semolina, curd, salt and water in a bowl to prepare idli batter. Batter should be of dropping consistency and not too runny if required add more water to get the right consistency. Cover the bowl with a lid and set aside for 15 – 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes mix in chopped carrot into the batter. Stir to mix carrot evenly.
Prepare your idli steamer and grease the mold with little ghee to avoid idli sticking to the mould.
I usually prepare these idlis in microwave so my idli steamer is microwave friendly which does not require any pre heating of water beforehand but if you are using gas steamer to make idlis than you need to heat water in steamer before pouring the batter into the molds.
Once steamer is ready add baking soda to the batter and stir nicely to combine evenly. The idli batter will turn frothy immediately pour spoonful of batter in each mould.
Close the lid of the steamer and steam idlis. In microwave it takes 5 – 6 minutes while in gas steamer it takes 10 minutes. To check idlis for doneness insert toothpick and check if it comes out clean means idli is done.
With the help of a spoon remove idlis from the mould. Transfer to a plate and serve Rava Idli hot with Sambhar.
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The “Rava Idli” is part of the endeavor to create a collection of recipes of Traditional Indian Cuisines in collaboration with a few bloggers who share the same passion of cooking. Here is the Pinterest Board collection of recipes.
You can find more Traditional Recipes from Karnataka by #thekitchendivas: