Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Masala Mini Idlis



Can you say no to these spicy tidbits?  Not me. Not the first taste in Bombay. Not when I make a batch to snack on. As you know by now..mini idlis are irresistible to me. Pop one into your mouth, a few chews and you reach for another. And another. One friend has eaten an entire batch in one sitting. You know who you are!!! And I'm making it for her again!! This time she has to share!! 

If you have access to an Indian grocery, you could easily pick up some ready-made idli batter or a packaged idli mix. If you live in India you know the neighborhood store will carry a fresh batch. If ready-made batter is not an option you have to take the rocky road. Make your own. It's tedious a two day affair...it involves soaking and grinding of rice and urad dal. Last resort...get someone else to make idlis for you! 

A paragraph of caution!! You cannot make mini idlis without a mini idli maker! Regular idlis are made in palm sized stainless steel molds. Mini idli molds are just that..mini. At one time these stainless steel molds were only available in India. Try your local Indian grocery or Amazon. You get a three or four tired stand which goes into a special steel steamer. Its hard to make these without the right equipment. 

Bombay has numerous baniya stores that carry  these masala idlis. You buy them by the kilo. Eat them warm or at room temperature. Eat them with a fork or toothpick. Eat them plain or with chutney... any which way they are deliciousness personified!


MASALA MINI IDLIS
Makes 70-80 


3 cups Idli batter
A large pinch of Kosher Salt 
Canola Oil Spray to coat idli molds
1 teaspoon Canola Oil 
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
10-12 Curry Leaves 
2 teaspoons Chile powder 
1/4 cup Water 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
Fresh Cilantro 


Fill one inch of water in the idli steamer. Place steamer over medium heat and let water come to a boil. 

Fill idli molds while water boils.

Separate tiers and spray with oil. This makes the idlis slide off when they are done.




Ladle a teaspoonful of batter into each mold. Batter should fill the mold.




Put the tiers together and place in steamer.




Cover and steam idlis on a medium flame for 10-12 minutes. The idli steamer lid is equipped with a steam vent that whistles when idlis are done. 





Carefully remove tiers from steamer. Let idlis cool for a few minutes.




Use a spoon to nudge idlis out of molds and onto a plate.

Repeat process till batter is finished and idlis are done.

Heat a teaspoon of canola oil in a saucepan. 

When it shimmers, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let mustard seeds pop.




Add chile powder and water to pan. Stir.





Slip idlis into saucepan.




Season with salt. 

Stir well to coat idlis. Saute for a few minutes so idlis absorb the chile water.

Garnish with cilantro, dig your fork in and enjoy!



I am tempted to make deep inroads. The fork hovers over the mound. I skewer a few and I am swiftly rewarded with a spicy kick. I am making them for the one who ate them all, when she visits. What's a few stolen idlis between friends.