Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IDLY post :)

Our very own idly needs a post in my blog, it is a shame for a true Tamil wife/mother to not have one. I HATE idly so much that I hesitated, come on I need to make some, click pictures and WRITE about it. Not a good start I know but that is the truth. It is probably inherited you see, my dad hates it more than me. My mom still complains about how my father runs away to catch the first bus to office if he knew idly was on the making. My father would at least find bliss in the saravana bhavan outside his office. But my brother, poor little Bala will even stay starved for the whole day rather than touch those white mud pies. Both the men complain about how lucky I am to have escaped the idly clutches. See, I told you. What do you expect me to do now??

This is how mama eats
MAMA loves idly must be my line considering our jodi porutham (match). I even thought he did for at-least the first 2 years of our marriage :O. He would find solace with idly almost every morning(big story), it was that creepy. But there was a day when he confessed about his idly love, he carved for Dosa and not idly. Good god, 'I am saved' I thought, even I love dosa so much. HUGS to DOSA :).

It all started since I was so small that I don't remember , ya baby kinda small. Since then I have no liking for idli says amma. So I grew up without any change to the liking part. When I got married and moved in with mama amma gifted me a table top grinder hoping that in some light years I will start making idli batter. You see idly is staple to every Tamil family, almost a regular breakfast on the table so it is mandatory to have a wet grinder, of-course I did not touch it, it was safe in the loft cuz I needed space for my big microwave. We still ate idly almost everyday though. It was a regular for me to travel all the way from velachery to mogappair in D70 A\C bus to get a big dabba full of amma made idly batter. It actually worked for us, mama wanted a good breakfast and idly would give him that feel. I had to JUST make the chutney, ya the most troubling part. I guess I still have not made a chutney that passes mama's test. As for the wet grinder it stays unopened in amma's store room, dear dear.

Later when mama moved to Geneva he carried our preeti mixer all the way with high hopes of making idly batter with it. Poor soul ended up making a batter that smelled too bad he had to throw it away. I was so happy when he told me that, I did not have to make idly and mama will have to find solace with corn flakes and brown bread. Mama always thought eating corn flakes for breakfast is a SIN.

This is how I eat
When I came to Geneva I found out that he used split urad dal for making idly, such an innocent/ignorant mama. He also has no idea how grinding using the mixer will affect the texture, taste and color of the idly, did I leave the smell in my list??. It was my grand mother who helped me with the color part. She told me that the grinding process MUST NOT heat the batter, which mixer does. This will result in pale yellow color and sometimes with a batter that will stink. She suggested me ICE CUBES rather than water, and she is more than brilliant. It works fine till date.

 In order to show off I brought some PROPER urad dal from the Srilankan store and showed him the difference. I had to make idly to show mama the white batter that did not smell  I will never tell him my ice cube secret and I hope (he is damn busy) he wont read this post. Now that we have white white batter (that did not raise properly)  rock hard white idly's are all that I made. I gave up the idly(dosa) idea forever so did mama, so much disappointment you see. Making urad dal vada is much more easier and mama will never say no. But I was craving for some dosa all the time. I made adai, moong dal dosa and rava dosa to comfort me but nothing can beat the REAL dosa, can it?.

Forever never happens to idly I guess. It all started again when one of our Indian friend Raj shifted to India forever. He gave us so many of his cooking masalas that triggered mama's failed experiments (the biriyani & fish fry. lol). Along with those came this lovely blue packet, 1 Kg udhayam urad dal. Oh my god, I felt so happy to see a perfect HOME (Tamil Nadu) BRAND food product. It was nostalgic. I wanted to make idly  again because it is commonly considered to be the best food for toddlers and I have one walking here and there. Not just that, amma was pestering me like anything. She said I was NOT feeding Babbi properly. duh!!. I had to give up finally, I really wanted some real dosa. This time the taste was much better (batter rose a bit, oven style) but the softness was something impossible to achieve.

This is how Babbi eats

That is when I remembered Selvi athai, she cooks extremely well and her idly's are drool worthy (yes, idly's. I like them RARELY). She was happy to share the secret with the newly married me (3 yrs back). I went to her place in Bangalore and she had made soft and irresistible idly's much better than Saravana bhavan, I swear. She said AVAL(rice puffs) did it, the magic ingredient. I asked amma to make use of it when she made batter for me and Amma never did so (brutus).

After almost 3 years I wanted a packet of aval to make my own batter. I got some from the Indian store( far away in Gare), the Srilankan store did not have any :(. This time I followed so many precautions  My batter had raising problems and Switzerland is to blame. It is always cold here :(( I wish you could see me cry). I read somewhere that the hand (hot body) that mixes the batter finally gives some positive raising results. I am always cold to touch and the other two are hot bodies. I can't ask 
babbi to do it so mama with a proud face did it for me.

NO, it did not help in the batter raising. The next morning I got up to check my batter. It did not raise at all :( MAMA did not mix it properly :P But I did not give up, I knew it was the temperature and the goddamn oven( my baby) did not help in the raising. That particular morning was really a good morning, the sun was all up and not so much cloudy around. But when I check ed the outside temperature it read 13 degrees. Ya, it is very common here to have a very clear sunny day with coldddd temperature, ok this is not cold considering real cold, but cold enough for idly batter not to raise.

Batter right from the mixer

I took my batter clad dabba and placed it right in front of the sun rays that fell inside the house and waited for a few hours. Hurray!! sun did it for me finally. The batter was all up and looked so convincing. I was very happy that I started making my amma's special idly sambar right after lunch to woo mama when he comes home in the evening.

Idly and sambar as evening snack and dinner, how does that sound?. Mama was all over it and he loved it. I loved it too but with my special idly podi. Babbi loved her kutty idly with sugar. The idly remained soft even after two hours of making. Hot idly's might often cheat us by being soft but they turn hard right after 5 minutes but this one was a grand success. I am a proper Tamil wife after all, I make good idly for my husband. PEACE

The batter was over in two days and I hardly made any dosa , sigh!! looked like we were way too desperate. I had to make batter the next week and this time I concentrated more on dosa than idly. It was a happy week for us. who will say no to dosa and chicken curry?? not my family, Babbi included.

Blessed by the sun

The next week I asked mama if he wanted some more of madness and he quietly admitted that he was BORED with idly. Two weeks and that is all he could take it. The marathon was over, he has finally fallen in love with the brown bread, nutella, apricot jam, maple syrup and honey. That's how he has his bread but I am fine as long as there is no chutney or sambar involved.

Weeks later we spent our Saturday in Luzern. I spotted an Indian restaurant that read "kanchi" and I was so delighted. I said mama "This is definitely a south Indian restaurant and let's go eat some dosa. you will love it"  ( I prefer anything but INDIAN outside, but mama ;))

He said " You make good idly and tasty dosa, I don't miss them anymore" Awww, wasn that so cute ?? no it was not, he still was bored with the stuff. Look whose kidding, I know the man like the back of my hand. Why on earth will he miss urad dal vada for anything?? That's let-us-go-catch-the-train-soon talk :p. 


  1. Yummy! That is a speciality I would love to taste.



  2. You know I will make it for you any time, sure done . thanks

  3. Even I hate idlis & prefer Sanna's instead. Loved reading ur post:)