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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rava Idli & Coconut Chutney

Ganesh and i met when we were 16. Our home cultures were incomparable. He was from a stauch hindu brahmin family and I a Parsi Zoroastrian. The only common factor was that both of us were human beings and perhaps our cultural differences was the attrating force. After severl years into our courtship, when I moved to Bangalore and lived in a hostel run by the missionary nuns, food became the biggest problem. Food served by them was bad and it is difficult for me to describe how bad… I was constantly hungry and tired of eating dosas and idlis (the cheapest veg food) from restaurants. Ganesh lived with his parents and was lucky to eat a sumptious breakfast and carry a tiffin box with vegetables and chapatis or akki rotis with chutney, tomato rice or lemon rice and all the yummy home stuff that gets cooked in a south indian brahmin kitchen! He was a sweetheart and would give me his lunch box every day so I could eat one good clean meal, while he enjoyed the restaurant dosas.

Breakfast for Ganesh is the most important meal of the day and we plan the previous night (or 24 hours ahead in case of idlis and dosas) what should go on the table for breakfast next morning. Yesterday, we had rava idlis with coconut chutney and the idlis turned out fluffy and soft like never before! We ate some rava idlis again at tea time and Manju saved some for dinner!

Try this simple recipe and do let me know how it turned out.

Rava Idli (Serves 4-5)

Rava or semolina (medium size) 2 cups
Sour curd 1 cup
Water 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Green chilies chopped 2 or more as per taste
Pepper corns 10
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Chana daal 1/2 tsp
Hing or asafoeteda a pinch
Coriander leaves finely chopped 2 tbsp
Eno's Fruit salt 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp

Heat the oil and add mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Add green chilies, pepper corns, cumin seeds, chana dal and fry until daal turns golden. Add hing and give a quick stir. Add the semolina and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Transfer these ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add salt and sour curd and mix well. Add water until the mix becomes a thick batter. Now add the Eno's fruit salt and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and let the mix stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the idli stand and the steamer/cooker. Add around 2 cups of water to the steamer, cover the lid and heat on high flame to generate steam. Grease the idli moulds with oil or ghee, fill the idli mix in the moulds and steam. Take extreme care to ensure that you turn down the flame before opening the steamer to put in the idli stand or plates. Steam burns can be really nasty. Steam the idlis for around 10 minutes and turn off the flame. Open the steamer after a few minutes and scoop out the idlis. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Rava or semolina is available in different particle sizes. The very fine variety is used to make dough for pastry outers. The medium sized rava is used extensively in upma/khara bhath, rava idli, kesari bhath preparations. The large and granular rava is known as bansi rava and makes excellent khara bhath.

Coconut Chutney (serves 4-5)

Coconut grated or pieces 1 cup
Fried gram (optional) 1/4 cup
Garlic (optional) 4 cloves
Ginger 1/4 inch piece
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Tamarind 1 inch piece
Green chilies 2 or as per taste
Salt 1/2 tsp or to taste
Water for blending

Blend all the ingredients into a rough paste. Serve with idlis, dosas, chapatis and poories.

I have seasoned the chutney with some mustard seeds, urad daal and hing (instead of garlic).


  1. and I think you may remember how Very much Ray and I LOVED your Idli's and Coconut Chutney...
    don't you?!! You were so sweet to have made those and then have Harish walk over to deliver them to us for breakfast! I think we each had 10 or more!!! We bought some of those Idli pans to make our own once home here in the states..but of course, they just don't taste as good as yours were....Now you've made me hungry for some Anu!!! :~)

  2. Yes my dear Tracy. I remember. Those were rice idlis. Try the rava idlis. they are easier. Love xoxo