What is rice idli? This is a tasty rice cake with Indian descent perfect for breakfast and snacks. Find out how to cook idli rice in this new post.
What is Rice Idli?
It first came from South India where people eat it for breakfast and due to its savory taste; it then became a popular light meal across the country. You can find different versions of idli rice sold in the streets of India and even as far as Sri Lanka.
Because food is the best and fastest traveler, idli is now becoming a famous rice recipe around the world. Wherever you find Indian and Asian restaurants, you will surely see dishes with idlis or just idli rice.
Is Idli Healthy?
Idli is made from a specialized mold and usually eaten along with chutney, vegetable stew, and other flavorful toppings. Most people eat it for breakfast or as a snack, and even as a light lunch or dinner.
These rice cakes are healthy and can be packed as your snacks at work or at school or wherever you think you might feel hungry. No need to drop by a café and bite a muffin or donut, idli will be the best alternative and good for your health.
Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fiber
Adults need at least 50 grams of protein; men need 28 – 34 grams of fiber and women at least 22 – 28 grams of fiber, and 225 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis.
One rice idli gives you 2 grams of protein 8 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of dietary fiber which is a notable amount protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. You can substitute rice idli with bread for a healthier breakfast alternative.
Vitamins and Minerals
Men need 8mg of iron and women need 18mg of iron every day. One idli can provide 1mg of iron, calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. 25% of the iron comes from the rice and most of it comes from the black lentils.
We know that iron keeps our blood oxygenated and plays an important role in any diet.
Fat, Calories, Sodium and Cholesterol
Great news for those who are trying to lose weight! Idli contains 0 fats, therefore, no saturated fat and no cholesterol. One idli contains 39 calories a minimal amount in compared to a healthy 2,000 calorie diet.
Each idli contains about 65mg of sodium which is a good way to prevent high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
How to Cook Idli
Preparing rice idli is easy and does not need any sophisticated ingredients and equipment. What you need is patience and passion as it takes around 8-12 hours soaking time.
You only need 2 important ingredients in making rice idli: Rice and Black Lentils.
You can easily purchase black lentils from Asian supermarkets and soak it in water overnight to allow the seeds to ferment before grinding.
What Kind of Rice to Use?
The best rice to use for idli is parboiled rice. We know that parboiled rice is rice grains that were partially boiled while inside the husk to keep the nutrients in.
If parboiled rice is not readily available, you may use any short-grain variety and even brown rice. However, brown rice takes longer to cook compared to white rice.
- 4 cups Parboiled rice
- A cup of black lentils (black gram and skinless)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- A teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
- 4 cups water for soaking
- 2 cups fresh water for fermenting
Making the Batter:
- The first thing to do is to wash both the rice and the lentils thoroughly
- Soak the lentils along with the fenugreek seeds and also soak the rice. Use separate bowls for each and let it sit for about 2 hours. Add more water in the lentils as they double their sizes when soaked.
- Drain all the waters from rice and lentils but keep the water from the lentils.
- Grind the lentils finely into a paste
- Grind the rice coarsely. You may add little water if needed
- Mix both the ground rice and lentils together with the fenugreek seeds and salt
- Set inside a preheated oven at 200° for about 8 minutes to allow fermentation
Making the Idli:
- Wipe your idli pan with ghee or vegetable oil and spoon a generous amount of the batter into the pan. Fill the round surfaces but do not overfill
- Let it steam for about 12 minutes
- Remove the idli from the pans using a spatula or bread knife
Check out this video tutorial for a better way to cook rice idli:
You may use a blender to achieve the consistency of the rice and lentils batter. Modern grinders may work but there are tendencies that you may over-grind the batter and will not produce a fluffy idli.
For a healthier option, you can consider cooking brown rice. However, if you are using brown rice, you need to soak the grains for about 4-6 hours.
Ready-made Idli Batter
If you are too busy at work but craves for some idli snacks, then you may also purchase ready-made idli batter at many Asian groceries. However, consider that ready-made idli batters contain preservatives and added fermented products such as citric acid and other leavening chemicals.
If we take a closer look at other rice recipes around the world, we will be surprised at how amazingly people in different cultures cook rice. After all, rice is still the queen among grains. There are so much more to discover about rice.
Like the rice idli, who would have thought you can make rice cakes that are so tasty and healthy at the same time? Have you tried eating rice idli? Do you some idli versions to share with us? Comment us below and we would love to try!