A Primitive Idly
Xuanzang(Popularly known as Hsüan-tsang, 602 - 664 CE) was a famous Chinese traveler, said in one of his book 'si-yu-ki' that Indians never owned a steaming vessel! Just for an argument sake...Well, in a primitive society, especially during famine and poverty...commoners might have not owned an exclusive steaming vessel, but that doesn't mean 'cooking was/is absolutely impossible'!!! In the olden days, they would have simply loaded their stuff/batter that needs to be steamed in a plantain leaf or clean cloth and mounted it over a wide vessel, which would have been 'half the way filled with water, to produce steam!
In Anthropology, this is the first lesson, while tracing the history of a primitive culture 'remember one thing in mind'...tools that are very important like needles and harpoons are found stored with due respect...but tools that are used for regular hammering, grinding, hunting stone implements would have been created on the spot, used and disposed.
Some of the greatest pleasure of food' doesn't come from opening the fridge and popping it in the microwave (to me).I believe, the hardship of foraging and hunting is a complete meal! Clearly, it is not possible as a civilized person today:( Hmmm, I tend to complicate things around me...just make my meal the hard way. Yep, weird...but very fulfilling:) I remember my father talking about his childhood...where he ate giant sized idlies, (In those days, clay vessels were used for steaming and banana leaves or jack fruit leaves were used for loading the batter). Just mimicked the methodology to re-create a primitive idly!!!
Parboiled rice 1/2 cup
Raw rice 1/2 cup
Urad dal 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds 1 spoon.
Both the should be soaked together in water for at least 5 hours.
Urad dal and fenugreek should be soaked separately for half an hour.
Wet grind them separately. Use less water, while grinding.
Later mix them well.
Add salt and soda plus sesame oil.
Allow this to ferment. Roughly overnight.
Once the fermentation part is over, the Idly batter is ready.
Pour them in a Idly laddle/muffin tray/clean cloth/banana leaf.
Steam cook for about 10 mins.
Serve hot with chutney, sambar or korma.