Rave Idli (Steamed Semolina Cakes)

This spicy semolina cake was believed to be invented by MTR, one of the best vegetarian restaurants in South India claim, that during the World War II, when rice was in short supply, they experimented with semolina to make idlis. Hence, the quick new hassle free way of making steamed rava idlis was born! You may make it from scratch or just buy ready rave idli mix and yogurt.

What you need: Makes 16 medium sized idlis
2 cups medium sized rave/suji/semolina
2 cups plain thick yogurt and some extra
2 tsp kadale bele / split channa dhal
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp finely chopped ginger
2 tsp finely chopped green chilies
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
½ tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
4-6 whole or broken cashews (optional)
2 tsp ghee/oil

In a saucepan on medium heat, add ghee. When it begins to shimmer, add the cashews, channa dhal and mustard seeds.  When they roast to a golden brown, add the chopped curry leaves and rave, roast it for a few minutes until they are well toasted. Pour it over into a large bowl. Add in the chopped ginger, green chilies and cilantro. Add salt, give the dry ingredients a whisk with a ladle; add the yogurt and mix it all well, getting rid of lumps. Cover and set aside for 15-20 minutes. This time allows it to soften and form a pudding consistency. Add in the baking soda,, stir it in and make idlis.

If the mixture has gotten too thick, add a tablespoon of extra yogurt, if it is too runny, let it stand for some more time. Grease the idli pans with oil, and pour a ladleful of batter into the pans. If you don’t have the pan, use small steel cups/plates/tumblers instead.  Steam cook them in a large vessel or cooker of water. After the idlis have cooked in steam for about 15 minutes on medium-high heat, turn it off and let stand for a few minutes.
Dip a spoon in cold water and scoop out the idlis and serve them hot with aloo sagu and cilantro or mint chutney. Enjoy!