1 cup Parboiled Long-grain Rice
5 cups extra long-grain white rice
1 ½ cups urad dal
1 cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons salt
Soaking: you will need 3 separate bowls for soaking. Soaking takes about 6 hours or overnight. Soak the rice in 4 cups of boiling water. Cover and set aside. Soak extra long-grain rice in enough warm water to cover and set aside. Soak the urad dal in warm water to cover. Cover and set aside.
Grinding: add drained rice to blender with enough water to facilitate grinding (about 1 ½ cups). Grind to a coarse cornmeal-like texture. Transfer ground rice to a tall container.
Drain water and grind long-grain rice, a little at a time, with just enough water to cover rice, which will facilitate the grinding process. Grind to a creamy, coarse cornmeal-like consistency. Add to the above tall container.
Drain water from soaked urad dal and place urad dal in blender. Add just enough water about (1 ½ cups) to facilitate grinding. Grind to a fine smooth paste. Transfer ground dal to the above tall container.
When all the above three ground mixtures are together in the tall container, add slat. With your hand, mix the batters and the slat thoroughly. It is important to use your hand, and not a spoon, because the warmth from the hand will initiate or start the fermentation process of the batter.
Cover the bowl and set aside overnight. Do not use direct heat.
Note: Sometimes, because of cold weather, the batter may not readily ferment. To encourage the batter to ferment, place the tall container in a warmed oven. Just heat oven to 350 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn off the oven. After a 10 to 15 minute wait, the bowl with batter can be placed, still covered, in the oven.
The following morning or about 6 hours later depending upon the outside temperature and humidity, you will notice that the batter has risen in the container and has a foamy appearance. This is fermentation. Sometimes, depending up on the climate, the batter may over ferment and overflow the container. Discard spillage and just use the batter in the container to make idli.
It is important not to stir the batter after fermentation. Make idli with an idli cooker as explained below for about 10 minutes.
Idli Cooker: A special type of vessel that is used to make idlis. It has a bottom pan to hold water and a plate insert with 5 to 7 mold sections, similar in appearance to an egg poacher. A wet cloth is draped over idli plate and the batter is poured into each mold over the seamed cloth. The steamed cloth is necessary to hold the batter from flowing into the water in the bottom vessel. The vessel has a tight cover to steam cook the idlis. Steam cook for 8 to 10 minutes.