Monday, June 24, 2013

In praise of Idli

KIT PERERA knows Sri Lankan food. The cricket coach and mentor has been doing his gig, Chef for the Night since 2003. So when he came to visit, he had made idli and accompaniments.

Idli has become the Indian sub-continent's favourite, although it originated in South India. This is Kit's take on idli, a vegetarian breakfast staple. Idli rice is soaked overnight, do the same with urad dal (black gram). You can use basmati rice, sona masuri or 
kolam rice.

Grind the soaked idli rice and lentil (urad dhal) and mixed the batter. To help in the fermentation, add coconut water. Add pinch of salt and a few drops of oil (vegetable, canola or sunflower). You can add fenugeek seeds. Let the batter ferment in a warm environment. There is a slightly sour aroma of the fermented batter (leave 5 to 6 hours), a promise of the treat to come.

Steam the batter in an idli maker for 20 minutes.

Top the warm idli with these accompaniments:

✪ Coconut Chutney
Made with grated coconut, a handful of fresh curry leaves, 
& fresh coriander, 3 green chillies, 1 thumb peeled fresh ginger, clove of garlic, tamarind pulp, pottu kadalai (roasted Bengal Gram, also known as chutney dhal or fried channa) you can blend all ingredients in a food blender or pound to a rough paste in pestle and mortar. Season with salt.

✪ Sāmbhar
A mix of vegetables cooked with red lentils. Made with red lentils, carrot, silver beet and peas. 
Boil lentils together with rest of the vegetables until just cooked and set aside. 
In a saucepan heat olive oil, fry sliced onion, curry leaves, 3 dried red chillies and 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, Add chopped garlic turmeric, cumin and paprika, fry for 3-4 minutes. 
Transfer vegetable mix in to the onion and spice mix cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, season with salt. 

✪ Beetroot Temperadu
4 beetroots peeled, thinly sliced and cut into batons. 
Heat olive oil in a large fry pan, fry sliced onion, chopped fresh chillies, curry leaves mustard seeds until onion become a golden colour, add ginger garlic cumin turmeric and paprika. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add beetroot, mix well, add a little water, cover and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, season with salt.

Kit Perera
Chef For A Night
0274 883 003

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