Jasmine Asirvatham is a grandmother in her mid-seventies. She loves serving up traditional dishes to her family and is considered a repository of old forgotten recipes by those who know her.
The plain old idli gets adventurous
Vivikai or banana idli is a popular dish in Tirunelveli. Served as breakfast at weddings, vivikai is a favourite with my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
What you need
Raw rice – 1 cup
Idli rice – 1 cup
Black gram (urad dal) – 2 tbsp
Fenugreek (vendhyam) – 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 1/2 cups
Sugar – 1 1/2 cups
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Sour curd – 1 tbsp
Big bananas - 3
Fried cashewnuts to taste
Soak raw rice, idli rice, black gram and fenugreek together for four hours.
Grind them with half cup grated coconut into a paste neither too fine nor too coarse. It should have the texture of idli batter.
Add sugar, salt, and sour curd and mix thoroughly.
If you add four tbsp of idli batter it will help the batter ferment. (In my grandmother’s time, 1/4 glass of toddy was added to the batter to make the idlis rise well and keep them soft.)
Keep aside overnight.
Next morning add one cup of grated coconut and baking soda and mix well.
Pour into idli moulds. Place banana slices and fried cashew nuts on top.
Steam for seven minutes. Serve warm.
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