Ask any south Indian and they love their idli-sambhar dish! I decided on the spur of the moment to make some piping hot Idli's with sambhar. Of course, preparing Idli's used to be a religious ceremony for my mom- I remember her working on the dough for a day, wait for it to ferment and then making some ultra soft steamed idli's. Me on the other hand loves to find a quick fix solution and here I am with my steamed rava-idli's with sambhar.
For the Rava idli- Use one cup of rava/sooji (dry roast it beforehand)- In a small tava, heat oil- add some mustard seeds. Once they start popping-add green chillies, cashew-nut, yellow lentils (channa dal) and allow it to get roasted. Reduce the heat and add some corriander leaves. Now toss these into the roasted rava and mix curd, water to make it a pouring consistency dough. I gave it a couple of hours time to ferment- you can add a bit of baking soda for a faster fermenting process! Once the dough is ready, grease idli plates and pour the dough. Steam them in a pressure cooker for about 10-12 minutes. Serve hot with sambhar.
For the sambhar- South Indian sambhar can be made in million ways and every single time, I keep hearing some version or the other from my relative. I prefer to keep it simple and flavorful and here is my version of sambhar-Boil one cup of toor dal (yellow dal) and keep it aside. Slice some onions (3-4). In a wok, pour some oil and allow it to heat. Add mustard seeds and red dry chillies. Once they start popping, toss in the onions and roast them in a medium flame- while the onions are getting roasted, take a small cup and pour in one big tablespoon of tamarind paste and dilute it in plain water. Once the onions are roasted, pour in the tamarind liquid, two cups of water and bring it to boil. The proportion should be one cup of tamarind liquid diluted in water with two cups of plain water. Add a big spoon of sambhar powder, asafoetida powder, corriander powder, pinch of cardamom powder and salt. Allow this mixture to boil for 20 to 30 minutes. once the mixture reaches a bit of consistency, add the toor dal and allow it to boil for another 10 minutes. To bring the sambhar to a good consistency dilute two small spoons of rice powder in a cup of water and dump it in the sambhar. Before serving, add a handful of corriander leaves (finely chopped)!