We love idlis, those fluffy white steamlings from the south. Traditionally, idlis are made of fermented rice and lentil batter. Idli batter grinders are specialty equipment, and my blender was no match for them, so I had only made the easier semolina version.
Now that I have my 1/2 horse power monster food processor, it was time to take the plunge. I followed this recipe, soaked the rice and lentils for five hours and then ground them. Fermentation in the sanitized US environment is a problem, so I followed all the good instructions that came with the recipe and here. The batter picks up wild yeast from the air, and surely there was plenty of it in my kitchen. I covered the mixing bowl with cling wrap and put it in the warm oven overnight. In the morning? Nothing. The bowl had been 1/4th full, and the batter had not risen an inch.
Hmm. Well, since yeast is a living thing, maybe it needed to breathe. I replaced the plastic wrap with a wet towel. Voila! The batter started to rise like the river in February.
The idlis were good, but mostly I was just happy about the fermentation.
Next, appey from the leftover batter.