Cakes and Noodles Out of Rice
India’s staple food – rice – is a pre-eminent crop occupying large parts of the country for its cultivation. Feeding millions since the dawn of civilization and exported to the rest of the world, India’s rice have been cooked and served in a variety of ways. The things they can do with rice is quite amazing. Let’s look at two of their most popular rice variant dishes – the Idly and the Idiyappam.
Idli is a savoury rice cake made by grinding rice, urad dal (skinned black lentils), along with water. The resulting batter is left to ferment overnight before being steamed in an idli steamer. The dish hails from the southern part of India but is popular as breakfast food throughout India and neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka. The cakes can be pillow-soft depending on your fermentation process, batter consistency and ingredients with their ratio, depending on the weather. Traditionally a breakfast item along with chutney and sambar, idlis are also enjoyed as snacks.
The idiyappam is known as String Hoppers in the west, looking like delicate noodles. It is both a traditional Sri Lankan and South Indian food consisting of rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed. However, in South India white rice is used; in Sri Lanka both brown rice and white rice are used.
Most parts of South India eat idiyappam at breakfast and must have been so for 2,000 years, some claim. They have different names where you find them; it’s idiyappam in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it’s nool puttu in Coorg and southern Kannada areas of Karnataka, and puttumayam in Malaysia. They are pretty much prepared the same way.
It is made of rice flour, salt and water. The ingredients are mixed in hot water, kneaded into a smooth dough, put into a press to produce the rice strings coming out of perforations and onto banana leaves, or straight into a steamer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve your idiyappam with coconut gratings and coconut milk, or curry and coconut chutney, or even spicy curry. The noodles will absorb all these flavors, anywhere from breakfast time to dinner.
Vegetarians’ Choice in Bellevue
For breakfast or snacks or even for dinner, love our rice cakes and rice noodles at Spice Route in Bellevue. Either way, it’s a healthy choice and as traditional as traditional can be in southern India.