2 cups white rice
1 cup urad dal (small white dal)
1.5 tsp. salt
1. Soak the rice and dal separately overnight or for at least four hours.
2. Drain the dal and grind it in a food processor until it is fluffy and light.
3. Drain the rice and grind it coarsely (it should look like sooji, or cream of wheat)
4. Mix them together with salt and beat well with a wooden spoon.
5. Leave in a warm dark place to rise. Make sure to put the batter in a large dish with high sides, and put a plate under it to catch any overflow.
6. If you are using a pressure cooker, grease the idli steamer bowls with a little oil. Fill them halfway with batter. Place in the cooker, add 1 cup water in the bottom, close without the weight and let them cook for fifteen minutes or until done.
7. To check if they are done, stick a knife in the middle of the idli. If it comes away clean, they are done.
8. If you are using a microwave idli steamer, grease the bowls and half-fill with batter. Follow the directions for your steamer.
9. If you do not have a steamer or pressure cooker, use small microwaveable bowls. Half-fill them with batter. Place them in a plate with a little water and zap them for five minutes, or until done.
10. Use a wet butter knife to scoop the idlis out of the bowls.
Eat with chutney or sambar. This makes about eight servings.