As far as the idlis go, I was supremely lazy and used MTR’s most excellent instant idli mix. A few changes: I used buttermilk instead of water or yogurt, and added some ginger paste to the mix. I had to thin the batter down a bit with water, though, because the buttermilk left it too thick.
My mom’s recipe. Ma, if you’re reading this, you rock, and the chutney was incredibly tasty. And so, so simple.
You need: 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut; 2 green chilies (jalapeños, serrano, whatever you like – add1 if you don’t want it too spicy); salt to taste.
How to: If the coconut is the dessicated variety you get in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods-like stores, put it in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of water, and zap it for a minute. Mix well. If you’re using fresh, you’re less lazy than I am, congratulations 🙂
Chop the green chilies and throw in a food processor with the coconut and salt and some water, if necessary. Add the water a little bit at a time, and mix well before you add any more. Coconut chutney is deceptive, and you’ll suddenly have too much water if you’re not careful. Blend well.
Heat a little oil, and drop in some mustard seeds and some shredded curry leaves. Let them splutter and add it to the chutney. Mix well.
Refrigerate. It should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Oh, and by the way, I used a microwaveable idli steamer, which I think you can get online, though I bought mine in a dinky but darling store in Sarojini Nagar in Delhi. I have, previously, used little microwaveable bowls and put them in a plate with a little water and zapped them for five minutes. This does work much better, though. The tomatoes and curry leaves I put into the steamer’s batter bowls before I poured the batter in. I’ve seen this in udipi-type places back home, thought I’d try it. Looks pretty. I might try other things next time, cashews, cilantro, maybe even be brave enough to try to make rava idli from scratch!