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Black gram: Hulled black gram and rice steamed dumplings or cakes

Hulled Black Gram and Rice Steamed Dumplings or Cakes aka in South Indian as Idli

Recipe with split black gram that requires soaking. Idlies are steamed lentil and rice cakes that are a core or central part of the meal.
 
Ingredients
1 cup split black gram
3 cups white rice
tap water
salt
oil

Optional
1 ts fenugreek seeds for a pungent taste (fenugreek is one of the ingredients in mustard.)
Tools
Blender
Pan in which to steam the batter
Pot with a lid that is large enough to accommodate the pan of batter  
  1. Soak black gram, rice, and fenugreek, if you're using it, for a few hours or overnight. 
  2. Grind the concoction in a blender for a several minutes until it has a ketchup-like texture. Grind it until it is ground more than coarse but not finely ground. 
    1. You need to do this in stages until you learn how much your blender can process without spilling over. Make note of how much your blender uses without it spilling over.
    2. If you ever add too much water and don't any any more soaked mixture, just add some rice flour to thicken it. (Rice flour is just finely-ground rice done in a blender.) 
  3. Blend salt in and taste for salt. You'll always need to use much more than you would anticipate. We start with 1 teaspoon per cup of ingredients and we still add more along the way. Make note of how much you use for future batches. 
  4. Grease with pan with oil and pour the batter into the pan no more than 1 inch high (or use a idli steamer see pictures below).
  5. Put pan in a pot with steaming water, cover, and steam for about 25 minutes. 
  6. Test readiness by inserting a fork and seeing if it comes out with wet batter or with dry crumbs. If there are dry-ish crumbs, it's ready.
  7. Take out of steamer pot and let it cool.
  8. Once cooled, dump onto a plate, and cut it in thick slices. 
  9. This batter also fries up nicely. You just use the batter to make a pancake by using oil and a frying pan. 

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