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Black gram: Whole black gram steamed cakes

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Whole Black Gram Cakes

Konchevarum Idli
Recipe with whole black gram that requires soaking. Konchevarum idlies are steamed lentil and rice cakes that are a core or central part of the meal. With this recipe you'll be making a large batch that you'll store in the frig. Take out enough batter and prepare it with some fried items every time you're going to make it. The batter and the finished idlies store well in the frig. 
1 cup whole black gram
3 cups white rice
tap water

1 ts fenugreek seeds for a pungent taste (fenugreek is one of the ingredients in mustard.)

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 this is. It'll speed up your processing time.
    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. Store in a large bowl or container.
Now that you have your batter ready, here's how you go about making your steamed Konchivarem idlies.
  1. Transfer enough batter from the large container to a smaller bowl to jazz up the idlies you're going to make for today's meal.
  2. In a separate frying pan fry with 1 tb oil (sesame oil tastes good here) 
    1. Some of your favorite seasonings. Here are ours for this recipe: 
      1. 1/2 ts cracked pepper, 1 ts cumin,  1/2 ts dried ginger, 1 ts hing (aka asafoetida), few curry leaves.
    2. Mix this medley of seasonings into the batter.   
  3. 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)
  4. Put pan in a pot with steaming water, cover, and steam for about 25 minutes. 
  5. 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.
  6. Take out of steamer pot and let it cool.
  7. Once cooled, dump onto a plate, and cut it in thick slices. 
  8. This batter also fries up nicely. You just use the batter to make a pancake by using oil and a frying pan.

eBlack gram balls and pancakes - not fermented. The ones on the left side are with chopped onions. The ones on the right side are without any veggies.

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Black gram fermented lentil batter. From bottom to top: Black gram, brown rice, white rice, fenugreek. 

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