idli―a 300-year-old traditional food item of India and is prepared from naturally fermented batter made of rice and urad dal. Among different variants of idli cereal (Rice) can be replaced with millets. However, urad dal is indispensable when natural fermentation is desirable. The latter is primarily responsible for the soft and spongy texture of the finished product. Replacing urad dal with mung dal makes idli with harder texture which are sensorially unacceptable. Use of higher amount of dal or addition of baking soda were attempted to get better textural properties but are never close to traditional rice and urad idli. Millets have gained their own space in super markets as healthy nutrient rich premium alternatives of rice and wheat. Although, ready-to-cook millet idli dry premixes are available in the market but they add baking soda for imparting the spongy texture via CO2 generation, which otherwise happens during fermentation due to microbial activities. Thus, presently, naturally fermented rice/millet-mung idli with textural properties very close to traditional idli is not available in the market.
The present technology "Naturally Fermented fibre fortified Rice / Millet Idli using Moong as an alternative to Urad" developed by BARC employs judicially selected millets and fibre for making soft and spongy idli. Further, this technology not only completely replaces the urad and baking soda in idli preparation but also retains the natural fermentation step which is essential for improved sensory and nutritive characteristics.
BARC has developed a technology for preparing naturally fermented fiber fortified rice/millet-moong idli. Making idli, replacing urad with mung and millets is difficult as they lack the desirable rheological properties of urad. Although, many ready-to-cook millet idli dry premixes are available but they are supplemented with baking soda for generating the CO2 which happens during natural fermentation. However, by-passing the fermentation step leads to lesser organoleptic properties and nutritive values. The present technology uses judicially selected millets and fiber which not only builds the nutritive content but also helps in completely replacing the use of urad and baking soda (which are used in preparation of traditional and ready-to-cook idli batter, respectively). Further, it allows natural fermentation for increasing the organoleptic properties and nutritive values.
Traditionally idli is prepared only using urad dal (and rice) which is primarily responsible for the soft and spongy texture of the finished product. Replacing urad dal with any other legumes or dal will not give the required texture and thus the product becomes unacceptable. Fermentation is an important step in idli batter preparation which not only helps in raising of batter but also provides the bacterial enzymes necessary for releasing aromatic compounds leading to improved organoleptic properties. Ready-to-cook idli premixes sold in powder form is made of various legumes other than urad but also contains baking soda as leavening agent. Although, baking soda helps in raising the batter volume but will not release the essential flavor or aromatic compounds, which happens only during natural fermentation; thus, dry premixes have very low acceptance among consumers. Also, millets have gained importance as "health-foods" for their health benefits, but using them to make idli is challenging as they lack the rheological properties of urad. So, BARC has developed a technology for making soft and spongy mung & millet idli by completely replacing urad and baking soda; without eliminating the natural fermentation step. This technology employs radiation processed fiber, which not only imparts modified rheological properties for idli batter but also adds fiber to final product for value addition.
a. Raw Materials