South India is famous for Idli and Dosa. Most of the south Indian breakfast would definitely have Idli or Dosa. There are many varieties of this. I am posting the most basic method to prepare the batter.
Idli Rice : 4 cups
Urad Dal : 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds : 1/2 tbspn
Salt : 2 tbspn
Method: The trick in preparing soft idli’s is based on the soaking of rice and dal. Soak Idli rice for 6 hrs. Urad dal must be soaked only for 45 mins. Dont worry even if you cant grind it, then just put it in the refrigerator, and take it 10 mins before you can grind it. You can soak the fenugreek seeds with the urad dal.
In India, we use the grinders to grind the batter, as usually we do it in large quantities. But here in US most of the mornings we have only cereals, I use the mixer. Just that it takes time rather than the grinder.
There is no hard and fast rule of which one to be grinded first. Either rice or dal can be done. Grind it properly to a fine paste. Mix the content of rice and dal with salt properly. You have to clean your hand properly for doing this. As the mixing is done by hands. Mix well with hands for atleast 3 to 5 mins. Store the batter in a large container. Allow it to ferment for one whole night. The next day you can see that the batter has completely fermented and now you can place it in refrigerator. I usually use the batter the first few days for preparing Idli. After 2 or 3 days, since it would start to get watery we can use it for Dosa/ Indian pancakes.
I have heard many of my friends telling me that fermentation doesnt happen well , specially in the winter season. Nowadays we get very good yeast, which we can add to the batter and that helps in good fermentation.