Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a pan. Keep the heat to low or medium-low. Add the halved cashews. Stirring often fry the cashews till golden. Remove fried cashews with a slotted spoon draining the ghee and keep aside.
To the same pan add mustard seeds and let them begin to splutter. Keep the heat to low or medium-low
When the mustard seeds begin to splutter add the chana dal. Stirring often fry chana dal till they look golden and crunchy. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for 4 to 5 seconds.
Now add the chopped curry leaves, asafoetida, finely chopped ginger and green chillies. Mix well and fry for 10 seconds. Keep the heat to a low.
Next add rava (cream of wheat, suji, semolina).
Mix well and stirring often roast the rava till they become aromatic, change color a bit (but should not get browned or golden) and the grains look separate. Roasting rava will takes about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness and heaviness of the pan, and the flame intensity. Once the rava is well roasted, keep the pan aside. Let the rava become warm.
To the roasted rava, add 2 tablespoons finely grated carrots, 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and ½ teaspoon salt or add as required.
Next add curd (yogurt) and water as required. Depending on the quality of rava and the thickness of curd, you can adjust the water from ½ to ¾ cup. If the curd is liquid and has whey in it, then add ½ cup water. If the curd is very thick, then add ¾ cup water. Basically you need to get a medium consistency batter.
Mix very well and let the batter rest covered for 20 minutes. The rava idli batter is neither thick nor thin in consistency and has a medium consistency.
Brush oil or ghee on the idli pan moulds. Place a fried halved cashew in the center of the moulds. Also heat 2 to 2.5 cups water in a pot. Keep a small length trivet stand or a rack in the pot. Heat the water till it comes to a boil.
After 20 minutes this is the consistency of the batter after resting. If in case the batter looks thick, rava idli batter looks thick, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to get a medium consistency. Rava absorbs water and so the batter might thicken after 20 minutes. If the curd is thick, then also you may need to add more water. If you have added more water in the beginning, then you may not need to any water at this step.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon eno or ¼ teaspoon baking soda evenly over the batter. Quickly mix very well.
Pour the batter in the idli moulds. Place them in the pot with the hot water. Cover with a lid and steam rava idli for 10 to 12 minutes.
To check the doneness, a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the rava idli should come out clean. Remove the idli plates carefully and let them rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Then with a spoon remove the rava idli.
Serve the steaming hot rava idli with sambar and your favorite coconut chutney.
Type of rava: Kindly use the finer variety of rava and not the coarser or bigger ones. You can use bombay rava or chiroti rava.
Roasting rava: The rava has to be roasted well in ghee so that they do not become sticky after steaming.
Leaving agents: Eno (fruit acid) and baking soda are the leaveing agents used in the recipe. You can add either of them. Do make sure they are fresh and within their shelf period. If they are not fresh or active, they won't leaven the batter resulting in hard rava idli.
Skipping the leavening agents: You can skip them, but the rava idli won't have a fluffy texture. They will be soft though with a slight denseness in the texture.
No idli pan, no problem: Use a cake pan or bowl for the batter and steam. Once steamed well, then slice in wedges or cubes.
Steaming: Do not steam for a prolonged time as this will result in dense rava idli. You can easily steam in a pan, instant pot or a pressure cooker.
Steaming in a pan: Heat 2.5 cups water in a large pot or pan. Place a small trivet stand. Then place the idli pan on the trivet. Cover with a lid loose enough to let the steam pass or with a vent. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes.
Steaming in a pressure cooker: Heat 2.5 cups water in a 5 or 6 litre pressure cooker. Place the pressure cooker grid plate inside the water before heating it or a small trivet. Keep the idli pan. Remove the vent weight (whistle) from the lid. Seal the pressure cooker with its lid. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes.
Steaming in Instant Pot: Add 2 to 2.5 cups water in the steel insert of a 6 quart IP. Place a small trivet in the water. Using the sauté option bring the water to a boil. Press cancel. Place the idli plates. Cover with the IP lid and keep the sealing position to vent (so that the steam is released from the vent during the entire process of steaming). Press the steam button on high and set the time to 10 minutes. Use a stop watch to check the time.
Note that the approximate nutrition info is for 1 rava idli.