We love paddus. We love mini idlis. we are the idli-liking people! :-) :-)
As kids, we have eaten loads of paddus and idlis. Watching mom make the paddu, in a special pan, was fun. The paddu pans come in different sizes, and is made of a variety of materials, such as stone, iron, and non-stick material. My mom had pans made of stone and iron. Let me tell you that the pan material can enhance the taste of the paddus.
Recently, when we visited Trichy, I was tempted to buy a paddu pan (not that I don't get it at Bangalore). I also bought a mini-idli stand. On return to Bangalore, I prepared the idli batter, and then made delicious paddus and mini idlis. Served paddu with spicy mint-coconut chutney, and mini idlis with sambar made of sambar onions.
Well, yes, the batters for both paddu and mini idli are slightly different. But I tend to prepare universal idli batter (!) from which I can make idlis, paddus, and dosas.
My version of the idli batter:
1 cup rice
2 cups parboiled rice
3/4 cups urad dal (split black gram)
1/2 cup flattened rice
1 tsp (or lesser) fenugreek seeds
Take two bowls. In one, soak only urad dal; in the other, soak the remaining ingredients. Soak for 4-5 hours. Strain all the water, and then grind the ingredients. For idli, let the batter be little granular. For dosa, batter must be smoother. You may not be able to use the batter as soon as you grind it. Add sufficient salt to the batter, mix well, and then let the batter ferment for 6-8 hours.
Before making the idlis or dosas, vigorously mix the fermented batter. Oil the idli stands or dosa pan, and then make the dishes. I smear the idli stands with ghee; adds flavor to the idlis.