Idli – Steamed rice cake


Idli – Though this is a very typical South Indian breakfast, it is no longer made only in South Indian homes. Like Dosa, Idli is also world famous 😛 I know couple of my non-Indian friends who make Idli at home!! Well, having said that, most people typically buy the idli batter that is available in stores. I also used to do the same. Afterall, it saves so much time and preparation. That is what I used to think till I made my first perfect batch of Idli batter. The first time I tried making Idli batter, I was soo disappointed. My idli wasn’t fluffy or soft. It was hard and sticky. I realized that my urad dal was the culprit. Please make sure that the urad dal you use for the batter is of good quality and fresh.

I was ready with my second batch of batter. But this time, the idli was not fluffy. Thats when I realized that you shouldn’t stir your batter much after it is fermented. This makes a huge difference in the way your idli comes out. By mixing your fermented batter, you let all the air escape. The third time I made, my idlis were perfect. Third time charm, huh!!! 😀 Well, now I don’t necessarily have to buy dosa/idli batter from the store anymore! There are days, when I don’t even want to enter the kitchen after work. And then when you know that you have some idli batter in the refrigerator, it is such a relief 🙂 It takes 10 mins overall to get idlis on the plate. Usually, I make dry coconut chutney with idli, but you could just have it with some podi/pickle too.. That’s why I like idli so much these days; its so easy to make ’em 😉


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Whole Urad Dal/Black gram – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 2.5 cups
Parboiled Rice – 1.5 cups
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil/Ghee – as required


1. Soak rice and urad dal for 4-5 hours in separate bowls. Put fenugreek seeds also along with urad dal.
2. In a wet grinder, mixie or blender grind urad dal into a smooth paste using very little water. Use the same water in which you soaked urad dal.
3. Grind rice also into a fine paste. The batter should be very smooth, it should not have grains.
4. Mix ground urad dal batter and rice batter well. Add salt to the batter.
5. Keep the batter in a warm place overnight(or 8-10 hours) for fermenting. During winter it could take longer for fermentation. The batter should rise well or ferment well to get good idli/dosa.
6. Once the batter rises, take the top portion of the fermented batter and use it for making idlis. Keep the remaining batter in the refrigerator.
Note: I asked specifically to use the top portion for idli, because, I use the same batter for both idli and dosa. It works perfectly for me. As the batter sits longer, it gets more sourness. Then you could use it for dosa.
Do not stir the batter too much once it is fermented. That will prevent the idlis to become soft and fluffy.

For making Idlis:-

1. In steamer, keep some water for boiling.
2. Grease the idli plates with oil.
3. Using a laddle, pour the idli batter into the moulds. Stack the plates.
4. Once the water boils, lower the idli plates into the steamer and steam it for 7-8 mins.
5. Once ready, let the idli cool down a little. Using a knife or sharp spoon, scoop out the idlis into a plate.

Serve with coconut chutney or sambar(Recipes found here: Sambar or Palakkadan Sambar(with coconut) 🙂