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About Idli

Idli is a popular dish that is almost synonymous with South Indian food. It is available in almost all the hotels and even the road side coffee stalls in Southern India, especially Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most South Indian homes prepare Idly atleast once a week. Although Idli chutney is the traditional combination, more recently Idly/Sambar is also very popular. In places like Bangalore when people have to rush to their workplace early in the morning, they never bother to prepare breakfast. Instead they just eat at Idli-Sambar-Chutney at roadside stalls. Left over Idli can be either be steamed for a while and can be consumed again or they may be shallow fried. In fact, one may even prepare Idli upma on left over Idlis.

Idli is also healthy since it is prepared from the fermented batter of Black gram Dal/udad Dal and either raw rice rava or boiled rice rava. Mostly Idlis available in the hotels is made of boiled rice rava since it works out cheaper. (The reason being that the boiled rice rava proportion to Urad Dal is double that of the raw rice rava.)

I am posting this recipe upon the request of a reader although myself hailing from Karnataka I should have put up this recipe earlier on ! So here go the Idlis.

What you need to have:

Black gram Dal – (Urad Dal of a good brand like the Double Ghoda) -1 cup

Raw rice rava – 2 and 1/2 cup (only if grinding dal in a grinder) Else it can be 2 cups

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash and soak dal in water for about 2-3 hours. Wash and drain rice rava and dry it on a cloth.

2. Grind Dal in mixer/grinder for about 20 minutes adding water in steps.

3. Mix rice rava to the ground batter from above and add salt to taste (adding salt also provokes to fermentation).

4. Allow this mixture to ferment for about 8-10 hours.

The fermented idli batter

Fermented idli batter

5. Next morning grease Idli maker with the batter as below.

Note: Idly batter should be always ground thick. In fact, even after mixing rice rava it should be thick. Please do not add water because once fermented it will be fine. You can make out the consistency of the batter in the above image where the batter is being poured into the idly maker.


idli batter being filled in idli maker

Setting up idli Batter for steaming

6. Steam idlies in the cooker for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar. For one of the various chutneys, see my previous post.

What it looks like:


Idli with Chutney & Sambar

Some warnings:

1. Idlis may not come out fine the first time. Please give 2-3 trials.

2. If you are living in colder climates, then you may want to grind the Dal 24 hours in advance (instead of the usual 12 hours) to allow for fermentation.

3. Idli prepared by Dal ground in the mixer will not be as soft as if Dal is ground in the wet grinder.

4. One more thing is the softness of idlies depends very much on the quality of the Dal.

5. If you are using a microwave to warm the Idlis, do so with the lid closed without which they might become too dry and difficult to swallow !

6.To  prepare idli by grinding dal in the mixer should do it,  by adding water in steps to grind dal.  The proportion of   Udad dal-100grams then rice rava should be 125 grams.  Other steps is the same .

Number of Idlis : 20-25

How long it takes: 20 minutes steaming + 20 minutes grinding (in addition to fermentation)


4 thoughts on “Idli

    Moong Dal Idlis « The Indian Food Court said:
    November 13, 2008 at 5:59 am

    […] batter does not remain at the bottom. Greasee the idli moulds and steam idlies as usual ( as with normal idlis ) in the cooker for 20 minutes and enjoy with wet onion chutney. ( See any these varieties of wet […]

    Mona said:
    March 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Anuty, the Idlis look perfect!
    Glad to have found your bog, have added you to my blogroll.

      prathibalrao responded:
      March 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Mona,

      Idli is one of the breakfast items of we southies. I just went thru your blog just now. You have a nice blog with unique recipes.

    Moong Dal Idlis – Sahyadri Recipes said:
    February 26, 2018 at 9:02 am

    […] batter does not remain at the bottom. Greasee the idli moulds and steam idlies as usual ( as with normal idlis ) in the cooker for 20 minutes and enjoy with wet onion chutney. ( See any these varieties of wet […]

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