Idli is one of the most healthiest and popular South Indian breakfast dish. These are soft, light, fluffy steamed round cake made with a ground, fermented rice and lentil batter. Here I share my foolproof recipe with video and step-by-step photos that will help you in making the best idli. This Idli recipe is one of the earliest recipe from the blog which has been tried and tested with great results by many of our readers.
What is Idli made of
Idli is a soft, pillowy steamed savory cake made from rice and lentil batter. The lentils used in making idli are urad dal (black gram). Idli is a traditional breakfast made in every South Indian household including mine. Idli is popular not only in the whole of India but outside India too.
It is naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and makes for one of the healthiest breakfast options served with Sambar and Coconut Chutney.
- 1 cup parboiled Rice
- 1 cup regular rice
- ½ cup deskined Urad Dal
- ¼ cup Poha
- 1 tea spoon Fenugreek Seed
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
Make Idli Batter
Soak Rice and Lentils
- In a bowl or pan take 1 cup parboiled rice and 1 cup regular rice.
- Pick and then rinse both the rice varieties a couple of times in fresh water. Drain all the water and keep it aside.
- Take ¼ cup thick poha (flattened rice or parched rice) in a bowl. Poha helps in making the idli soft and fluffy.
- Rinse the poha once or twice with fresh water.
- Then add the poha to the rice. Add 2 cups of water. Mix very well
- keep aside covered to soak for 4 to 5 hours.
- In a separate bowl take ½ cup urad dal (husked black gram) along with ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds.
- Rinse a couple of times in fresh water.
- Add 1 cup water. Cover and soak for 4 to 5 hours.
- Before grinding, drain the water from urad dal, but don’t throw away the water. Reserve the soaked water as we will be using this water for grinding or you can use fresh water for grinding.
- In a wet grinder jar, add the urad dal. Initially add ¼ cup of the reserved water or fresh water.
- Grind the urad dal for some seconds. Then add ¼ cup of the reserved soaked water or fresh water and continue to grind. The batter should be light and fluffy when completely ground.
- Pour the urad dal batter in a deep pan or bowl.
- Drain the water from the rice and poha. Add them in the wet grinder jar or in a powerful blender.
- Use the reserved urad dal strained water or regular fresh water to grind the rice and poha too. Add water in parts and grind. The rice can have a fine rava like consistency in the batter. A smooth batter is also fine. The rice batter should not be too thick or thin.
- Now pour the rice batter in the bowl containing the urad dal batter.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix very well with a spoon or spatula. If you live in a cool or cold region, then do not add salt. Add salt later once the fermentation is done. If you live in a hot or warm climate, then add salt as it does not allow the batter to get over fermented in the time duration of 6 to 8 hours. Note that salt retards the fermentation process.
- Cover the bowl or container with a lid and keep the batter in a warm place.
- Leave it undisturbed for 8 to 9 hours. Don’t use an air-tight lid. In colder climate, keep the batter for a longer time – from 12 to 24 hours.
- The batter the next morning. It will ferment and increase in volume. A well fermented idli batter will have a nice sour aroma with many tiny air pockets in the batter. As soon as the batter is fermented you can begin with steaming the idli or keep the batter in the fridge if making later.
- If you allow the fermented batter to remain at room temperature, it will ferment more and will become very sour with time.
- Grease the idli mould with oil. Gently and lightly swirl the batter. Don’t overdo. Now with a spoon pour portions of the batter in the greased idli moulds.
- Take your idli steamer or pressure cooker or electric cooker or Instant pot. Add some 2 to 2.5 cups water and heat the water until it comes to a light boil. Keep the idli mould in the steamer or pressure cooker. Steam for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Check for doneness by carefully inserting a bamboo skewer or knife. If it does not come out clean, then keep again for a few more minutes.
- When done remove the idli mould from the cooker. Don’t overcook as then they become dry. Dip a spoon or butter knife in water and slid them through the idlis.
- Remove and place the idlis in a warm container like a casserole.
- Serve Idli hot or warm with sambar and coconut chutney.
For Recipe of Sambhar and Coconut chutney see our blog