Idli made from fermented batter of rice and urad dal is a tasty and wholesome South Indian breakfast recipe.

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‘Fluffy as cotton balls, white as the moon’ - every south Indian remembers those fond descriptions of Idli that mom used to convince them to eat breakfast when they were kids. Indeed, that is how the perfect Idli must be too. Grinding of batter and the preparation of Idli is an almost daily affair in south Indian homes. Being a safe, tasty and wholesome breakfast, it is preferred by people all over the world now. Choose good quality parboiled rice (ask for idli rice, which is small and stout) and urad for making idlis, as the colour and softness of the end product depends on it. The amount of water to be added when grinding the urad changes according to the quality of the dal, so keep adding little by little till the batter is soft and fluffy, and do not make it watery. After making the required idlis store the remaining batter in the fridge. It remains good for almost a week, and can be used to make dosas, uttapa and dainty appe as well.

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Soaking time:  4 hours
Preparation Time: 
Fermenting Time:  12 hours
Cooking Time: 
Makes 56 idlis
Show me for idlis


  1. Combine the urad dal and fenugreek seeds in a deep bowl, soak it in enough water for 4 hours.
  2. Combine the parboiled rice and thick rice flakes in a deep bowl , soak it in enough water for 4 hours.
  3. Drain the urad dal and fenugreek seeds and blend in a mixer to a smooth paste using approx. 1 cup of water. Transfer the mixture into a deep bowl and keep aside.
  4. Drain the parboiled rice and thick rice flakes blend in a mixer to a slightly coarse paste using approx. 1¾ cups of water. Transfer the mixture into the same bowl, add the salt and mix well.
  5. Cover and ferment in a warm place for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Grease the idli moulds using oil and put spoonfuls of batter into them.
  7. Steam in an idli steamer for 10 minutes or till they are cooked.
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter to make more idlis.
  9. Serve hot with sambhar and coconut chutney.

Handy tip:

  1. Drain the water in which you soaked the urad and keep it aside. Use this to grind the urad and rice. This water contains a lot of enzymes that activate yeast and help the batter to ferment fast, even in cold weather.
  2. When grinding the urad add water little by little, and keep grinding till it is soft and fluffy.
  3. To check for doneness, put a spoonful of the batter into a bowl of water. If the blob rises to the top, the urad is perfectly ground. If it sinks, you should sprinkle more water and continue grinding. If it dissolves, it means the batter is too watery, and you might end up with flat idlis.
RECIPE SOURCE : Idlis & DosasBuy this cookbook
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 on 22 Apr 15 04:55 PM

The ever best soft and spongy idlis... the flavor of the fenugreeks is so good. These idlis are soft even when cold. I have loved this recipe, which i was searching por so long. A must try for all the idli lovers.
 on 14 Apr 11 02:05 PM

nice n spongy without usin fruit salt. loved it..
 on 24 Nov 10 10:06 PM

proportion of dal and rice is perfect. My idlis came out quite good