Gluten free Pearl Millet Idli


Millets are type of grain which is very nutritious and there are variety of millets like pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum, foxtail millet etc. It can be used as a whole grain or in a powder form. Millet is a naturally gluten free grain and highly nutritious. Thus it is beneficial to include millets in our diet for healthy lifestyle.

There are numerous traditional Indian recipes and millets been part of Indian diet from very long time. Here, I am going to share recipe of Pearl millet Idli which not just taste delicious but healthy as well.


3 cups of whole pearl millet

1 cup of urad dal (either split or whole, I used split one)

2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp poha/ flattened rice

Salt to taste

Water for soaking


Soak pearl millets, urad dal and fenugreek seeds overnight or at least 6-8 hours. I usually soak pearl millets and urad dal separately. And fenugreek along with urad dal. Do not use too much water for soaking, just cover with 1-1.5 inch water over it.

Once millets and dals are soaked thoroughly, grind it into thick fine paste. While grinding millets, add poha to it. Poha does not need overnight soaking, you can soak it just before grinding. I grind millets and urad dal separately and then combine them together. Add salt to the batter and combine it well with hand.

Refer below image for batter consistency.

Cover the mixture and store it in a warm place for fermentation. Currently, I am staying in UK so I keep the batter in oven for fermentation. Sometimes when temperature is too low, I preheat the oven at 180 degree C and store batter for fermentation. Batter usually takes 6-8 hours of fermentation depending on temperature of the place.

Refer below image of fermented batter.

If batter could not ferment even after 24 hours then you might miss something and it won’t result into good Idli’s.

Pour batter into Idli mould and steam it for 10-12 minutes. Soft and fluffy Idli’s are ready to serve.

Same batter can be used to make dosa or appe.

Few things which are important for soft Idli’s:

  • Consistency of batter, it should not be thin. Use minimal water while grinding, if possible use same water which is used for soaking.
  • Mix millet and urad dal paste thoroughly with hands. Keep mixing it in one direction for approximately 8-10 minutes to incorporate sufficient air. You’ll see small bubbles in the batter.
  • Temperature and time for fermentation. If you are staying in colder countries, use warm place or keep the batter near heater. You can use my oven technique as well, where I preheat the oven and keep batter inside it. 8 -10 hours are sufficient for fermentation process.

These are some of my tips, I hope you’ll try my recipe. Also, you can replace pearl millet with any other millets. Serve these Idli’s with sambar or chutney.

Happy eating 🙂


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