Idli is a hearty Indian breakfast recipe, originally from south India however enjoyed throughout the country. It is prepared using fermented batter of soaked rice and urad dal. This batter then steamed into round flat cakes, then served with sambar and coconut chutney. Recipe is flavoursome and satiating which makes perfect breakfast or even a brunch.
It is essential to select right variety of rice to prepare idli batter, otherwise it won’t turn out good. After coming to UK, I tried different types of long grain rice from UK grocery stores but every time it failed to make perfect batter. Finally I gave up and tried rice from Indian grocery stores. Sona Masuri or ponni boiled rice works best and I generally use either of them to make fluffy idli’s. Recently, I used idli rava instead of rice to make this batter and truly loved the texture of Idli’s. So now; I use idli rava only, it gives not just soft, fluffy idli’s but save the trouble of rice grinding. And idli rava is easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Another important step in this recipe is Fermentation. Batter needs to be fermented properly, otherwise it will ruin the recipe. In tropical countries like India; batter can be easily fermented even in winter. It takes around 6-8 hours and you’ll get perfectly fermented batter. But, it is difficult to ferment batter in colder countries like UK. Thankfully, I have learnt now to ferment batter even when outside temperature is 0 degrees. For that I use my oven; preheat it at 120 degrees, once it is preheated switch off the heat and keep bowl of batter inside the oven. After 5-6 hours; repeat same steps. Take the bowl out of oven; preheat it at 120 degrees. Switch off the heat and then shift bowl of batter inside the oven. Batter gets fermented beautifully after 8-10 hours.
So, that’s about rice and fermentation process, now lets check step by step recipe below:
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1&1/2 cups Idli rava
1/2 cup urad dal
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp salt
Water for grinding
(Proportion for around 25 idli’s)
Wash urad dal under running water and soak along with fenugreek seeds.
Gently wash idli rava with water and soak it in separate bowl.
Soak both urad dal and idli rava for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight.
Once soaked enough, drain the water from urad dal. You can save this water and use it while grinding.
Grind the urad dal into fine, thick paste with minimal water. It should be ribbon like fluffy consistency. I use my nutribullet for grinding and it works very well.
Drain extra water from idli rava and mix urad dal paste with soaked idli rava.
Season with salt and mix it together.
You can mix it with spoon or hand. I mix it for good 10 minutes with hand, it makes lovely fluffy idli’s.
This batter is tricky so ensure it is thick and mixed thoroughly.
Cover it with cling film or lid and store it is a dry, warm place.
(As mentioned earlier, I store it in a pre-heated oven to provide warm surrounding for fermentation.)
You will get nice fermented batter in 8-10 hours as shown in picture below.
Batter needs warm environment for fermentation and that’s why I store it in a pre-heated oven (considering it won’t ferment naturally in London weather).
If batter is not fermenting even after 24 hours then it might be spoiled and can not be used for the recipe.
Pour water into the idli steamer and turn on the heat.
Let water boil, meanwhile brush the idli moulds with oil.
Mix the batter and pour in into idli moulds.
Once water is boiling hot, transfer idli moulds to steamer. Cover the steamer and steam it for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, remove the lid of steamer and gently touch top of idli with wet fingers. If batter is not touching to fingers means idli’s are ready.
Repeat the same process until batter is finished.
Warm steamed idli’s are ready to indulge. Serve it with sambar and coconut chutney.
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