Idli / Steamed Rice & Gram Dumplings



One of the most common breakfast in the south of India are these steamed puffed dumplings called idlis. Made from fermented rice and black gram these provide sufficient crabs and proteins to get you through the day. Idlis come in different size, shape and texture. Whatever kind they may be, you know they are perfect when they simply melt in your mouth.  The key to getting your idlis really soft is to make sure the amount of water is just right, not too much nor too little. And secondly ensure the husked black gram is ground fine to a smooth and silky batter. Take care of just these two things and rest assured that your idlis will be mouth melting delicate.

Now, how you grind the rice depends on what kind of texture you are looking for. If you like your idlis smooth and soft then make sure your rice is ground to a smooth and silky batter as well. And if you are looking for a soft coarse texture in your idli, use cream of rice (rice rava) instead. If you can’t find cream of rice in the store you can make it yourself by soaking rice in water for about 4 hours, dry it and then dry grind it to a corn meal consistency.


1 cup urad dal (husked blackgram) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
3 cups rice rava (cream of rice)  OR4 cups of boiled rice (idli rice) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds soak along with the urad dal
2 tbsp cooked rice (speeds fermentation)
salt to taste


  • Grind urad dal and methi and cooked rice to a very smooth fine batter adding little water at a time.
  • If using boiled rice grind it separately to a smooth batter as well, again adding little water at a time.
  • If using rice rava blend separately it with little water at a time and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Mix the dal and rice batter well. Add water if the batter is too thick. The consistency should be similar to a cake batter.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Grease the idli molds with ghee, and pour the batter into it.
  • Steam for around 10-15 mins.
  • Serve hot with chutneys or sambar.

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