Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Idly (Idli, Iddenlu)

Our love for idlis, the soft, fluffy white, round discs made of rice and lentil batter, began when we were children. Two, three year old babies with tiny idlis in their hand, playing around mom, is a common scene you see in many Indian households. As we grow up, the role of idlis also changes – first as toddlers’ teething food, to childhoods play, fun kind of food. Then in teenage years, the kind of breakfast we really enjoy eating without complaining much. Later In twenties and thirties – we try, struggle and wonder how folks back home make those fluffy cloud like visions of idlis so effortlessly. Try as we may, we can’t recreate those beauties here, because the weather, the grain and even the water is different here.

Method of making idlis is very simple yet little bit time consuming, only in the sense that you have to plan ahead. Whether idlies turn out like cotton soft or solid, white round bricks – it all depends on fermentation (that means where you live and how you grind the batter etc.,). Most of the times, the recipe I follow gives good, decent idlis, considering I live in a very cold climate area. See, if my recipe works for you.

Idly stand and idly plates
Idly stand and idly plates, some filled with urad dal– rice ravva batter


Urad dal and rice ravva (cream of rice, rice suji) in a ratio of 1:2
1 tsp of fenugreek seeds
Pinch of baking powder
Blender/wet grinder
Idly stand with idly plates (see the photo above)
And a vessel with tight lid (suitable to fit idly stand)

Soak urad dal in just enough water overnight or for at least 4 to 6 hours.
Drain the water and keep the drained water aside.
Grind the dal into silky smooth batter. To get the medium tight consistency, add the drained water kept aside, as needed to the batter,while grinding. Remove the batter in a vessel.
Add rice ravva and mix thoroughly without any lumps.
Keep it covered, for overnight fermentation (at least 6hours) in a warm place. By morning, the batter will be doubled in volume. Stir in salt and baking powder. Consistency of batter must be medium (like condensed milk), not too tight or too watery. Add water if necessary.

Idli plates filled with rice-lentil batter just before cooking Steamed idlies just out of the vessel
Idly plates filled with rice ravva-urad dal batter all ready for steam cooking***Idlies after steam cooking

In a big vessel (fit to idly stand) with tight lid, add about half to one glass of water and bring to a boil.

Separate the plates in idly stand; pour spoonfuls of batter in round impressions (see the photo above). Fill all the plates with idly batter and place these filled idly plates, back on the stand. Place this idly stand with filled plates in the vessel with boiling water. Cover it tightly and cook them on steam. The plates are perforated and allow the idlis to be steam-cooked evenly.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, the batter will be hardened and when touched, won’t stick to your fingers like a wet batter does. Turn off the heat and remove the idly stand from the vessel. Run a spoon under each impression to separate steamed idlies from the plate. Remove them all like this and get ready to steam the next batch of idlis.

Serve idlis piping hot with sambhar, coconut chutney and idly karam podi ~ for a traditional, proper south Indian breakfast.

Idlies with coconut chutney, idli karam podi and shallot sambhar
Idlis with coconut chutney, idli karam podi and shallot sambhar ~ Our weekend brunch


Answering questions about my Idly routine:

I usually prepare idlis for our weekend brunch. My prep work for Saturday’s brunch of idli starts like this. I soak the urad dal on Friday morning, around 7-9 AM. It takes at least 4 to 6 hours for them to soften. Around 6-8 PM evening, I grind them into smooth, silky smooth batter. I remove the batter into a big vessel and mix up with store bought idli rava. Then I keep it covered overnight for fermentation. By morning, the batter will be fermented and changed in looks and consistency. After stirring in salt and little bit of baking powder, I pour ladleful of batter into the impressions on idly plates and steam cook them.

The tips I follow:
1. I use round urad dal(whole and white). Somehow they are better than the broken ones for idlis.
2. I soak the urad dal in just enough water and while grinding I add this drained water. This tip works only in cold climate to aid the fermentation.
3. While grinding I also add one or two teaspoons of soaked fenugreek seeds. This is an old tip, to improve the taste and fermentation.
4. Urad dal batter- the smooth the batter, the fluffy and silky, the idlis will be. Grind, grind and grind, run that blender motor until it gets hot.:)
4. Rice ravva- I use store bought kind.
5. Fermentation- I set the oven on to minimum (lowest setting/warm) for about 5 minutes, then I’ll turn it off. By the time I’m ready with batter, the oven will be warm. During bitter cold wintertime, keeping the batter in this cozy, warm oven aids fermentation process.
6. In the morning, I usually add a pinch of baking powder to the batter (old time tip).
For more tips, check out this wiki article on Idlis.

Recipe source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Rice Ravva (Cream of Rice),Urad Dal (Washed) (Tuesday February 21, 2006 at 4:50 pm- permalink)
Comments (119)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

119 comments for Idly (Idli, Iddenlu) »

  1. OMG, I love the idli pictures. They are truly popping off the screen! Thanks for all the great tips and secrets.

    Comment by GaramMasala — February 21, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

  2. Idli with molaga podi is my one of my weaknesses. Every time I visit home, first thing my mother prepares are idlis. Infact she even brings them to the airport πŸ™‚ **sighing in nostalgia**. Thanks for an excellent post!

    Comment by GaramMasala — February 21, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

  3. You’ll be flooded with comments, i’m sure πŸ™‚
    Beautiful pics!

    Comment by sandhya — February 21, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

  4. Indira,

    I was going to do some idli blogging my self some time soon.:)
    As usual beautiful beautiful pictures. I am craving idlis after seeing this post.

    Comment by Santhi — February 21, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

  5. Terrific pics, Indira! Argh, I want idlis RIGHT THIS MINUTE! πŸ™‚

    Garam: My mom does that for me too! πŸ™‚ In fact this time while returning from India, I didnt bother with the awful airplane food – I had idlis (smeared with molagapodi) packed by my mother! πŸ™‚

    Comment by shammi — February 21, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

  6. PS. Forgot to add – I make idlis the exact same way (minus the baking powder… what does it do to the idlis, exactly? Keeps them white?)

    Comment by shammi — February 21, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  7. Thanks gals! They do look pretty, don’t they? πŸ™‚

    Shammi.. idlies on airplane ride..yum.yum. your next seat passengers must be jealous.I know I’d be. πŸ™‚
    Baking powder. it aids the fermentation further and make the idlis soft.

    Comment by Indira — February 21, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  8. I want to dive into the bowl of sambar & gooble up the idlis πŸ™‚
    Great post, as usual.


    Indira replies…
    Thanks Sonali.

    Comment by Sonali — February 21, 2006 @ 6:37 pm

  9. Indira, u are really making me go mad with ur post of on idlies πŸ™‚

    see my mail id is for why not we have a bloggers meet here at ohio?:)

    am also reminded of ‘kaima idli’ dished out at Saravana Bhavan in Madras….man those were awesome..not been to india in 2 and half years has made even idlies heavenly….i am not demeaning idlies by saying ‘even’ πŸ™‚ but during my childhood i used to not like idlies coz my mom used to give me idly almst everyday of the week πŸ™‚ coz they are very healthy breakfast items..but now…!*sigh* am missing every bit of that heavenly bite πŸ™

    Indira replies…
    I’m going to send you my home address, come on by anytime you want, IBH. πŸ™‚ I’d live to meet you. Our town is on the way to Pittsburgh, you can make a trip to Pittsburgh temple also.

    Comment by IBH — February 21, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  10. Hello, your idlis look great and thanks for the wonderful post. Just wondering, do you soak the idli rawa first or just add it to the uraad dal mixture.

    Indira replies…
    Thanks Chantal. No need to soak rice ravva before. Rice ravva absorbs water from uraddal batter when mixed and turns somewhat soft by overnight fermentation process.

    Comment by Chantal — February 21, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

  11. Idli and allam pacchadi will be a great combination, Indira. Can you pls post the recipe for allam pacchadi sometime?

    Indira replies…
    Sorry, I don’t do requests, S and I hate when people ask me make this, post that. It sucks fun out of blogging for me.

    Comment by S — February 21, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

  12. Hi,
    your idliplates look super with mini idlis.Wish I had this for my little boy.where did you get this .Is this available in tamil nadu.Better try to avoid baking powder when you have idli grinder,you also try enriched long grain rice
    I use laxmibrand with Sumeet mixi,it ferments superbly in oven if heater is on.I am quite
    comfortable in winter and summerim making such idlis.

    Comment by Ramya — February 21, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

  13. hey indira,

    i guess iam going to say nothing new ..the baby idlis and the larger ones look great together and full marks on presntation …

    and finally I love idli …and I miss India..

    great job, keep em coming πŸ™‚

    Comment by Meenal Mehta — February 22, 2006 @ 2:22 am

  14. OMG!!!!!! I have been craving for idlis for the last 2 weeks. When I saw your pix, I just couldn’t control drooling. Those mini idlis look cute. I love idli with sambar and dried achovies sambal (Malaysian red curry). Gosh…I can smell it already.

    Comment by Puspha — February 22, 2006 @ 3:42 am

  15. Indira, the pics are looking fantabulous!

    Comment by lera — February 22, 2006 @ 7:23 am

  16. Your idlis look so good and your idli plates with the mini idli moulds look so cute. Never thought of adding Baking Powder to the idli batter. Great tip. Need to try this.

    Comment by Krithika Ramachandran — February 22, 2006 @ 9:23 am

  17. hey indira,
    the pics look fab! i have been craving both idli and dosa for weeks and now am motivated to go and make them, so thanks for that. my mom makes idli & sambhar every time i go home to visit. i’m going to have to forward some of your tips to her. you should be a caterer – nice job!

    Comment by payal — February 22, 2006 @ 11:11 am

  18. oh, by the way, i remember my mom using a pinch of eno in the batter (i believe it was to help cut down on the acidity), but i think i may try your method and use the baking powder.

    Comment by payal — February 22, 2006 @ 11:26 am

  19. Great pic and protocol Indira! I have had some luck using idli rice- the par boiled rice that you use for dosa instead of rava when I’ve run out of rava. You get a good quality in the local sri lankan stores here in Toronto. I also add a little bit of sago -just a few teaspoons for softness. Finally I’ve seen idli plates with the big ones and the small ones but never one that had both. That looks really cool. Where did you get them?

    Comment by Janani — February 22, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

  20. You clearly havent got enough compliments. So let me say that the idlis look super! I have had the problem of brick idlis so your tips will be useful! Can you tell me where you got the steamer? I see either one for mini idlis or one for large ones, never a combination.

    Comment by Ashwini — February 22, 2006 @ 12:22 pm

  21. Indira! i’ve been eating idli almost twice or thrice in a week since amma is here. but i think your picture with sambar and karampodi makes me want to eat them everyday. very nice picture and thanks for the nice tips too. Congrats.

    Comment by bharghavi — February 22, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

  22. Hey Indira..
    I have the same question as Ashwini’s.I have never seen a combination idly stand..Well I had idlys yesterday after seeing the pictures i want to go and make them again…BTW COOOOOL pictures…

    Comment by BDSN — February 22, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  23. Thanks gals for taking time and writing these nice words about idlis. I wish I’d send some or invite you all for a weekend brunch of idlis. πŸ™‚ How much fun it’d be ahhh… πŸ™‚

    I bought this idly stand about 7 years ago at NJ, Oak tree road at ‘Dana Bazar’ shop for about 12 dollars. Very unusal, I know but I loved the combination of making both small and big idlis in just one setting. and I’ve never seen anything like this type of combiantion plates, before back in India.

    Comment by Indira — February 22, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  24. WOW! What can I say? (couldn’t find words….so just goes on drooling about the yummy idlis, chutney, sambar and milaga podi)

    Comment by Kay — February 22, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  25. Hi Indira,

    God! So many fans for such a simple traditional Indian breakfast dish…aahhh..the power of Idly!
    Nice photos as usual, Indira..:)
    You got those cute idly plates here at NJ? Wow…never seen those back in India.

    My idli-making is just constant improvisation. I grind the batter with 1:3 ratio of urad dal and idly rice, sometimes 1:4. I also use fenugreek seeds ever since a friend told me that the idlis would come out softer. But really, I can never make them as soft as how my mother(even when she is visiting us here in US) or grandmother make. Also, I grind some cooked rice alongwith the idly rice as how I have seen it done back home in India.
    One tip that I’d like to add here (and you might know this already) which I learnt from my mother – she keeps some additional urad dal batter. This is to add to the urad-rice batter after we make the first or second set of idlis since she says that the urad in the idli batter is lighter and will float and come off with the first 2 sets of idlis.
    I shall be trying your idly batter recipe for sure with urad dal and idly rava in 1:2 ..hmm…maybe shall try it with the urad and idly rice since I have idly rice already.

    I’ve read the tips you have posted and also from Wikipedia about not to use more rice. That is really info to me. I used to think that if there is more of urad, there will be that dominating urad flavor in the idlis (I think I had tried this and failed since the idlis did not fluff up while steaming). I will surely try you recipe with idly rava.


    Comment by Priya V — February 22, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  26. Hi .. my idli combo is this: 3 rice (sona masoori) + 1 ponni puzhungal arisi (boiled rice) + 1 urad dal. Works like a charm. Grind the rice together, then add ground urad. Allow to ferment overnight. In y experience, more the puzhungal arisi, idly is all round and fluffy.

    Comment by Vidya — February 22, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

  27. I am a big Idly fanatic. I kept my mouth shut with great difficulty. Didnt want to blabber allsort of things here, you see. πŸ™‚

    So, I will restrain myself and will go back to the silent mode. enna, i will simply be visiting this particular page whenever the urge strikes me.

    OK. THAT’S IT. ZIP..

    will just repeat what kay said.

    //WOW! What can I say? (couldnΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ’β€žΒ’t find wordsΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ‚Β¦.so just goes on drooling about the yummy idlis, chutney, sambar and milaga podi) //

    -biggest Idly fanatic in the world. πŸ˜‰

    Indira replies…
    Dear Mathy, I’ve always enjoyed reading your fun, informative comments. Lot of history and new information, that I wasn’t aware of and always a good read. I hate to see you go into silent mode. :). Please feel free and write away.. you know, you have a fan for your comments… ME. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Mathy Kandasamy — February 22, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

  28. Hi Indira,
    How funny it is. I made Idlis a few days ago. But I only knew the recipe from books. This is the first time I can see a picture of it. Thank you for the tips. I’ll remember them. Camparing with yours, my idlis look more solids, a little bit like soya burger… My dough was too thick I think, I use mungo beans, add grated parsnip, and steam all the dought like a cake. What a pity you should think ! I ‘ll try to follow your recipe next time. Thank you for it. Cheers

    Indira replies…
    Glad to be of help, Virginie.

    Comment by Virginie — February 22, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

  29. Even after 7 years of use, how come your steel utensils shine so much? Dont you use dishwasher?
    All my steel utensils get this white coating after a couple of times in dishwasher.

    Indira replies..
    nope, I’ve always cleaned idli plates immediately after cooking, by hand.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 22, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

  30. Hi Indira ,
    Apologies ,I didnt know you feel so strongly about requests.I thought I read somewhere on your blog , in some old post ,that you would be posting the recipe for Allam Pacchadi (I could be mistaken…),which was why I requsted it.

    Indira replies…
    Please, no apologies. May be you read one of those, my courtesy replies. My problem with requests is, first I’ve to shop for ingredients, then I’ve to find the energy and appetite to make those at home. Without mood and appetite, you must know how difficult it is to cook, eat and then write about it. Then there will be always someone asking that’s ok, will you post this to accompany that?, see my problem.

    Comment by S — February 23, 2006 @ 12:14 am

  31. WOW!
    I saw a stand the other day for sale, I have no idea if it has big and little idli depressions though.

    I really want to try these!

    Indira replies..
    Thanks Clare.
    If you try, let me know how you like them.

    Comment by clare eats — February 23, 2006 @ 7:08 am

  32. Hi Indira,

    Your entries make me hungry … especially the pictures are too good to be true!! I read about your new camera…seems to be a very good one. I love Nikon cameras generally … I have one from a very long time but still takes great pictures! Anyways … I have so far tried to make brussel sprouts curry, methi kura and they turned out great! Thanks for your contribution!

    Indira replies..
    I’m also partial to Nikon brand. My old one is also a Nikon coolpix.
    The new camera is really good, I can use both manual and automatic modes and learning a lot.
    I’m glad that recipes turned out great, Anjali. Thanks for the feedback!

    Comment by Anjali — February 23, 2006 @ 10:48 am

  33. Thanks Indira for letting us know where you got the idli stand..I will try to get when I go to NJ ..well i have a non-stick one which works really well but it has worn out and I heard its not good to use such worn out stuff .I will try to buy online.If you know any online places please do let me know..

    Indira replies…
    You are welcome, BDSN. I’ll difinitely let you know if I see any good deals on online.

    Comment by BDSN — February 23, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  34. Wow Indira – your idlys are so yummy looking. I’ve been fantasizing about making them and now am thoroughly inspired. Thanks for the informative post!

    Indira replies…
    Happy to be of help, Sandy and thanks.

    Comment by Sandy — February 23, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  35. Indira:
    Looks like i came really late. Whatever i write, it will look like repetation, so i will conclude saying super idli mold, super idlis,.. super Indira:-)


    Indira replies…
    Thanks Karthi.:)

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — February 23, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

  36. Hello, Indira!

    After lurking around a few weeks (found your blog in my quest for authentic dal dishes), finally got up the nerve to comment! Today I visited a local Indian grocery — from reading your blog and many of the others linked, I am happy to say I actually knew what I was looking for. I am now well stocked with various dals, spices etc. Fresh baby eggplant(!), tindora(!!), and methi(!!!) were for sale, and I even found an idli stand (stainless steel!) for $8.99. The owner of the shop thought I was a little crazy wanting to make idli from scratch rather than a mix, but I bought the idli rava and will try.

    So, with apologies for the length of this comment, I want to thank you for inspiring me to expand my culinary horizons!

    Best regards,

    Indira replies…
    Good for you, Linda. Purchasing dals, spices and veggies in an Indian grocery shop is always a good deal for you, because the prices are usually very low and also you’re helping out a small business.
    If you try the recipes, let me know how you like them. Thanks!

    Comment by Linda — February 23, 2006 @ 9:27 pm

  37. Hi Indira,

    I love your site.I am reading your site from the past 3 motnhs,now first time I like to comment on this.I daily prepare Idli for my husbend,I will try to implement your tips on my next attempts to prepare Idlis.Thanks for the tips.

    Comment by srilaxmi — February 23, 2006 @ 10:27 pm

  38. Indira, I agree — I am always happier to help the smaller shops — besides, if you have a question you have an instant treasure trove of knowledge to assist. Tonight I tried the menthi dal (but forgot to get toor dal so used chana dal, and half the chilies called for!) So far it’s smelling awful good and will mix it up with rice for lunch tomorrow. πŸ™‚


    Comment by Linda — February 24, 2006 @ 12:12 am

  39. Hi,

    I am glad i came across this article. I will try this way of making idlies soon. However, I have 2 questions.

    1. Grinding the dal. Do you do it in speed 1 (sumeet for example) till it gets hot..or.. ?
    2. And for steam cooking in a prestige cooker u suggest any ~time from start to finish ?


    Comment by Sharda — February 27, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

  40. Thanks for the tips indira. I followed all your tips and my idlis are really soft and i am extremely satistied with the result.once again thanks a million indira for posting these tips.

    Indira replies…
    I’m glad my tips worked out great for you, Jayasri and thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

    Comment by Jayasri — March 5, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

  41. Oh, Indira. I almost cried when I read this. I have been eating and loving idlis in restaurants for years, but never thought that, even with proper equipment, I could make my own. But your instructions are so good, so concise and so easy to visualize, that now I believe. πŸ™‚ I am going to buy my idli plates, and I’m going to take a bash at them. Thank you.

    Indira replies…
    Thanks Bakerina. If you try, let me know how you like them.:)

    Comment by Bakerina — March 6, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

  42. indira,
    this is best idli recipe i came across..i tried so so many and this one apparently doesn’t use idli rice…and so so much easier…
    first time the idlis i made were fluffy trying ur recipe…keep up the good work..

    Comment by idli lover — March 15, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

  43. Indira garu,
    Just amazing!! I cant say more. The pics are stunning. Yes. Stunning is the word!!
    Great job!

    Comment by sri — April 4, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  44. Hai Indira,

    i never had white idlis(usually my idlis will be in yellow colour).thank u for the tip(not soaking ravva).ur idlis pic is very nice.thank u once again for great recipes.

    Indira replies:
    I am glad the tips worked out for you, Rukhmini. Thanks for letting me know.

    Comment by Rukmini — April 27, 2006 @ 9:48 am

  45. Hi Indira,

    for the 1st time 2day the idlis I made turned out perfectly soft & crumbly.. just the way they make in udupi hotels back home in India… I love those…. thnx for the invaluable tips.. I followed them to the ‘t’… that was one perfect brunch.. yummy idlis with heavenly shallot sambhar… πŸ™‚

    Indira replies:
    I am happy to hear that these tips worked out for you, Meera. Nothing in the world beats the taste of soft idlies dunked in shallot sambhar. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for letting me know.

    Comment by Meera — May 14, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  46. Those look great! Mine came out too smooth and not fluffy enough. I’ll follow your tips and see if they come out better.

    Comment by mexist — May 24, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

  47. Hi Indira,

    Thanks a lot for your tips…..i made idlis in
    this cold weather and it came out so soft & fluffy ….it reminded me of malli idlis you get in south india. It was not as white though!! any tips on that?? Thanks a lot.

    Comment by Suma — May 26, 2006 @ 12:00 am

  48. […] Breakfast is one of the most beloved meals in any culture. Everybody loves breakfast, and waxes poetic about it. Folks declare the staples of breakfast–regardless of culture–to be the ultimates in comfort food. […]

    Pingback by Tigers & Strawberries » Leftovers For Breakfast — May 30, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  49. Hi indira,
    stumbled on your blog.. lovely idlis.. could you please tell me what you mean by whole round urid daal and not broken?? because i have not seen that in the grocery store.. all i have seen is the split urid daal

    Comment by Eve — June 23, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

  50. Thanks you very mach for your tipsΓƒΖ’Γ‚Β’ΓƒΒ’Γ’β‚¬Ε‘Γ‚Β¬Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β¦I am going to try this evening ,I love this way of making …

    Comment by swetha — September 15, 2006 @ 10:31 am

  51. Hi

    Just 2 months back I get married.From past several days I made prepared Idly by 3 times ,I didnt get it properly ,Even I had taken my mother help (through phone).Thank you very mach for your setp by sep beautyful tips….

    Comment by ramya — September 20, 2006 @ 9:36 am

  52. […] Leftover idlis: 12 nos […]

    Pingback by Lemony idli uppuma « Cook food ,Serve love — October 18, 2006 @ 3:48 pm

  53. Thank you so much for your recipes. I am new to indian food and enjoy cooking and eating it so much. After reading your recipe on making idly, I realized that there are many other factors involved in the fermentation process.

    Comment by Caroline Nelson — December 11, 2006 @ 7:05 am

  54. Thanks alot.

    Comment by lathabasappa — February 15, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  55. hi,
    the idlies recipe and pics really wonderful,
    but am not getting like that when i prepare,
    i put parbolied rice and uruddal in the ratio 4:1, sometimes i get, sometimes i dont, i use mixer to grind, as i require to do only for 2,and stay in kuwait
    first i tried like soaking morning then grindling evening, to prepare next day, then i tried soaking in night, then grind next day morning, then leave for fermenting and then to prepare in the next day morning, even then it is not coming, i steamed for 10min, the idlies turn yellow( i dint use soda also), so pls help me out

    As i require to do only for 2,i have to use less quantity na,so i wanted to know can we make the powder of parboiled rice and urud and store, then mix when required, if so tell the procedure to make powder( that is directly powder the items or to soak then when it is little dry to powder) as well how long to mix and leave for fermenting.

    waiting for the reply, and thanks in advance

    Comment by anusri — February 17, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  56. Hi Indira,
    I am new to cooking. Initially i used to ask my husband for each and evrything coz he is a very gud cook. But from the day i came to know abt ur site, evryday am trying something new. Believe me now u’ve become a part of our lives. Every day before cooking i check ur website. My husband is very happy that he is getting gud food:)…thanks to you.
    Now evryday i am tryng a new recipe. The other day i made this cauliflower, carrots potato, tomato and red beans curry. I hope u remember that. O’ my god i can’t tell u how my husband liked that. He simply loved that. That was so tasty and i’ve never had cauliflower that tasty… Thank u very much. And i am suggesting to all my frens here in US and India.
    Today am thinking of making idlis. Let me tell u 1 imp thing that i am trying ’em for the first time……i have a blender and I just want to know will that work for grinding or not.. It’d be a grt help if u clear my doubt… Once again thanks a ton for ur grt work. waiting for ur reply……

    Comment by Dilshad — March 1, 2007 @ 8:47 am

  57. Hi Indira,

    I love idlis, but everytime I have tried to make them, they have come out a little too hard for my liking. Yesterday was no exception. So I thought to look up your site for recipes. Using idli rava, would it not then become rava idli, instead of plain idli? My mom said to use some variety of rice called “kusublakki” which is in Kannada, and I don’t know how to find it here.


    Comment by Anu — April 9, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  58. Hi,
    Like yr blog.
    My idlis turned out soft but they stuck to the vessle while taking out even though I let them cool before taking out. Had put oil in the moulds too. They were cooked well too and yet stuck at the botton inspite of using a knife. Looked messy on one side. Any tips?
    I had used fresh urad daal ( 1) and soaked cream of rice (3). Since I live in AZ fermentation is nt a problem. Looking fwd to yr mail.

    Comment by sv — May 8, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  59. Hi Indira:
    Can you please provide an idea how many idlis can be made with 1:2 cups of urad dal:rice ravva? Planning a big event and need to get an idea of how many batches I need to make.

    Comment by jaya — July 16, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  60. Hi Indira ,

    Am a regular visitor to your blog .Great Recipes and Nice presentation.
    Could you please tell me which blender is best for rice and dal grinding for Idli ,Dosa etc.Could you suggest any brand available in US,am currently in Boston.

    Comment by Suma — July 22, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  61. I have a doubt . can we prepare Idly on the same day we prepare the batter ? will it come out well

    Comment by Maha — August 28, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  62. […] Here are some additional recipes for idli: A Sampling of South Indian Bread Recipes, with Photos Idli Recipe Carrot Idli Recipe Spicy Idli Podi Accompaniment Kerala Red Rice Idli […]

    Pingback by Book of Yum - Blog — September 6, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

  63. After years of making decent idlis with boiled rice and urad dal, suddenly after shifting cities, idlis have been a complete no show in the softness department, even though it hasn’t even turned as cold here yet. I shudder to think of what will happen when it does.
    So I have switched to the idli rava and urad recipe you have shared – I do hope that it turns out better than the past 3 weeks.

    Thanks for sharing !


    Comment by Raji — October 16, 2007 @ 7:24 am

  64. hi
    i have a question.
    can u make idli’s only with rice suji,i.e without urad dal

    Comment by suguna — November 16, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  65. Hi Indira

    Where can we get raw toor dal ? I live in New York. If not any dry whole ?


    Comment by koumudi — December 11, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  66. Hi,

    Thanks for the idli recipe. I made the idli batter in ratio of 1 urad dal to 2 boiled rince, a spoon of methi seeds and one spoon of cooked rice. I got the softest idlis. The methi helped ferment the batter well. I will stick with this recipe now. I use an ulta -grindmachine for grinding, and earlier used the 1:3 ratio for grinding, but the idli’s were not so soft.

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and pictures on your wesite.


    Comment by Anamika — December 28, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  67. Hi Indira
    I cant find the steamer and the idly making cups so is it possible to use normal tumblers and make in a pressure cooker. Please let me know what heat level it is supposed to be kept in for the most optimum non steam released cooking.

    Comment by Pramod — January 4, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  68. Thank you so much! I’m an Italian American who was introduced to Idly at work. I bought a bag of Sona Ravi Idly and it had no directions on it. I added water and tried to bake it, then fry it. It was crunchy like uncooked polenta or grits. I looked on the Internet and read your instructions. I am soaking the white Idly over night and will steam it somehow in the morning, even though I don’t have an Idly mould! It should be good with my sambar!

    Comment by DeAnn — January 4, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  69. Hello Indira and all the people commenting here. I knew about idlis in South India while I was there studying sanskrit. Here in Northen Italy we have very few people from South India, therefore idlis are almost unknown: we can’t find rawa or idli rice, but Italian rice seems to me very similar. I soak and grind it together with the urad dal: I geat a creamy batter, but the rice is still hard and it should give the same effect as the rawa. I am still experimenting to get some decent idlis, but a good tip (I think) for good fermentation in cold climates is to add just a little little bit of the yeast they use for making bread after you’ve ground the batter. This will speed fermentation: just be aware that yeast flavour is somewhat bitter, so don’t exceed!

    Comment by Andrea — January 13, 2008 @ 6:06 am

  70. Hey Indira,
    I tried ur receipe and idlis came out very soft and fluffy.
    But idli color was not white as it should be.
    They were kind of off white…
    Can you suggest me where did I go wrong in the receipe implementation ?
    Or is it b’coz of idli rawa ?
    Please suggest how to go about it.

    Comment by Tej — January 13, 2008 @ 11:30 am

  71. Idli’s are scrumptious!!! They are sweet, soft, chewy, and just plain delicous.
    YAY IDLI’S!!!!

    Comment by IndianGrl — January 25, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  72. This is an extremely well-written recipe. I made these idlis for the first time this morning and they came out perfectly. Thanks again!

    Comment by Brett — February 4, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  73. Idlis with coconut chutney, idli karam podi and shallot sambhar…great pics…

    Comment by home remedy — February 15, 2008 @ 4:08 am

  74. Dear Sir,

    Congratulations for your nice information and it is very informative.

    Kindly inform the making process of Dry idli Flour so that the storage may a month.

    Thanks and Regards
    V. Ramachandran

    Comment by V. Ramachandran — February 26, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  75. Hi Indira,

    Well I am new to your website, this is the second time I am trying anything from your recipes and……..its Awesome again.

    I made them yesterday and they came real nice.
    I also made the rice rava at home and then made it… one question though…. Mine were not real white… I like it when they look real white like yours… any suggestions ?

    Thanks so much…

    Hi SS,
    It’s nice to know that you had success with this recipe. Thanks for lettting me know.
    About the white, I think it depends on rice and dal, and also on the fermentation. Mine are also not purewhite, they are more like cream-white/ off-white color.

    Comment by Sunsigns — March 10, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  76. Awesome pictures of idly. I am craving for it right now.

    Comment by shanthan — March 14, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

  77. Thanks for the recipe for the idlis. I tried it out and came out perfectly well. The picture of the steaming hot idlis is mouthwatering.

    Comment by Indo Curry — March 18, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  78. I love to cook and your blog helps me ALOT. I have a Q and hoping that you could help me with this delima.My Idly mould hv holes, therefore I use cloth on this mould and pour the batter onto the cloth. The Idly, are soft and nice (no complains), however the bottom part of the Idly sticks to the cloth after it cooks… Any advice…
    Thank you very much in advance and once Thank you for the giving out such a wonderful blog….

    Hello Sankri,
    Remove the cloth with idlies still attached from idly plates. And sprinkle little water on the other side of the cloth (not on idlies side). This would loosen up the idlies and they can be removed easily intact.

    Comment by Sankri — April 6, 2008 @ 8:01 am

  79. […] Sunday: Lunch: Local Indian restaurant – GF Idly and dosa , goat vindaloo and chaat masala! Tasty! Dinner: French Scallops Provencal (using frozen bay scallops) with asparagus and a seafood risotto and for dessert: blackberry sour cream cornmeal muffins […]

    Pingback by Fresh Ginger » Menu of the week April 14th: Cornmeal — April 13, 2008 @ 11:48 am

    What is urad dal?
    Can I use a subsitute in idlee receipe.

    Comment by SALLY NAIDOO — June 24, 2008 @ 6:14 am

  81. Hi Indira,
    I am big fan of your website. Infact we hail from Nandyala too πŸ™‚ so mahanandi has lot of importance for me. I had a problem with my idlis. Of late I am unable to make good idli’s as I used to earlier. I use the same exact method except the baking powder. But after the recent purchase of new idli rava the idli’s are not hollow (gullaga). They are cooked but a little battery. Any solutions? I would really appreciate your help as I do not want to throw away my rava.

    Comment by kaumdui — October 2, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  82. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! I last had an idli in 1961. Please can you tell me a cheats version of how to make them? Where can I buy a ready mix? Can I cook them in an egg poacher? Please tell me soon. I will purchase on line. No shops in Derby sell the mix. Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

    Many thanks.

    God Bless.


    Comment by grace t baker — February 19, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  83. hi indira garu,
    chala chala anni vantalu…nenu me site ni chusi chala vantalu runam assalu maruvalenu..nenu rayalaseema ammayini kabatti,me style of cooking,comments anni homely ga anipistunnayandi..naku maa sister nerpina feeling vastundi…anyways..u r great…!!!india dishes ni chala popular chesaru…jai hind…!!

    Comment by shaanu — April 23, 2009 @ 7:31 am

  84. Hi,
    my 4 yrs daughter love to eat idli ,so every day i have to prepare idli,i prepare idli with per boil rice and urid dal , my idlies are so spongy but colour is not so white .can you give me any tips so that i prepare spongy and milky white idli.

    Comment by seba — April 26, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

  85. I keep my idli batter in car & drive to work, park it in a good sunny place, 8 Hours & my batter is well fermented…

    I have also tried keeping batter in the attic… remember 5th std where we learnt that heat rises up?

    Comment by Vidya — May 21, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  86. The Fermentation you are talking about ..does not produce alcohol …right ?

    Hello Naina, No it doesn’t. The time period is short, just half to one day for fermentation.
    I also read your email. Let me know how you like this recipe when you try. thanks.

    Comment by Naina — May 28, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  87. I am passing thanks to you for sharing idli making with the world. Your recipe guided me to make good idlis. keep up your good work.

    Comment by sur — June 1, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  88. Indira can u tell me how to make idli with idlii rice??

    Hello Shubha,
    Take idly rice and Urad dal (minapa bedalu) in 2:1 quantity. 2 cups idly rice and 1 cup urad dal. Add a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (methi). Soak them in water for about 4 to 6 hours. Grind to smooth batter adding water. Keep the batter overnight for fermentation. Prepare idlies in the morning for breakfast or light lunch. Idlies prepared with idly rice are called “kanchipuram Idlies”. In addition to idlies, you can also prepare dosa, utappam, ponganalu with this batter.
    Hope this helps.

    Comment by SHubha — June 2, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  89. Hello Indira,

    i am a Northi, but my husband likes the powder or Podi a lot ( which is dark in color like dark brown). can you please tell me how to make the powder at home to have with Idali’s?.

    Thanks in Advance. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Pari — July 15, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  90. Indiraji,
    Very nice presentation. We had successfuly prepared the Idlys as per the recipe and had tasteful, delicious Idlys. My husband praises
    on the preparation.
    Thank you once again!

    Comment by Nagamani Dhulipala — August 28, 2009 @ 3:41 am

  91. Thanks for the info on making idli. I spent half a year in Karnataka and grew to love idli and dosai. When I came back to New England I tried to make dosai and finally worked out the method pretty well (except that I can’t make really big ones!) Anyway, about the fermentation process in a cold climate — try putting your idli or dosa batter in the oven, then heating it for about a minute and then shutting it off. This will heat the oven to about 100-110 degrees Farenheit (40-45 Celsius). The interior of the oven will stay warm quite a long time and when it cools, just give it another short burst of heat. In an older gas oven, the heat of the pilot light will keep the oven warm enough all the time. This warm atmosphere really speeds up the fermentation of dosa batter and I think I would work for idli, too.

    Comment by jake Sterling — October 12, 2009 @ 7:58 am

  92. it has been 2 years since my 6 months in india. idli was one of many favorite foods i enjoyed. i am going to try and make it now thank you. sure wish i could just go some place and buy an idli breakfast. i do miss it.

    Comment by jeff frey — November 25, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  93. I am 70 years old and I cooked idly for the first time in my life. It came out awesome. entire bite was soft. Only problem was the colour. Colour was not white. However thanks for the awesome recipe and the cooking tips were best.

    Comment by s.c.vora — December 8, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  94. Again I need to comment. While I was making idly, I told my daughter that my idly will be better then her mothers idly, because she cooks what she knows and I cook after research. Your web site gives full scope of research. And idly came out awesome because your tips. Thanks once again. Whenever I see a perfect and easy recipe, I need to thank the author profusely. This is what I am doing here.

    Comment by s.c.vora — December 8, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  95. Can I add baking soda instead of baking powder to the idli batter?

    Comment by Indianfoodlover — December 13, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  96. I tried this recipe but the idlis were turning out flat. finally after surfing on the internet for hours, i realized the airy and fluffiness of the batter was missing, which i was able to easily correct by adding baking soda.

    then they came out really fluffy!
    The only thing amiss was that it was a little sticky. Any comments on why that could be…?


    Comment by Sk — December 25, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  97. I am not a south indian but love south indian food. I live in central PA where there is no place that serves idlis or dosas.. so Im making idlis myself from a mix (made sambar at home) and treating my deep urge for idli today.. thought i d just share!!

    Comment by Pd — February 16, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  98. Hi,

    if i put 1:3 ratio, would the idli be more softer?

    Comment by Kavita — March 16, 2010 @ 6:32 am

  99. […] One last note. After Friday’s lament about too much dairy, I came across these ten vegan breakfast ideas on The Kitchn. I’m digging the Idli idea, and this recipe from one of my favorite indian cooking bloggers, Mahanandi, who also has a killer recipe for chana masala. Perhaps I’ll be back to my vegan mojo real soon, but not until I finish up all the cottage cheese and milk in the fridge. […]

    Pingback by A Day in the Life: Farinata Forever | SmarterFitter — April 11, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

  100. Hi,

    Im gonna try your Idli recipe for the first time. My husband asked me to try Idlis as the rest of my recipes dont fail so he is sure that this wont as well. However Iam bit nervous as its Idli!!! It should ferment well n all. Adding to my nervousness is the fact that he wants it as brunch on his bday. I dont want to screw his bday. Pray n hope the Idlis come out fine. I stay in a hot humid climate – so i guess the batter will be fermented well πŸ™‚

    Rutu πŸ™‚

    Comment by Rutuja :) — June 9, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

  101. Hello Indira,

    I am seeking help in making idli. I have made idli a couple times before and they turned out “okay”. I recently bought “Deer Brand Idli Flour”. The ingredients list “Rice, Udad Dal”. I thought, ‘great, I’ll surely find a recipe on the web instructing in how to use “Idli Flour” to make idli’. Well, no such luck. With everything I have found I am now confused as to whether this is a product to make “instant idli” or whether it is a base and I still need to grind up and ferment rice and or urad dal? Can you help?

    Thank you,
    and I love your photos and recipes!

    Hello Colleen,
    Soak two cups of flour in four cups of water. Add half teaspoon of salt and quarter teaspoon of baking soda to the flour for easy fermentation. Mix well. Loosely cover with a lid. Keep the batter in warm place (like oven, above the refrigerator, laundry room etc). After four to six hours of soak, prepare idlies with the fermented batter.
    I have never used this type of readymade combo idly flour before, and I always make it with by soaking the raw ingredients listed in the recipe above.
    I hope the above method produces tasty idlies for you. Good luck. Please let me know how they turn out when you try.

    Comment by Colleen — July 17, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  102. Indira, thank you for taking the time to answer my plea! I just now got around to checking your website for an answer. I will try your suggestion and let you know how things turn out.

    Comment by Colleen — July 31, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  103. Hi,
    I made the idlis and they were soft and the texture was right but they were horribly deflated. They didn’t looks like little round pillows. Do you have any idea what went wrong? I didn’t mix the batter in the first batch before pouring. Then my husband suggested the batter might have too much air and I stirred the second batch before pouring. I got the same deflated idlis. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much.

    Comment by Lincy — September 16, 2010 @ 9:22 am

  104. Hi Indira,

    Do you or don’t soak the idly rava for a few hours before adding it to soaked and grinded urad dal? Does it make the idli any smoother?


    Hi Pallavi,
    Overnight soaking in ural dal batter and the fermentation process are enough to moisturize idly rava for soft idlies. So, it’s not necessary to soak the ravva beforehand.

    Comment by Pallavi G — February 3, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  105. Hi,

    I always look forward to recipes in your website. But here i have a question for u, i get soft idlis with i make idli with the first fermented batter. but once the batter goes into the fridge the batter turns hard? was wondering if u have a solution for this?

    Comment by preeti — May 11, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  106. Wow. This is my next project. Your page has convinced me. I recently made my best sambar ever using homemade sambar powder but added it at the end of cooking. There goes my last bit of my curry leaves from India given to me by a local friend.

    Comment by American — August 9, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

  107. i used to put 2 or 3 green chilly sepals (kaambu) on the top of the batter for speedy fermentation. thank u.

    Comment by hema — October 24, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  108. I heard we can make soft IDLI by rice and pottato alone. No need of urad dhal on this. Anyone having any idea?

    Comment by vikree — November 7, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  109. yummy after seeing that idly’s pic my mouth started watering

    Comment by ayush agarwal — September 22, 2012 @ 4:32 am

  110. […] Leftover idlis: 12 nos […]

    Pingback by Lemony Idli Uppuma - Cook Food, Serve Love — January 23, 2015 @ 11:53 pm

  111. Can we skip using the baking powder ?

    Comment by Ramya — February 18, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

  112. […] 3. Idlis: Made from fermented rice and urad dal (black lentils), these fluffy, savory South Indian cakes are often served for breakfast with chutney or sambar. For recipes, see Mahanandi and Chef In You. […]

    Pingback by 10 Vegan Breakfast Ideas | Great For Your Life — June 23, 2015 @ 12:57 am

  113. […] Why on earth would this be useful for Indian cooking??  The answer is simple, though the recipe for what goes in it is not. This little pan with indentations in it that look more useful for deviled eggs is a perfect stovetop pan for idlis. If your giftee is into Indian cooking and wants to learn more, this pan is for him or her. With it, give a small tin of saambhaar masala (can be found at Indian stores) and a recipe for idli. Tell your loved one that idli batter can be store-bought too (also at the Indian grocer) in case he or she wants to try it that way first. […]

    Pingback by 7 Thoughtful Kitchen Gifts for the New or Experienced Cook in the Indian Kitchen - Shef's Kitchen — October 17, 2015 @ 10:24 am

  114. […] Mahanandi » Idly (Idli, Iddenlu) – Γ’β‚¬β€œ 113 comments for Idly (Idli, Iddenlu) » OMG, I love the idli pictures. They are truly popping off the screen! Thanks for all the great tips and secrets. […]

    Pingback by How To Cook Idly In Oven | recipes - healthy smoothies — December 9, 2015 @ 11:05 am

  115. […] Mahanandi » Idly (Idli, Iddenlu) – Γ’β‚¬β€œ 114 comments for Idly (Idli, Iddenlu) » OMG, I love the idli pictures. They are truly popping off the screen! Thanks for all the great tips and secrets. […]

    Pingback by How To Cook Idly In Oven | recipes -beat the restaurant — December 30, 2015 @ 6:29 am

  116. Hello!

    Comment by prescription — September 30, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  117. […] One last note. After Friday’s lament about too much dairy, I came across these ten vegan breakfast ideas on The Kitchn. I’m digging the Idli idea, and this recipe from one of my favorite indian cooking bloggers, Mahanandi, who also has a killer recipe for chana masala. Perhaps I’ll be back to my vegan mojo real soon, but not until I finish up all the cottage cheese and milk in the fridge. […]

    Pingback by A Day in the Life: Farinata Forever - smarterfitter — October 21, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

  118. Hi,

    Your tips on making the perfect soft idlis are amazing; specially the one where you have asked to add soaked methi seeds.

    In your pictures I see this amazing idli stand with regular and mini idlis – all in one.

    Perfect idli stand for a family with adults and kids.

    Where can I find this sort of idli stand?

    Kindly reply.


    Comment by Swastika — February 22, 2017 @ 12:53 am

  119. Thank you very much for the recipe.
    It has been very helpful in SydneyÒ€ℒs cold weather.

    Comment by Mohana — January 21, 2019 @ 3:27 am

Your Comment


(required but not published)

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

It sounds like SK2 has recently been updated on this blog. But not fully configured. You MUST visit Spam Karma's admin page at least once before letting it filter your comments (chaos may ensue otherwise).