Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Secret to soft idli

An all time classic tiffen item - Idli......now if u happen to be a south Indian you know the ratio already .....but what makes these steamed rice cakes different and sponge like, that they just tend to melt in mouth? follow the recipe to know.

Ingredients :
1 cup urad dal
2 cups rice
(Ratio 1:2)
1/2 cup cooked rice
fenugreek seeds-1tbs

  • Start by rinsing the dal and rice in cold water .
  • add the fenugreek seeds to urad dal and soak both the dal and rice for a minimum of 4 hrs.
  • first blend the soaked urad dal into a thick paste adding very little water .
  • next add the rice to the blender and also dump in the cooked rice .make a thick paste of this too
  • add the rice paste to the dal paste and add desired amount of salt 
  • mix with clean hands until everything is incorporated well.
  • keep in a warm place overnight for the fermentation to take place 
  • once fermented the batter should rise significantly ,if this fails to happen then the temperature is too low ,leave the batter in this case in a much warmer place until the fermentation takes place 
  • once the batter is ready ,pour into idli molds and steam cook for 12-15 min
  • serve steaming hot with your favorite condiment 
  1. Always make a thick batter ,if desired water can be added in later stage to dilute the paste .
  2. mix with hands,the warmth from our hand is supposed to promote the fermentation process .
  3. The batter should rise to get soft and spongy idlis, so have patience and if you live in a very cold place try keeping the batter in the oven after preheating for 2 minutes and turning it off. 
Here is a quick video tutorial :
For a recipe of the red chutney shown in the video  click :   tomato chutney                                                                                  

Thank you for visiting !


  1. Hi eswari,

    I chanced upon your blog while searching for soft idli recipes. The blog is very good.Keep up the good work. I have a small query about the type of rice you have used in your idli recipe. What rice have you used while making idli?Is it alright to use any kind of rice or do you think the results would be better if I use ponni rice?
    Thank you.

  2. Hello Ammu
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and thank you for your lovely comments.The rice used in this recipe is-Idli rice which is different from par boiled rice or raw rice,available in the market by the same name,ponni rice also comes in two forms-raw and par boiled, personally I have never tried with ponni but if its par boiled rice you can try a small batch and let me know:)

  3. hi,
    how much time d idli requires to ferment approx?


    1. Hi Akita thanks for stopping by my blog .The fermentation time will vary according to the climatic conditions ,if you happen to live in a hot and humid place it should take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours,that is overnight to say,but if you chance to live in colder place it can take 12 to 18 hours depending where you put the batter(in a warm corner of your kitchen).hope this helps.

  4. Hi Easwari:

    I too, was looking for a recipe to make soft idlis and happened by chance to come upon your cooking site. The idli rice you've mentioned usually comes in the form of idli rawa rice and they need not be put in a grinder but to be mixed with the uradh dhal paste. I followed another recipe using this method but my idlis were not spongy when I made them nor did they puff up like yours. Now after seeing your recipe, I used Nupak Long Grain white rice and soaked it today since you didn't specify the type of rice to use. I assumed it could be any raw rice. Also, I do not know whether I should grind the soaked rice to a fine paste. But I'll do it since it is the only way to get soft and spongy idlis, I suppose. I wonder how my idlis are going to turn out tomorrow. I heard that to use parboiled rice like Uncle Ben's it is difficult to grind well. So, I'm staying away from using it. Kindly guide me please. Thank you.......

    1. Hi,Thanks for stopping by my recipe blog.Regarding your Q:
      The rice(idli rice) I have mentioned is not the"idli rawa rice" that you get in 2 lbs bags which is more like coarse powder, this is actual rice ,comes in larger amount like 4 or 20 lbs bags ,also it is par-boiled.The long grain rice you have mentioned here may not work as well as the par boiled one and yes it is hard to grind if you are using a food processor,I would suggest using a blender.Hope this helps.all the best.

  5. Awesome.... just great... i love this recipe.... thanks for sharing... waiting for your next post... :)

  6. Hi my name is Emilia, i have a few questions.....

    (1.) I went to my Apna Cash & Carry and they didn't have a rice called
    "Idli Rice". So my question is what brand, name, or type of rice do
    you use to make the Idli.

    (2.) Were do I let my batter ferment? Inside my fridge or outside my fridge?
    Also I live in Jersey City, NJ, it's winter here right now. I say that
    because I have herd that the weather is also a ingredient in the Idli
    fermenting process.

    (3.) I would love to know what the names of the chutney you are using in the
    end product picture up above. I see a white one and a red one.

    1. Hi Emilia,
      Thank you for stopping by my recipe,regarding your Q:
      1.The Idli rice I get here is of the brand bansi or kazana(L.A,california) ,they come in many other brands too and sometimes without any brand name in a plastic bag.I think maybe you should try some other store that specializes in south Indian grocery because as far I've heard NJ has a huge south Indian population so you will sure find it,in fact sometimes Costco has idli rice too,yes this time I got my idli rice from bay area (my BIL lives there)from the Costco,they had 10lbs bags of kazana brand idli rice on demand.

      2.You are right about the weather.Temperature is a key player in fermentation.I would advise on placing the batter in a warm spot.what I usually do is preheat the oven for couple of minutes and then turn it off and place the batter inside,or you can place it near the outlet of your room heater.once the batter is fermented(you will know by the look and smell of the batter) refrigerate,will store for a week or can be frozen for 3 months .

      3.thank you for your interest on the chutney recipe-The white one is coconut and the red one is tomato -I have linked the video recipe for the red chutney below the blog post,hope you find it useful.
      Hope this helps.

  7. Thank you so much, yes it did help. I live in a heavily Indian populated area I am pretty sure I can find it now thanks to your advise. Actually my boyfriend is Bengali. He has lived in the US for 8 years and I am the first American
    (Cuban American) he has dated so I wanted to make a good impression. I know that your advise will give me a step up on my challenge.

    1. Hi emilia,
      nice to hear back from you -and wow that's a great gesture.you will sure get it right.all the very best.

  8. Hi,

    I really like many of your recipes but I wish you had an index so I could browse through them more easily. I came across your youtube channel and it lead me to here.


  9. Hi ramya,
    Thankyou for showing interest in my blog, and thank you for the suggestion.I will make sure this blog has a recipe index soon.