idli recipe | rice idli recipe | how to make idli batter

Rice Idli Recipe

idli recipe with step by step pictures | idli batter recipe | how to make rice idli 

Making idli from scratch and getting them right every time is often very tricky for the novice cooks. But once you figure out the ratio of rice and dal, making idlis at home becomes a breeze. Using good quality parboiled rice and dhuli urad dal (skinned and split black gram) is very important for a perfect idli recipe (इडली रेसिपी).

is idli healthy

Let’s take a look at the nutrition information of idli. Idli is a healthy food because it has no fat or cholesterol in it. The only trace amounts of fat come from the oil used to grease the moulds. Idli is low on calories as well. Each idli has just 33 calories and 2 grams of proteins. It has 8 grams of carbohydrates and 1.2 grams of fiber. Idli has a moderate glycemic index, meaning it keeps you fuller for comparatively long period of time. However, rice idli is not good for people with diabetes.

how to make idli batter recipe – tips and techniques

  1. To make this idli batter, you need to soak the rice and lentils separately for sufficient time, 7-8 hours. The rice to white urad dal ratio is 3:1.
  2. The next step of the process is grinding them separately. Urad dal needs to be ground to a smooth paste. The rice is ground somewhat coarsely.
  3. Both the batters are combined and mixed well in a bowl and left to ferment.
  4. Never ever throw away the water that you soak the rice and lentil in, because it promotes the process of fermentation.
  5. Also, never add salt to the batter at this stage since it impedes the process of fermentation. Fermentation is what makes idlis so healthy as well as gives it a fantastic texture. It is also responsible for the typical sourish smell and taste that make idlis so delicious.

serving suggestion for idli

I have served them with sesame coconut chutney. It is an excellent chutney for idli. The burst of flavors from asafoetida and curry leaves tempering of this chutney is irresistible.

Idli sambar is an evergreen combination. There is no breakfast as comforting on a chilly morning as the platter of idli with some piping hot sambar on the side. Check out this vegetable sambar recipe. This idli sambar recipe combination is the very delicious and simple one to make at home.

sambar recipe is ready

how to make idli soft, fluffy, and spongy

Today, I wish to share with you my secret of making soft idli. They will stay soft all day, which is why they are ideal for tiffin. So if you are looking for tiffin recipes that would taste equally delicious after several hours even after cooling down, add this idli recipe to your list. Also, I am sharing the some tips for fermenting the idli batter during winters and monsoon when the weather is very cold.

how long does it take for the idli batter to ferment

It depends on the season. In summers the batter gets fermented within 8 hours. During rainy season and winters, it can take as long as 14 hours.

how do you know the idli batter has fermented

When the idli batter ferments, you will notice that it smells sour. The batter also rises up and when you scrape the surface with a spoon, it looks frothy and light.

fermenting the idli batter during winters using oven or microwave

In winters, it takes much longer for the batter to ferment, usually up to 12 hours. However, I have got a simple trick for you to ferment the idli batter within 12 hours during winters.

Keeping the batter in the preheated oven is one way you could achieve faster fermentation. Preheat the oven at 80-90° C and switch the oven off. Keep the bowl containing the batter inside the oven and let it rest till it ferments. Some ovens have a pilot light. You can leave the pilot light on and keep the batter in the oven. The pilot light keeps the inside of the oven warm.

But, what if you don’t have an oven? Will a microwave do? Sure! In fact, idli batter ferments much faster in the microwave. I have once achieved perfectly fermented idli batter in 12 hours flat while the temperature where I live had fallen to 10° C.

You need a microwave-safe glass. A bowl would do too. Fill the glass with halfway with water and add a spoonful of salt to it. That will prevent the water from exploding. Microwave the water for 90-120 seconds on high (900 watts). The chamber would be filled with steam. Switch off the microwave, keep the batter inside and quickly shut the door closed. Do not remove the glass of hot water. Repeat this process every 4 hours for better results.

Now let’s take a look at the idli ingredients and preparation.

how to make idli recipe

5.0 from 14 reviews
Idli Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Idlis - A healthy breakfast recipe made with fermented rice and lentil batter, steamed and served hot with coconut-sesame chutney.
Recipe type: Breakfast snack
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Serves: 6-8
  • Parboiled rice – 3 cups
  • White urad dal – 1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water - to soak the rice and dal
  1. Take parboiled rice and white urad dal in separate bowls.
  2. Rinse and soak the rice in sufficient water for 8 hours.
  3. Rinse and soak the urad dal in sufficient water for 8 hours.
  4. Drain the rice and urad dal and reserve the water.
  5. Grind the urad dal using about 1 cup of reserved water to a smooth batter. Take it out in a large bowl.
  6. Grind the rice using about 2 cups of reserved water as well. It will not be very smooth. It will have some grits in it. Add it to the urad dal batter.
  7. Mix both the batters well. Cover the bowl with a lid and keep it in a warm spot. Let the batter rest for 8-10 hours depending on the weather.
  8. When the batter ferments, add salt mix well.
  9. Prepare the idli steamer and grease the moulds. Pour the idli matter to the moulds. Don’t fill them upto the brim.
  10. Place the idli moulds in the steamer and close the lid. Steamthe idlis for 10-12 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the moulds out of the steamer and allow them to cool for a while. Remove the idlis using a spoon and transfer them to a casserole to keep warm.
  12. Idli recipe is ready. Serve hot with sambar or chutney. Enjoy.
Nutrition Info per Idli - Approximate Values
Nutrition Information
Calories: 33 kcal Fat: 0.3 g Carbohydrates: 8 g Sugar: 0 g Sodium: 55 mg Fiber: 1.2 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

idli recipe with step by step pictures below

Step 1

Gather the idli ingredients. Take 3 cups parboiled rice in a bowl.

Parboiled rice

Step 2

Take 1 cup white urad dal in another bowl.

Urad dal

Step 3

Wash the rice a few times and soak it in sufficient water for 8 hours.

Soak rice in 3 cups of water

Step 4

Wash the urad dal as well and soak it in sufficient water for 8 hours.

Soak urad dal in 2 cups of water

Step 5

Drain the rice and urad dal after 8 hours. Also, reserve the water because it facilitates fermentation.

drain the rice and uraad dal, reserve the water in a separate bowl

Step 6

Take the urad dal in a grinder jar and add 1 cup of the reserved water to it.

grinding uraad dal using the reserved water

Step 7

Grind it to a smooth, fluffy batter using 1 cup of reserved water.

grind to paste

Step 8

Take it out in a deep bowl.

urad dal batter in a deep bowl

Step 9

Next, take the rice in the jar and grind it using about 2 cups of water.

soaked rice put into mixer pot, use reserved water to grind to paste

Step 10

Grind the rice using the reserved water as well. It will not be very smooth. It will have some grits in it. Add it to the urad dal batter.

rice ground to smooth batter

Step 11

Pour the rice batter to the urad dal batter in the bowl.

pour rice batter upon urad dal batter

Step 12

Mix both the batters well. You may discard the remaining reserved water.

mix the batter well

Step 13

Cover the bowl with a lid and keep it in a warm spot. Let the batter rest for 8-10 hours depending on the weather. The batter should ferment and rise like this.

cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place to ferment

Step 14

When you scrap the upper layer, you will see a frothy and bubbly batter.

frothy and bubbly batter

Step 15

Add salt to taste and mix.

add salt to taste and water to adjust consistency

Step 16

Prepare the idli steamer by adding enough water in it. Grease the moulds. Pour the idli matter to the moulds. Don’t fill them up to the brim.Place the idli moulds in the steamer.

preparing the Idli steamer

Step 17

Close the lid and steam the idlis for 10 minutes.

close the steamer and steam for 10 minutes

Step 18

When done, idlis look like this.

cooked idlis in steamer mould

Step 19

Carefully remove the moulds out of the steamer and allow them to cool for a while. Remove the idlis using a spoon and transfer them to a casserole to keep warm. Idli recipe is ready. Serve hot with sambar or chutney. Enjoy.

Rice idli recipe is complete

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  • Reply
    Sivakumar Prajapathy
    April 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    i am brought up eating idlis, so i know a good one when i see one! keep it up and Kudos!

  • Reply
    Sujata Pawar
    July 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    so soft an fluffy…but i hv a question..can we use plain rice instead of boiled rice? will it make a big difference?

    • Reply
      July 10, 2017 at 7:44 am

      You can use 50% boiled rice, 50% regular rice. Use cheap rice for better results.

  • Reply
    Supriya M
    July 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    so soft n spongy..nice

  • Reply
    Kavita Shah
    August 13, 2017 at 11:39 am

    idlis look so perfect.. like i want ot grab one from the pic right now 😀
    can i make dosa with same batter?

    • Reply
      August 13, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Yes, you can make crispy dosas with this batter.

  • Reply
    tavleen kaur
    August 29, 2017 at 10:39 am

    i tried em and they turned out to be exceptionally fluffy and soft… thanx sis!

    • Reply
      August 30, 2017 at 5:41 am

      Thank you Tavleen for trying the recipe. 🙂 I am happy it worked for you.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2017 at 10:45 am

    thank you for detailed pics

  • Reply
    kshitija dabholkar
    September 12, 2017 at 5:04 am

    thankq, nice recippe

  • Reply
    Radhika pal
    September 14, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I tried your method and idli turned out perfect pillowy soft and tasty…

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 9:34 am

      I am glad you liked it 🙂 thank you.

  • Reply
    The Red Magnet
    September 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    i lyk dis recipie

  • Reply
    Vijoy kariyat
    September 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Very nice and authentic fermentation method.. keep it up da.

  • Reply
    mugdha guru
    November 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    yaar mooh me paani aa gaya, i can eat idlis every day for rest of my life!

  • Reply
    neema bhadouriya
    July 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    fab recipe..idli came out extremely melt in mouth. thanks 😀

  • Reply
    Saumya kataria
    August 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Meri idli Kabhi achi banti thi kabhi nahi.. par ye recipe 4-5 baar banake dekhi.. every Sunday.. har bar perfect Bani. Aur microwave wali trick hamesha kaam kar gayi. Thank you so much. Husband khush! ?

    • Reply
      August 5, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      That’s a huge compliment, Saumya. Thank you. Glad you can make perfect idli every time now 🙂

  • Reply
    deepa bhatia
    January 10, 2019 at 5:26 am

    i have always had difficulty getting the idli batter right. followed your instructions to the T and it came out perfectly. the idlis were so spongy. everyone enjoyed idli chutney in the family a lot. hope i will get it right the next time as well. thanks for such a detailed explanation.

    • Reply
      January 10, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      So glad you nailed the idli recipe, Deepa. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

  • Reply
    Disha Shengale
    June 6, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Amazing recipe. After reading this article i came to know what mistakes I repeatedly did while making idli. Thanks for sharing this post. Shall try soon. 🙂

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