idli recipe – how to make soft idlis (step by step idli recipe)

idli recipe - how to make soft idlis

this very popular idli recipe post has a lot of tips on making idli batter and step by step photos for making soft idlis at home. so take your time to read this detailed guide on making soft idlis at home and enjoy the pics :-)

after a lot of requests, i am finally writing a detailed post on how to make fluffy and soft idlis at home…. i don’t know what took me so long to write a post on idli…. it is something i make home regularly.

idlis…. one food that i grew up having…. idli was a regular breakfast at our home. come sunday, and there would be idlis & dosas for breakfast as well as lunch.

idli recipe

i would see the way my mom would soak the rice, dal and then grind it and then leave it to ferment. this was a regular saturday ritual in my house and i knew that on sunday we would get steaming hot idlis with chutney for breakfast. for lunch it would be dosa with sambar and a veggie.

i never knew that when i would start making idlis, i would run into problem the very first time i make these. i had seen countless times idli preparation in my home. i was least expecting, that the idlis i made for the first time for my mom-in-law would become an embarrassment for me. i was working hard to make the idlis soft :-)

the idlis were not soft and fluffy at all. i had done everything so perfectly and yet the idlis became a little hard. i know the aroma of  the batter when they are being ground and mixed… i know the slightly sour aroma of the fermented batter.

when i had seen this batter, i knew that the batter had not fermented well in the cold winters of delhi. still i made idlis from the batter… and all of us had not so soft idlis…. much to my embarrassment….. but now i am good in making idlis. the hubby just loves the idlis i make at home.

idli recipe sambar

having a food science background i also know how fermentation is important to get the best results in certain food products like wines, cheese, yogurt, breads etc. idlis and dosas also fall in the fermented food category.

what contributes to fermentation is the optimum temperature conducive for that specific food to get fermented and to give desired results. in the case of idli batter, the temperature is very important. generally the warmer indian temperatures are the best for making idlis. the ideal temperature is between 30 to 32 degrees C.

the wild air borne yeast causes the fermentation process and it is drawn from air by the urad dal & fenugreek seeds. at home we would never add fenugreek seeds. idlis were just made with rice and urad dal. still they would be soft and fluffy.

when i make idlis, i do add fenugreek seeds, as i add split urad dal and not whole urad dal as i don’t get them here. the wild yeast on the whole urad dal aids in the fermentation process. a point to note is that it is not only yeast, but some anaerobic bacteria also that also help in the fermentation process.

idli recipe - urad dal

so remember temperature and wild yeast are your best friends while making idli. this is also the case with breads…. temperature and baker’s yeast are my best friends when i make breads. luckily i have not had a single disaster when making breads at home.

now we come to the type of rice that is used for idli. from my personal experience i have used basmati rice, sona masoori rice, kolam rice in various combinations, for making idlis and never had any problem. i also make idlis using half-half of basmati rice and parboiled rice. they have also come out well.

when i was working for a project one & a half year ago, we had a cook who would make very soft idlis. i asked her once how her idlis were so soft. she told me that she adds some poha/flattened rice or cooked rice to the idlis… just a handful and these would make the idlis soft.

idli recipe - poha flattened rice

my mother would never add poha or cooked rice to the idlis and her idlis also used to be soft. but my mom would put damp muslin cloth on the idli mould and then steam the idlis. as a result the softness of the idlis would be more pronounced.

the recipe posted here is what i follow now after listening to our cook’s advice. for this recipe i have used basmati rice and goan red parboiled rice…. i do not get idli rice here. so i make idlis with the goan red parboiled rice along with regular rice.

idli recipe - basmati rice

this is my standard recipe for making both idlis and dosa now. i have also added methi seeds along with urad dal and some poha. the proportion of rice and urad dal is always a matter of controversy. so i suggest experiment with different types of rice and come to your own standard measurements which will give you perfect idlis.

idli recipe - main ingredients for idli

the day the batter was fermented i made idlis.  i served the idlis with mom’s recipe of kerala sambar and coconut chutney. the next day i made masala dosa with the same idli batter. the dosas became crisp and got a nice golden color due to the addition of poha. don’t believe me. take a look at the pic below.

idli recipe - masala dosa

this is a step by step recipe for making soft idlis at home:

1: pick and rinse the urad dal & rice. soak the urad dal with fenugreek seeds in a separate bowl or pan. soak the rice with the poha separately. soak for atleast 4-5 hours.

idli recipe

2: drain the urad dal, but don’t throw away the water. reserve the water.

idli recipe

3: in a wet grinder, add the urad dal.

idli recipe

4: add 1 or 2 tbsp of the reserved water and grind the urad dal. keep on adding a few tbsps of water in between grinding. the batter should be light and fluffy when completely ground.

idli recipe

5: pour the urad dal batter in a deep pan or bowl.

idli recipe

6: drain the rice & poha. this pic is before i drained the rice and poha.

idli recipe

7: add them in the wet grinder.

idli recipe

8: use the urad dal strained water to grind the rice and poha too. keep on adding a few tbsp while grinding. the rice should be completely ground. when you feel the batter with your finger tips, the batter should not feel grainy. it should be smooth and paste like. don’ t add too much water in the beginning. keep on adding little water in between. remember that batter should not be thick or thin. i hope all the pics give you an idea about the consistency of the batter.

idli recipe

9: now add the rice batter to the urad dal batter and mix well.

idli recipe

10: add salt and mix it with the rest of the batter.

idli recipe

11: mix the batter well. cover the bowl or container with a lid and keep the batter in a warm place. it should be left undisturbed for 8- 9 hours. don’t use an air-tight lid.

idli recipe

12: next morning you will see this. the batter will rise and double up and might even throw away the lid as it happened with this idli batter. you can see the fermented batter bursting from the edges. my calculations of the batter versus the pan went wrong :-)

idli recipe

13: time for making idlis now :-) take your idli steamer or pressure cooker. add some water and keep it on the stove with the fire on. grease the idli mould with oil. gently and lightly swirl the batter. don’t over do. now with a spoon pour portions of the batter in the greased idli moulds.

idli recipe

14: keep the idli mould in the steamer or pressure cooker. if using a pressure cooker, then cover the pressure cooker with its lid. remove the vent weight/whistle from the lid. steam the idlis for approx 10-12 minutes.

idli recipe

15: check for doneness by inserting a tooth pick. if it does not come out clean, then keep again for a few more minutes. when done remove the idli mould from the cooker. remove the idlis. they come out easily. don’t overcook as then they become dry.

idli recipe

16: serve hot idlis with sambar and coconut chutney.

soft idli recipe

if you are looking for similar recipes then do check idli recipe with idli rava, idli chaat, rava dosa with video, idli dosa faq and making idli in microwave.

soft idli recipe details below:

4.5 from 56 reviews
idli recipe - how to make soft idlis
idli is a popular breakfast recipe in south india but now getting popular in other parts of india too.
RECIPE TYPE: breakfast, snacks
CUISINE: south indian
SERVES: 18-20 medium sized idlis or 9-10 medium sized idlis & 4-5 dosas
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 1 cup basmati rice or sona masoori rice or regular rice
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • ½ cup urad dal/black gram, skinned whole or skinned spilt
  • ¼ cup poha/flattened rice
  • ¼ tsp methi seeds/fenugreek seeds
  • water as required
  • salt
  • oil to apply to the idli moulds
  1. pick and wash both the rice and urad dal.
  2. soak the rice and poha in water for 4-5 hours.
  3. soak the urad dal with methi seeds separately for 4-5 hours.
  4. drain the soaked urad dal. reserve the water.
  5. grind the urad dal, methi seed with some of the reserved water till you get a smooth and fluffy batter.
  6. grind the rice to make a smooth batter.
  7. mix both the batters together in a large bowl or pan. add salt and mix well.
  8. cover and let the batter ferment for 8-9 hours.
  9. after the fermentation process is over, the batter will become double in size and rise.
  10. gently mix the batter.
  11. grease the idli moulds.
  12. pour the batter in the moulds steam the idlis in a pressure cooker or steamer.
  13. if using pressure cooker remove the vent weight.whistle.
  14. steam for 10-12 mins or until the idlis are done.
  15. remaining batter can be stored in the refrigerator.
  16. serve the steaming hot idlis with coconut chutney and sambar.

{ 400 Responses }

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. karuna says

    I was trying to get my idlis right since a very long time, but i finally got them right with your recipe..It feels so great :). Thanks a lot dasanna!

  2. khushI singh rajput says

    First time ….I made idli in home after seeing aal the recipes on this website….nd it was really like south indian taste….everybody liked ….

  3. ANIL PAREKH says

    I have liked your recipe for idli. Some people suggest to add cooked rice in the batter.

    At which stage cooked rice are to be added and it’s proportion ?

  4. sunita agarwal says

    After making idli from ur given recipe my husbands reaction intact whole family said awesome. Idlis were really soft
    Thank u

  5. Sweta says

    You rock!! Years of cooking n First time ever I made idlis w/o eno…n first time I am ever writing on someone’s blog like this…they turned out amazingly superb n I just can’t express enough of thankful I am to you. They were soft, fluffy n like melt in your mouth type. All day ever since my first trial in the morning (I try one mould before I make them all) I coulndt wait to get on this blog n thank you seriously. I totally mean it. everyone loved it!!!

    Of course being the cold weather I live in. I couldn’t get the batter fermented next day…I had in oven with light on…so it fermented the 2nd day after I did the grinding process…n it looked like just the pic above. N seriously your pics n details are amazingly super n life saver!!!

    This is my forever recipe. Of course left little batter for dosa. Can’t wait to see n share the results. I have put in refrigerator now but let me know if I need to do anything different. Def can’t wait to try more of your recipes now on. Thanks a zillion ;). -Sweta

    Ps…tried giving you 5 stars but didn’t let me. You deserve more then that!

    • says

      welcome sweta. glad to know this. thanks for sharing this awesome feedback on idli recipe. you can use this left over batter in 3-4 days time. no change required. sometimes the software does not allow to give 5 star rating.

  6. tejal says

    Love the concept of this blog! You should start something on Pinterest as well! Anyway thanks for sharing..

  7. Gaga says

    I have tried a lot of recipes from your blog and each one of them is superb. I had failed at making soft idlis but this recipe is a keeper. The best idlis I have ever made. Thanks for such a detailed explanation . Keep up the food work.

  8. kanan sharma says

    hey !!
    I am in shortage of methi seeds. Can I make idli batter without addition of methi seeds ? Or is there any substitute ?

    TIA :)

  9. Anil Pillai says

    its really very fantastic, I am always confuse about how to make soft idli, now I got the idea, thank you, I am going to open a small scale south Indian food store. can you help me for it? I want some more verities in Idli

    • says

      welcome anil. glad to know this. i have already posted few varieties like rava idli, idli made with cooked rice. will try to add ragi idli and poha idli recipe soon.

  10. vaanya says

    Hi dassana ur recipes are really awesome,i wanna thanku for idli n all ur recipes really amazing with pictures n is easy to cook. Now I feel myself incomplete without vegrecipesofIndia..thanku n all d best n keep posting.

  11. Madhusudhan says

    There are about atleast 32 varsities of idli preparation in Karnataka.
    If you want I will get you recipe, try and post. you are doing wonderful presentation, which I can’t do here in my place.
    “Learn and teach all” is my motto

  12. dr dhanya says

    Dear Dassanna
    Once again thanking for ur recipes
    We have been making idli s with our own home made batter for long….but it never doubled in volume and the batter was not that fluffy. Now that I m regular at ur site I have been making the best idlis and dosa s we have ever had…..Thank u very much
    Ur scientific explanation for the fermentation made me realise my earlier mistake. …bcos I used to give a final rinse to the urd dal before grinding and was not using the soaked water while grinding…
    And that addition of poha did wonders….

    • says

      thanks a lot dr dhanya. you can try using whole husked urad dal. they are better than using the split ones. also the urad dal has to be ground really well. the batter should be fluffy and light. gives a good texture to the idlis.

  13. Ani says

    Thanks a lot madam ,
    I have read this batter recipe , comments & your suggestions many times and got thorough with it now. (Actually planning to start a business).

    So i would also like to know :
    1. If the rice is grinded in its dry form and then the water is added , will there be any difference to it.

    2. Is there any preservative to preserve batter for around 7-8 days and more.

    Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe

  14. asli says

    Hi, I tried your recipe twice and got nice dosas, the batter fermented and everything.

    I cannot make idlis though. I have an idli stand that I put in my pressure cooker, with the lid closed but not at pressure. My idlis do not cook at all they end up flat and gooey and basically raw. I tried steaming them for longer but it made no difference I don’t see that anyone else is having this problem. Do you know what I could be doing wrong?

  15. jaydeep says

    Well we are 5 persons in our family. So kindly I want to how much amount of each ingredients are needed pls help me with that for idli only.

  16. Jan says

    I tried this recipe. It has twice as much rice as I usually add. I live at a higher elevation in Las Vegas, Nevada, so fermentation takes longer. I left the batter to raise for 1 1/2 days and it did finally raise. I was amazed at how fluffy it was…maybe too much so. When they were steamed they became flat, but soft. My husband is Gujarati and he likes a sour taste. They did not have that. He is right now in the kitchen making dosa with the batter to see how that turns out.

    • says

      usually the rice is more than what i have used in this recipe. i think the batter was thin. then the idlis become flat. idlis have a faint sour taste. and taste varies from person to person :-) idlis won’t taste sour like the white dhokla, which is a popular gujarati snack. but the texture is similar. i hope the dosas turned out good.

  17. Sneha G says

    Hello Dassana ji. Your recipes are very inspirational. I always get motivated after reading them. Today I made idllis and for the first time in my life, they turned out to be so well. Thank you so much. Not only idlis, I have tried many of them in last month and my confidene in cooking is increasing. They are a big relief for learners like me. Please keep posting.

  18. purity Cardozo says

    Thanks dear for the lovely idli recipe I tried for the first time it’s really yummy.i am your great fan and I am from goa.

  19. Sumanth says

    Dear Amith,

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I made this is in Clemson, South Carolina US. The idli’s turned out exactly the same way as you described and they were the softest idlys i have ever eaten.
    The only problem i had was it was difficult to remove it from the idli tray as the idlis were too soft and tender which is i know not the reason to complain :) and the idlis were sticking to the tray and hence i was not getting the perfect idlis which is again not a reason to complain because the idlis were sooo awesome.
    By the way i am making idli’s for the first time in my life that too from scratch making the batter and made the best idlis which was loved by all my friends. It is always difficult to impress your roomies when you are cooking..!! :)


    • says

      thanks sumanth for this generous feedback. grease the idli moulds very well with oil (any oil) then this problem will not be there. any solution is to dip a spoon in water at room temperature and slide the spoon below the idlis. i prefer the first method. happy cooking.

  20. sofiya says

    Hello, Thanks for easy to follow recipe. I tried it, but I used Idly rice since I already bought 10 lb Idly rice bag without looking at the recipe. My batter was too thick and I kept it in pre heat oven overnight but it didn’t fermented at all. It was same as I left. I live it for few more hours but still same. Idlies were soft. but not spongy/fluffy. I am in USA, where weather is really cold. Do you think it’s a good idea to leave oven on on 120 for whole night, instead of just preheating on 200 and turn it off. or may be my batter was too thick or the Idly rice that I am using are not good? please help. Thanks,

  21. Rom says

    Very good recipe with lots of illustrations. I live in USA (been living here for nearly 35+ years) and I use yeast to ferment idli batter. I have been doing this for many many years and every time the idlis come out very fluffy and ultra soft. I also use cream of rice (Idli ravva) instead of raw rice and other ingredients. There are two distinct advantages in using Idli ravva – First of all majority of the particles in the cream of rice are fairly uniform in size. This helps in proper dispersion of the rice ravva into urad dal batter. The second advantage is that, there is no need to grind rice. Just grind urad dal with water containing a small amount of yeast. Then add cream of rice (after washing a couple of times to remove the fines). Keep the batter mixture in the oven (off) over night and next morning you have your batter ready. Then use your standard procedure to cook idlis however you make. This recipe works well for those who are living in North America or Europe. Neither the batter nor the idlis have any foul smell.

    • says

      thanks rom for sharing your experience and suggestions. it will help other readers too. i know this method and this is in fact a quicker method than soaking rice. i also do this way at times.

      • Swetha says

        Hi can u mention the amount of yeast to be used and also the timing when I need to mix it with batter??

        For 1 glass of urad dal, I use 1.5 glass of cream of rice and one wrist full of flattened rice, yeast amount plz??

        As u already mention to add the yeast in water and then use it to grind the urad Dal in mixy, so u r saying to add the yeast while grinding right?

        Thanks in advance

        • says

          at times, when the batter does not ferment well in cold seasons here, i do add about 1/2 tsp of instant yeast to the proportions of rice and dal mentioned in this recipe. so you can add up to 1 to 1.5 tsp of yeast. i add yeast once the batter is fermented. before 30 to 45 minutes before you make idli or dosa, add the instant yeast. stir well and cover the batter and allow for the yeast to double up in the batter.

  22. jessi says

    Hi dassana,
    First of all i’d like to appreciate you for the wonderful help you are providing to all.Hats off to you…:)
    Now coming to my story,,
    For 1.5 cup of idli rice,i use 1/2 cup of urad dal .I am here stuck in delhi winter trying to make idlis…I soaked rice overnight and urad dal for 1 hour before grinding(i read somewhere too much time soaking ,will not give volume when ground).grinded at 11 a.m and had to make idlis at 8.15 p.m.I had placed my batter container insider a vessel containing warm water but after some time water became cool.My batter fermented but didn’t double in volume maybe 1/2 in volume.But when i scooped the batter there were lots of air pockets.My idlis were not flat but it was a little hard and not fluffy and soft.Where did i go wrong? Is it because it didn’t ferment well ?If so, give me tips on how to get it fermented faster in this cold winter( I have no oven neither is there a warm spot).Or is it because i have to add more water( But batter consistency i felt was correct though)?

    • says

      thanks jessi. ideally the batter should double or triple up. if this does not happen that means the batter has not fermented well. cold temperatures give a lot of issue. you can use this technique to keep the batter in a large casserole. cover and then wrap the casserole with a towel or a warm woolen cloth. place in a warm place or corner of your home. another method is to keep the batter in a bowl or pan. place this pan in the atta ka dabba. cover the batter with a lid. then close the lid of the dabba and allow the batter to ferment. what i do is i preheat the oven for about 15 minutes at a low temperature. then switch it off and place the container in the oven. close the oven door. if you have light in your oven, then keep the lights on and place the batter in the oven with the lights on. the warmth coming from the lights helps. here you don’t need to preheat the oven.

  23. Dipti Kar says

    Please note,i prepared batter at night for idli. While i am starting to make at morning very bad smale is coming from there. Can You suggest what can i have do for that? Pl mail me the solution I he above mail id.

  24. Neha says

    I tried to make idli for the first time, left it overnight yesterday. The batter did not ferment ,What do I do now?

  25. navin says

    thanks for the recipe. I am making it for first time. I have got the readymade batter from the market. I am not sure if i need to ferment that. Do i need to add baking powder as well? wish me luck. thanks.

    • says

      if the batter is not smelling slightly sour, then you need to keep it for a couple of hours outside at room temperature. if its smelling sour, then no need. generally ready made idli or dosa batter are not completely fermented. also no need to add baking powder. all the best.

  26. Radhika says

    Hi,your recipes are very tasty .but I have one doubt actually I want to know cup means how much ml cup that is 200ml or 250ml please can mention cup measure

    Whatever I am trying is very taste ,keep it up

  27. shruti says

    Hi, my idlys are not getting cooked properly whether i cook for 10 or 15 min, in middle its left little uncooked..ehst should i do i used normal rice tht we use at home and urad daal..

    • says

      if the center is uncooked, the continue steaming for some more minutes. if you use normal rice, then depending on the quality of rice, the idlis may or may not turn out soft.

  28. ruthwika says

    Hi Dasanna! I live in cold climate, My batter doesnt seem to ferment after 12 hours. idlys are sticky and hard even though i left it in the oven in a steel container.
    do i cover it or not?
    my recipe is 1 cup idly rava + 1 cup cooked rice + 1/2 cup split urad dal+ 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds.

    are there any tips you can give to improve the fluffiness, thank you!

    • says

      you need to cover the batter. but not air tight. just cover with a lid. the stickiness and hardness is due to the lack of fermentation. i think the recipe is fine. do you preheat the oven before you keep the batter. preheat the oven for some minutes. switch off the oven. then keep the batter inside covered with a lid.

  29. Shahi says

    I preferred adding cooking rice to the batter.. But with that batter, dosas sticks to the pan..
    Will dosas stick to the pan if added poha?

    People here suggest me to grind rice coarsely for idli.. Will it help to get soft idli?

    • says

      if your pan is well seasoned, then no dosa can stick on it. if you use the pan regularly for making dosa, then there is no problem for stickiness. if you use a tava or pan on which chapatis or phulkas are made for making dosa, then the dosa wills stick. whether you add rice or poha, does not matter. the problem is not the dosa batter but the pan/tava. you can grind rice to such a texture, where you can feel small tiny particles. but the consistency of the rice particles in the batter should be like fine rava/sooji. don’t keep the particles coarse. you will feel a grainy texture in the idlis.

  30. Rahul says

    Thanks for the recipe. I am not an expert cook but with the methods you suggested the idlis turned out to be soft,spongy and delicious.Thanks Madam !! :)

      • Rahul says

        Dear Mam,
        I just have a small query. Although the idlis turn out to be soft and rise well,I still have difficulty in getting them out in round edges.Somehow ,the edges of idlis are not round.Do i have to leave the idlis in the stand after steaming for few minutes before taking them out from the mould.please help..

        • says

          keep for some minutes and then you remove them. probably the batter has some extra water and this is not giving the shape. try reducing a bit of water. also make sure that the steam droplets do not fall on the idli. they also make them moist.

  31. Yojana says

    Hi, I thought of using idli rava for making idli instead of rice & by mistake I soaked idli rava and urad dal together. I think there must be a remedy :) Any clue what do I do now?
    Thank You.

    • says

      drain the water completely and grind both of them together. you may not need to add any water while grinding as idli rava absorbs quite an amount of water. cover and let the batter ferment. then you can make idlis or dosa with this batter.

  32. Prathyusha says

    Can I make idlis using 1cup normal rice + 1/2 cup urad dal + 1/4 tbsp. fenu greek & 1cup normal rice + 1/4 poha?
    What is the difference between the idli made with Idli rava & idli made with rice?

    • says

      you mean two cups 2 normal rice. urad dal is fine. 1/4 tbsp is too much. it is 1/4 tsp. you can but depending on the quality of rice, the idlis may or may not come out good. i would suggest you to use short grained rice if making the idlis. idli rava is made with parboiled rice or idli rice. since the rava is not ground to a batter, these idlis have a different texture than the regular idlis. in tamil nadu idlis are made with rice and urad dal.

  33. Nuti says

    I am a big fan of south Indian cuisine and my taste buds keeps craving for it every now and than. Whenever I have to cook something the only thing that comes in my mind is to check your website for the delicious recipes. They are so easy to understand along with the beautiful, mouth watering pictures. Thanks a lot ! :)
    Recently I tried medu vada and idli. The medu vada turned out really well… with perfect crispness (though the shapes were horrible but could manage the hole in the middle 😀 )and taste. But the idlis were bit disappointing. The batter fermented really well.. double the size but the idlis did not puff up well. They were sticky and dense.
    I have one more query :do we use the same consistency as of the idli batter to make dosa? Thank you :)

    • says

      thanks nuti. the amount of water to be added in the batter also makes a difference. since in your case, the batter fermented well, then it must be less amount of water. the batter has to be thick but still a bit flowing. i make idlis every weekend and never have any issue. stickiness can also be due to the quality of rice. for making dosa, you can use the same consistency of the batter. you can also add some water to make it loosen up a bit, so that you can spread the dosa easily.

  34. Sini says

    Dear Dassana,
    Your recipes are very inspirational and I admire your sincerity and effort in describing every step so clearly.
    I have couple of questions :
    1) the poha we are adding , is it white or brown ? Any difference ?
    2) if we are adding cooked rice instead of poha, is it raw or parboiled one ?
    3) if I’m using table top wet grinder is there any change in proportion of rice and urud dal ?
    Thank you !

    • says

      welcome sini.
      1. poha can be white or brown. i have used thick white poha. not much difference except the nutritive values.
      2. its cooked rice.. the rice which has been steamed or cooked.
      3. no change (while using using table top wet grinder).

      i hope it helps.

  35. revathisrinivas says

    I have gone through my favourite south indian recipe idli . i came to know to know that how to prepare . thank you so much . it is very helpful to the youngsters i have a small doubt in some of the places we wont get whole urad dal if it is broken what is the measurement. please guide me.

  36. revathisrinivas says

    I have gone through my favourite south indian recipe idli . i came to know to know that how to prepare . thank you so much . it is very helpful to the youngsters

    • says

      you can make straight away. replying late as we had some server issues. generally pre made batter are not sour. so you can keep them at room temperature for some hours to get that light sourness.

  37. renu says

    Hi.. I made this batter yesterday.. For some reason it didn’t ferment at all. I used the same ratios as you did. Used basmati and idli rice. Kept in the oven overnight with the light on. But still it didn’t ferment. Can you tell me what must have went wrong? Also any ideas on what I can do with the unfermented batter?

    • says

      Its due to the temperature. I would suggest you to add about half teaspoon of dry active yeast to the batter and keep at room temperature for some minutes. The batter will leaven. You can also add 1 tbsp yogurt with one fourth teaspoon of baking soda. This will also leaven the batter. If sour aroma is coming and you don’t see the batter doubled up then also you can make idlis or dosa. You can also keep the batter for a few more hours till it ferments. Eno or fruit salt can also be added to the batter and you can make dhokla from it.

  38. Samiya says

    Hi dassana…I bought idli rice and dosa rice yday.would like to knw the exact proportions..should idli rice be used with basmati rice.

    • says

      dear samiya, same proportion as mentioned in the recipe 1:1 or if you are a bit nervous then 1.5 cups of idli rice and 1/2 cup of basmati rice :-) you can also make idlis just with the idli rice and urad dal. add about 2 cups of idli rice and 1/2 cup of urad dal. soak separately and then grind separately. grind the urad dal very well. the urad dal batter should be fluffy and soft.

  39. Samiya says

    Hi dassana.Would like to knw if we can use basmati rice only for idli.since i do not hv idli rice with me and not sure if we get it here in KSA.if its only basmati rice whats the ratio to be used.

    • says

      i would suggest to use short grained rice like sona masoori or broken rice. basmati rice work well with parboiled rice or idli rice. it also works well without, but depending on the quality the idlis may come out good or not. so one has to experiment. use 2 cups of short grained rice for 1/2 to 1/3 cup of urad dal. the rest of the ingredients remain same. you can also use idli rava instead of basmati rice if you can get it where you live.

  40. Samiya says

    Hi Dassana
    I usually add lil yeast or soda to my idli batter and it comes out really soft but this time I followed ur recipe of idli batter except for parboiled rice and the batter was so hard that I could not even move my spoon. SO I ADDED water and mixed it in a mixie..but my idlis were flat and did not rise..Is it because that I did not use parboiled rice or I mixed it in the grinder in the mning coz I could not move my spoon also.Kindly help..I want to make idlis without the use of yeast or soda.

    • says

      hi samiya. did you grind everything together. the urad dal has to be ground first and it should be really fluffy and soft batter. the fact that you could not even move the spoon means there enough water is not there. even after adding water, if the idlis did not come out well, it means the batter was not made properly and it has affected the fermentation. the batter has to be thick but flowing. you should be able to easily stir the batter with a spoon or spatula.

  41. pushpa says

    The number of comments n queries here show how many ppl tried ur recipe succesfully n i wanted to be one of them.:)
    I have reached the fermentation level n just to check if the batter is ready to put in fridge for making idli tmrw i made a test dosa…
    N u know wht my hubby commented, “r u sure u want to make idlis tmrw. Make dosas rightaway!!!”
    He liked the supercrisp n golden dosa a lot! Thanks to ur recipe…keep it up! :)

  42. anita says

    The idlis were just the way I have been wanting to serve my kids , who enjoy them tremendously when we eat out. thank you ! You were a big help!

  43. yogesh says

    1st of all Thanx for this detailed recipe, will definitely try it
    but i need to know why should i soak rice and urad dal in different containers. How will my idlies be different if i soak them together ?
    Could you please tell me the scientific reason behind soaking them separately.
    Thanks once again

  44. says

    In continuation to my previous message, just wanted to tell that the idilies turned very soft in the first case than the latter. Also, should we take the idily from the vessel when it hot or cooled down? Pls advice.

  45. says

    Quick question…..when i prepared idly battar last time, I used 1 cup basmati rice, 1 cup split -urad dal, handful of cooked rice and the battar rised well enough that it ozzed out of the vessel. But this time I prepared the battar by using 2 cups basmati rise, I cup split dal, 1 tsp methi seeds n a Handful of cooked rice. But this time, despite keeping it for 12 hrs, there was no smell n the battar didnot ooz out. Can you please advice me. Thanks!!

    • says

      i would suggest to use half-half of basmati rice with a short grained rice like sona masoori or any other small grained rice. the quality of rice does affect the fermentation process. also i hope the temperature was also conducive to fermentation. sometimes the rice quality, the batter everything is good, but the temperature is cool or cold and this also affect the fermentation. you can easily remove the idlis when they are hot. if you have greased the idli moulds well, then they are easy to remove.

      • Ask says

        Thank u for your quick response!!
        I live in US and at this time it is cold…can you pls advice me on how I can ferment my idily battar better?

        Thanks in Advance!

        • says

          preheat your oven at 150 or 160 degrees Celsius for 15-20 mins. switch off the oven. you can also keep the light in the oven on, but it should not be getting preheated. wrap the bowl in a warm towel or napkin and place in the oven. this even i do as here too it was difficult to get the batter fermented well.

  46. Sharan says

    Hi dassana,

    Thankyou so much for sharing such wonderful and amazing recipes. I got married just two months back & didn’t know anything about cooking. Then one day I came across your blog and now I thank God so much to have found you. It seems you have a solution for everything. Thanks a bunch for being my backup ;-).
    My husband really loves idlis. I am thinking of giving it a shot this weekend. Can you tell me if its ok to make them with normal basmati rice instead of parboiled rice as I’m not very sure if I’ll get them in the market. Also if I can make parboiled rice at home.Will wait for ur reply. Love…God Bless:)

    • says

      thanks sharan. glad to know that the blog is your back up. parboiled rice or idli rice gives a good soft and fluffy texture which you won’t get if making with any other white rice. depending on the quality of rice you use, the idlis may or may not turn out soft. so its a chance one takes. as an alternative you can use idli rava (cream of rice) or brown rice to make idlis. i have not yet made idlis with brown rice, but my mom has and she says they are good. parboiled rice cannot be made at home. they are always commercially made.

  47. Unni says

    Hi dasanna

    Thanks for the recipe. I have a query. My wife is suggesting to by a table top wet grinder ( now we use mixer grinder). She is says batter made using wet grinder gives far better results and give very tasty/soft idles. Is it true?

    • says

      i have heard from friends that a table top grinder is better than a mixer grinder. i have never used it, but a lot of folks recommend it. so if suits your budget, you can buy a table top grinder.

      • Unni says

        Thank you.

        I have one more query. My mummy adds salt after fermentation of batter. She says adding of salt retards the process of fermentation. What is your comment?

        • says

          i usually add rock salt and the had had no issues with the fermentation. but iodized salt retards the fermentation. the iodine destroys the wild yeast that help in the fermentation.

  48. sandy says

    Dasanna, whenever I have cook somthing, the first thing I go to your site and try to find the receipe I want. But you know, I spend hours in reading the comments(I mean compliments) people have been showering on you. I really get so engrossed and it becomes late for me to start cooking. You are so generous in giving each minut details of the receipe. You are amazing and making so much difference to so many families. When I am in India, I would like to meet you briefly atleast to say hi. My daughter would love to meet you. When I have to make something, she will say, “go to your favarite person and check her site”

  49. sandy says

    Can you please give receipe for molaga pudi. Whenever I go to restaurants in Madras or Bangalore, I order more molaga pudi than idlis

    • says

      i had got the podi from kerala shop and still using it. once it get over, i will make a homemade podi and then post it also. i am a fan of milagai podi. in fact i just like the idlis coated all over by the podi :-)

  50. Kavita Mishra says

    Thanks for the recipe. Tried it yesterday n the idlis were awesome. Finally I could make the restaurant style idlis. Thanks a million!

  51. Radha says

    First of all Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I never liked idlys since my childhood. My husband loves them so tried makin a couple of tyms , but it was always a disaster. Even though we used to prepare it so often in my home I never got it right. I gave a try today n I m on cloud 9 . I have never tased such soft n yummy idlis. Just cudnt stop having. Thanks a ton. U made my day. Finally I learnt it. Not just learnt but perfected it. All credit to u. Keep sharing, looking foforwarto cook more of ur reipes.

    • says

      welcome radha and thanks for this positive feedback on idli recipe. reading such positive comments, i feel motivated and its nice to know that the blog is helping people in learning recipes.

  52. Dee Dee says

    After seeing all of the great comments, I want to try your recipe! I just have a question about idli rice. You mentioned in your replies that idli rice can replace regular rice. Would that be the basmati rice or the parboiled rice? I live in a small town in California, USA, so I have to drive a couple of hours to purchase ingredients from an Indian grocery or order them online, which can be pretty expensive with the cost of shipping. I just picked up some idli rice before I had read your recipe. What exactly makes idli rice different? I know I can get basmati rice locally. Not sure about parboiled rice. Isn’t that Minute rice in America? Or would you even know? Thank you for helping us all become Indian cooks. My husband and I lived in Coimbatore, India for 9 months as research students over twenty years ago. Or landlord’s wife would surprise us with delicious, fluffy, slightly sour, idlis from time to time. Have never tried any other as good. She had showed me once how to make them, but didn’t speak English and it seemed too intimidating to try and replicate them. With your instructions, I’m ready to take a stab at it. Hope they turn out. We really miss yummy idli.

    • says

      You can use parboiled rice. Both idli rice and parboiled rice are rice grains which have been parboiled. Idli rice is specifically used for making idlis. Whereas parboiled is cooked and served like steamed rice. I do not know what is minute rice. You can use parboiled rice in this recipe. Even idli rice will work. You can also use 2 cups of idli rice and omit the regular rice.

  53. jasee says

    Hi dassana
    I jst fnshd ma idlis wth sambar n it ws vry nic,alhamdu lillah.thanks alot

    I wnt som clrfication on makng battr n thnks again that ur site mad me clear al.
    I made battr ydy mrng cz i liv in kuwait n its winter here n also added bit yeast 2 get fermntd.any wy it cam gd bt gt stick on d mould evnthough i grcd it:-(

    I usly us 3:1 proportn 4 dosa n usd it 4 idlis too n it coms gd, ma mom us ds proptn n her s alwys com perfct n tasts best.
    I wnt 2 knw 1 mor thng dat hw 2 roast channa dal 4 chutney? I dn gt d rstd 1 here. In oil? Ur chutny recipes feel fantastic.

    Any way thnks alot n am flng homl 2dy,am a malayali. Am gng 2 make massala dosa 2 mrw insha allah,usng ur masala recipe n am sur it ll be grt

    • says

      thanks jasee. if the idli moulds are greased well, the idlis won’t stick. so next time you can try applying a little more oil. agree with your mom.

      for chana dal chutney – you take some oil and then saute the chana dal in the oil till they get golden and fragrant. then cool them and make a chutney with the other ingredients. you can also soak the chana dal for an hour. drain and then wipe them dry. then saute till oil till they become golden.

      i hope the masala dosa was good. happy cooking.

  54. Azzy says

    Hi! I normally make idlis using the idli rava. A few days ago I tried using parboiled rice(3 cups) with split urad dal(1/2 cup). It was a disaster! Although the batter had fermented very well, almost overflowing out of the container, the idlis were flat as can be, and I couldn’t even make dosa with it. Any idea where I went wrong? I live in Canada, so I made sure that I added methi seeds and kept the batter in a slightly pre-heated oven for fermentation. Anyhow fermentation wasn’t a problem. I used just regular parboiled rice.Any tips you could give would be greatly appreciated. I really want to try this version, but don’t want to go through all the grinding, before Im sure about the kind of rice to use.

    • says

      i suspect the water must have been less. if the water is less in the idli batter, than the idlis become dense and flat even when the batter gets fermented. i make idlis at times with just parboiled rice as well as idli rice too and never have any issues. the quality of parboiled is also important and it must be within its shelf life. try adding some more water – just a few tbsps more next time when you make the idlis.

  55. Richa says

    Thanks a lot for wonderfull idly recipe.I am not fond of rice idly but my husband love them.Earlier i have tried according to the ratio of 1:1 of rice and urad dal but it use to be hard.
    Now when i made it with your recipe ,the idly come out just perfect.
    And on next day i made dosa of remaining battar and that was also very crispy and so tasty.

    Thanks a lot.

  56. jyoti says

    Urad dal to rice proportion should be 1:3 but yours is 1:4 (Your measure of rice is 2 cups totally and urad dal is 1/2 cup). We south indians use 1:4 proportion for dosas and for idlis we have to increse the urad dal quantity. I don’t want to try and take risk.

    • says

      if you are sure of your idli recipe and proportions then you don’t need to try this one. i have been using this proportion for some years now and it works very well for me. in fact after your comment i referenced the cook books which i have and found that most of them are using 1:4 proportion for idlis and sbout 1:3 for dosas. and these books are written by south indians. so they must not be wrong.

  57. Sue says

    Hi Dassana, I have made idlis with your recipe today but I didn’t have poha, the idlis turned out really nice and soft, I used an egg poacher to steam the idlis and I made dosa with the rest of the mixture. I will be trying your other recipes, my husband and I are very fond of Indian food, your blog is now saved on my favourites, thank you once again for sharing your recipes. Happy new year to you and your family

  58. Shriya says

    Thanx foh all ua recipe…we njoy ua recipe prepared by our mom n dat are so delicious…!!!
    1nce again thanq…..!1!!!…:)

  59. bhumika says

    Einstein Said: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
    You make idli recipe so easy. I could not believe that i made it. The way you explain the whole recipe with photographs & descriptions is excellent. I got good comments from home, that all i am giving you.

  60. namratapatra says

    Hi, There are thousands of food site but must admit that urs is unique ….really impressed. Me a beginner and have just married. My husband loves idly ,so I want to try it. I have a doubt.
    what is paraboiled rice and from where can i get it? what if i use basmati rice only? waiting for ur suggestion….

    • says

      thannks. if you live in india, you can get parboiled rice or idli rice easily. parboiled rice is rice which has been partially boiled in the husk and then dried. if you don’t get parboiled rice, then use basmati rice. actually depending on the quality of basmati rice, the idlis can come out good or not so good. you can try with a small batch. if the idlis become soft, then next time try with a larger batch of rice.

  61. jayshree says

    hi dassana
    finally i made dosa today and all d credit goes to u bcoz without ur tip(seasoned the tava) it would have been impossible.I am so happy today bcoz the first dosa itself came out very gud.Thank you soooooooo much & keep giving d important tips also

  62. Ashwini says

    I tried this recipe for idli and they turned out soft and fluffy just as in the your post.Also, I made dosas with the leftover batter and they were yummy too.Thanks for sharing !

  63. thirunash says

    Hello Ms Dassana,
    First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the above Idli recipe…. today is Diwali I followed your recipe step by step note by note and it turned out perfectly perfect for me to serve my family on this day…..
    You know something this is the first time I made Idli for my family and even my wife was so envy that my Idli turned out better than hers….
    By the way if you’re celebrating Diwali happy Diwali to you and your family… once again thank you so much.

  64. jayshree says

    hi dassana
    i spread the dosa on the tava but when i tried to turn or flip ,i was nt able to do so bcoz the dosa stick on the tava & it was nt coming out and also i want to mention that i used my dosa tava almost after one yr. pls reply

    • says

      thats exactly the reason why the dosa got stuck. dosa tava has to be used often and regularly. if it is used even after a gap of 6 months the dosas stuck on the pan. in such a case they have to be seasoned before using. so just heat up the dosa tava and apply some oil. switch off and let the oil be on the tava for atleast 2-3 days. don’t use the tava. before making dosa, wipe the oil and then proceed to making dosa. the first few will break and stick. but after that there won’t be any sticking. also keep the dosa tava separate and the roti tava separate. if you make rotis in the dosa tava, then again the dosas get stuck to the tava.

  65. jayshree says

    hi dassana
    i tried ur recipe yesterday and it came out very well.The idlis were very soft and fluffy but when i tried to make dosas with this batter it didnt worked for me ,i dnt know why and what went wrong .can u plz tell me

  66. chetan says

    Further to my earlier commets yesterday I wish to add that I made idlis yesterday on the basis of your instruction and they came out supper soft. Now I am confident about this and will making idlis quite often. Many thanks.


  67. Beejal says

    Hello Dassanna,

    This is a lovely receipe and very well written and presented. I am going to try it. Is it ok to soak everything in hot water instead of tap water? Weather is cold. I am bit worried about ferementation but will try your tips for the same.

    • says

      thanks beejal. soaking in warm water or hot water does not help really. it would just quicken the time required for soaking. keep the batter in a oven which has been preheated before. switch off the oven and then keep the batter. if the batter does not rise than add 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1 or 2 tbsp yogurt before making the idli. the leavening reaction between the baking soda and yogurt will help to make the idlis fluffier and softer.

  68. Chetan says

    Excellent recipe of Idli – step by step instructions are very useful. I followed this recipe a few weeks ago and the result was fabulous. I am going to make idlis tommorrow and I am very confident that they will come out excellent as I am going to follow the instruction very carefully. Many thanks Dassana.

  69. Rashmi says

    Hi Dassana,

    Thanks a ton for sharing the recipe with us in such great detail with nitty gritties and pictures. I tried the recipe the idli’s came out very soft and tasty.

    Thanks Again.


  70. Deepthi says

    First time I prepared idli’s following ur recipe :) they came out gud.. Since I didn’t use poha , I think the idli’s were not very soft … But it was better than store bought idli batter :)… Thanks for such detailed description of recipe

  71. nabila says

    hi i made idli batter today but my batter especially rice is very fine like suji is that ok . now i have put it to ferment . i am not sure how my idlis will come i have guest coming tomorrow please reply…

  72. Anjali says


    Idlis look great. May I know where did you use parboiled rice?Also if thin or thick poha should be used?


  73. Sreepriya Nitin says

    Hi Dassana your idly recipe is great…i would say it is superb…i tried your recipe today and both dosa and idly are wow….thanks for the tips…may god bless you to make more delicious food…

  74. shruti says

    thanks for the recipe, tried it yesterday, and made the idilis today in the morning…. they turned out just wow!! spongy and big. i forgot to soak methi seeds, so didnt add that in the dough but they are still spongy, next time i shall remember to add that too :)

  75. priya says

    this is a awesome way of preparing idli as step by step thanks for this and i will surly try this coz my idli was so hard when i prepared that.

  76. Heather says


    I don’t live anywhere you can get an idli mold, would it be okay to steam them in a egg poacher or something similar?

    • says

      hi heather, egg poacher would do. even heat and steam resistant steel bowls, smooth individual muffin bowls or ramekins would be fine. just grease them before adding the batter.

  77. Sara says

    Dassana your recipes are very healthy and easy.I like your recipes.Thank you for sharing such great recipes with us.

  78. Harleen says

    Hi Dassana,

    Nice post, what to do if the rice after grinding still remains a bit grainy. My batter after fermentation became thick. Can I add water to make it thinner, would it affect the softness/ fluffyness of the idlis?

    • says

      hi harleen, if the rice is bit grainy its ok. the batter has to be thick but flowing. yes you can add some water. it won’t affect the softness of the idlis unless too much water is added.

  79. Ramesh says

    Hello Dassana,

    This is a fantastic post,one that Inspires (and probably salivates) us to cook!
    The pictures of Idlis and Dosas are mouth watering, to say the least.
    I have cooked idlis and made dosas numerous times in the past, but never regulary;so i always miss the proportion of Rice to urad dal and have to always look up the net.
    I have saved your page in my favourites and probably will reference it for many more times to come .

    Thank you for sharing your tips. Heartily appreciate it.

    best wishes

    PS : I forgot to rate this recipe in my earlier post..doing it now :-)

    • dassana says

      thanks ramesh for this sweet reply as well as rating the recipe.
      looking forward to more honest ratings from you.

  80. Nara says

    Hello, thank you for the recipe! I would like to know what is the wooden box with the carving of the Flower of Life on the photo? thanks!!

    • dassana says

      nara, i think these type of round boxes were used to keep salt, but i am not sure. this is an antique box. they were used at least 50-100 years back but not now.

    • dassana says

      akshay, give it a try. all the recipes posted on this blog are tried and tested. you can also read the comments of other readers on this idli post.

  81. Preetham says

    Hi, I made the idli batter as you have said and it came out awesome. The idli’s made were so good (soft and spongy) I rushed it to my mom and she liked it as well. I used a handful of poha/avalakki and that made all the difference. Thank you so much for sharing this and keep up the excellent work

  82. Frank says

    Hi, I have just finished eating Idili with Sambar and Chutney from here. Absolutly the best.
    Thanks for the post and the pictures.

  83. Reema says

    Hi I just wanted to confirm whether its half cup urad dal to two cups rice or two cups of urad dal to two cups of rice

  84. sheeja says

    hii…i tried to make idilies in pressure cooker but when ever i prepare steam from the lid is spoiling the idilies..its a total disaster seems to be not cooked .can u give me tips to prepare idilys in cooker

    • says

      i hope you are not using the whistle/vent weight on the lid when cooking the idlis in the pressure cooker. hence the steam gets collected. you have to remove the whistle and steam the idlis. the steam passes through the outlet on the lid throughout the entire cooking.

      just add some water in the cooker. place the idli stand. remove the whistle from the lid. cover the lid tightly as you would do when pressure cooking dal or rice. steam the idlis on medium flame. the water should not dry up in the cooker. if the water dries up, add some water and continue to steam in the same way.

      • sheeja says

        thank u for your fast reply …actually i was keeping that whistle over it .i will try tomrw in this method .hope it will come soft and cooked :-)

        also ur blogging is quiet good.because i never seen other bloggers sorting of the queries of the readers . your advice is just like getting from elder sister or mother.keep it up

  85. Sushmita says

    Awesome receipe I was preparing it for first time on hubby s request n they cm out super delicious…..I ws scared as I hv disturbed the batter many times while it was in fermentation process and had put eno in the batter but they turned out super soft I had added two packs while it ws resting n agn before steaming……

    • says

      thanks sushmita. there is no need to add eno if the batter ferments well and doubles up. however eno will help in making the idlis soft and porous.

  86. sushmita says

    Hi this recipe helped me so much I ws mkng idli frm rc n dal for the frst tm on my hubby s demand n the outcm ws soft idli I did one for thing I add two eno powder one after grinding n second while preparing idlis I ws scared whthr it will ferment or not but those were softest idlis I hv ever md wl try dosa tomorrow

  87. Shilpa says

    Hi Dasanna,

    I’ve become a regular follower of your blog. Everything that I have tried from your recipies has turned out just the way you descibed them. I made idlis following all your instructions and they turned out more than perfect. I have never had such super soft, melt in the mouth idlis.

    Thank You once again.

  88. Saili says

    Hi Dassana,

    I have followed your recipe almost word to word; and have reached the step of fermenting the batter.
    I kept away the batter to ferment last evening. Today morning, it has risen and become almost double. But I am having a problem as I do not have to make the idlis immediately. I have to make it tonight, which is atleast 9 hours away. So can I leave the fermented batter undisturbed for another 9 hours or should I store it in the fridge? Will storing it in fridge affect the softness of the idlis?
    Please suggest..

  89. Pranesh says

    Perfect measurements to get soft idli and we got super soft idlies today.
    It’s really an adventure for us after so many attempts.
    Thanks for your help in replying our queries for this recipe.

  90. Divyesh says

    Hi I am leaving in uk and you know temperature is not warm like India so what shall I used to get fermentation in cold weather like -1 , , please let me know thanks

    • says

      you can keep the batter in an oven which has been preheated before. just preheat the oven. then switch off the oven. keep the batter inside the oven. if you have lights in your oven, you can also keep them on. any warm, cozy lighted place in the kitchen will do. you can also wrap the container with warm towels or even keep the batter in a large casserole.

  91. Rebecca says

    Namaste Dassana,

    I would just like to thank you for your wonderful collection of recipes here. I came across your site when I was looking for directions on how to make homemade idli. As an American living in Bangalore, I have found learning how to cook Indian dishes very challenging, but so rewarding when I get them right. I must say that I love the way you write out your recipes, and the lovely photographs add an important touch for learning the steps that I have not found in recipe books. I will be visiting your site often.

    – Rebecca :)

    • says

      hi rebecca. thanks for the appreciation. some indian dishes are pretty complicated. but many of them are simple to make. i agree it is rewarding when one gets the dish right. do browse the blog around in your free time and do try the recipes.

  92. Rini says

    I was just trying to make idli and the mix turned out to be too salty. Can you tell me what to do if the idli mix is too salty?

  93. Pranesh says

    Thanks a ton for your well cleared reply.
    Going to soak it by tomorrow.
    I come again with my feedback on friday.This time
    not going to leave the idly till it comes good.
    Have 3 more queries.
    1. 1/2 tsp methi seeds is level tsp of 2.5 ml right?
    2. What is the one cup measure (in ml) for this recipe
    Given by you that we can add half teaspoon of methiseeds.
    We can see black cup from the picture but not able to come to
    conclusion about the measures. many cups of water can be added in the pressure cooker (for the measure of
    4:1:1/2 (poha), as we got water getting inside the idlys or sometimes
    there is no water atall after sometime of steaming when we tried before.
    Can u guide us?
    These are really basic qns and bachelors like us will be able to make it without mistakes if
    We come to know about this if u guide.
    Thanks and waiting for the reply.

    • says

      i use american cups and spoons measurement equivalents. what you see in the pics, is just a fancy spoon with the methi seeds :-) just for photography’s sake. however the measurements are done by actual measuring spoons and cups.

      1: so 1/2 tsp is approx 2.46 ml
      2: 1 cup is 240 ml
      3: i usually add approx 21/2 to 3 cups water. if the water dries in the process of cooking, then i add more and keep the idlis to steam again. remember not too put the whistle/vent weight on the cooker lid. place the idli mould. cover the cooker tightly with the lid. check after 8-10 minutes. if the idlis are not done and the water dries out, then add more water and continue too cook.

      do give the feedback later.

  94. Pranesh says

    Idlys are all time favourite but unfortunately never turned out good sofar and stopped making it now.
    By looking at your recipe now we got inspired and going to make again soon as the pictorial representation and explanation are excellent from your side.
    As u have mentioned i am going to follow 4 cups of idli rice and 1 cup of whole urid dal.
    Please guide me with the following queries to make it without mistakes.
    1. Can i use thin variety of white poha?
    2.We need poha in cup measures.
    3.Fenu greek seeds to be added in teaspoons measures.

    Sorry for troubling u by asking many qns.

    Thanks again and expecting your reply eagerly.


    • says

      hi pranesh. firstly thanks. your queries answered below:

      1: you can use thin or thick variety of poha
      2: 1/2 cup poha is fine
      3: 1/2 tsp methi seeds

  95. Ekta Jain says

    Thank you soooooooo much for wonderfully presenting idli recipe. I exactly followed steps mentioned by you. Idlis came out so soft and yummy :) Everyone in my family liked it !!!

  96. P.B. Saji says

    Thanks Dassana for the quick reply. Pl. suggest when I have to make the packing after fermentation (in hours) and keep the batter in refrigerator for sale. Also please tell me how many days we can keep the batter in refrigerator for sale and what is the ideal temperature to keep the batter in refrigerator. For packing LD , PP plastic or plastic container (food grade cups) is good?. Thanks once again for your quick and expert opinion.

    • says

      sometimes i have brought readymade idli batter from out. what i have noticed is that in the pack, the batter is still not fermented. so i assume that the packing is done before fermentation. i am not sure though. i would suggest you to ask some local vendors as how they when the batter… before or after fermentation. as i don’t have a business of this type, i cannot help you with your packing and refrigeration queries. best is to ask someone who are already into this business.

  97. Saili says

    Hi Dassana,

    Firstly, the pics are AWESOME! Just by seeing the pics, I feel like making the idli right away!!! really, great pics! My problem is that I have never made idlis at home; and I am going to try your recipe for the first time. I am not sure what parboiled rice is. Does it mean cooked rice? I have normal Basmati rice, which I will use. please tell me what is parboiled rice! I will start making these idlis as soon as you reply!
    Thanks for the great recipe!


    • says

      thanks saili. parboiled rice as the name suggests is rice which has been partially cooked or boiled in the husk. they are then dried and then husked. they are also called as ukda chawal in hindi. parboiled rice is easily available in the western and southern states of india. see if you can get parboiled rice where you live. if you cannot, then you can use sona masoori rice along with basmati rice to make the idlis.

  98. P.B. Saji says

    Dear Dassana,
    Please suggest a small and good wet grinder machine suitable for making 3 to 5 kgs of rice for making idli / dosa batter on a daily basis for business in Delhi. Your post is very helpful and encouraging. Thanks Dassana.

  99. P.B. Saji says

    Dear Dassana,
    Your post is very good. Pics are very very good. Pl. tell me why little yellowish colour is on idli’s. Also pl. tell me a combination for making batter with 1kg rice.
    pl. suggest the best from the following combinations for good idli batter:-
    (1) Raw-rice (pachari) and urud dal
    (2) Idli rice and urud dal
    (3) Idli rice, raw-rice (pachari ) and urud dal?.
    which combination is good for idli batter?. This is for a small business venture.

    • says

      dear pb saji, thanks. i don’t see any yellowish color on the idlis. 1 kg of rice would be approx 5 cups of rice.

      so, the following proportions would be fine:
      – with Idli rice, raw-rice (pachari ) and urad dal combination:
      4 cups raw rice
      1 & 1/4 cup idli rice
      1 & 1/4 cup urad dal

      – with Raw-rice (pachari) and urad dal combination:
      5 cups rice
      2 cups urad dal

      – with Idli rice and urad dal combination:
      5 cups idli rice
      1 & 2/3 cup urad dal

      i have made idlis will all the above three combinations. however the best texture and taste i got from the raw rice, idli rice and urad dal combination.

      i did ask some of my friends for a good idli grinder and they suggested to invest in prestige or ultra brand of grinder. prestige has stopped their model. ultra has grinders in different capacities. you will have to check if they have grinder which can grind 3-5 kgs of rice. when i had checked, i had seen grinders grinding 1kg or 2kg idli batter. if not, then you will have to look out for a commercial grinder.

  100. vani says

    Hi i live in nottingham uk ..i used 5 cups of idli rice, 2 cups of split urad dhal ( whole urad dhal is not available in my place) and 2 tsps of fenugrk…i kept it for 8-9 hrs in a warm place but ma dosa is yellow in colour..plz help me

    • says

      the proportion of rice and urad dal is alright. amount of fenugreek is a little much. 1 tsp would have been fine. not sure why the yellow color, but i guess its due to the extra fenugreek.

    • says

      i am afraid, you cannot use liquidiser for grinding. you can grind the batter in a mixer-grinder or in a wet grinder. in india, the mixers that are sold have an attachment and blade for grinding heavy batters like idli or dosa.

  101. Abhi says

    I’ve never seen an article which is this much lengthier for just an “IDLY” very nice photographs indeed, also described beautiful art of words. You did an awesome job by teaching us (as called the amateurs of newly married life).My wife and me enjoyed reading this article kept us busy for over an hour and made Idli’s the same way came out very nicely thank you.

  102. Rajesh President Fort Katta says

    Thank u Dassana… it’s simply great n i like this , this tip has brought me a nice compliment from my family as well as in friends circle.
    thanks a lot…


  103. says

    I lost interest in Idlies from the time i was 10 years old because my mom used to make really hard & stone-faced idlies more or less everyday as breakfast. From then on, i never ate or prepared idli at home.
    But im gonna ask my mom(yes me too) to follow the steps that you have jotted down to make soft idlies, Thanks Divya!!
    Also, I had no clue that Poha can be added to make idlies.

  104. Nipa says

    can you help me with the receipe of making medu vada, if you have one.
    With your advice and GOD’s grace, i have got the consistency in the idli / dosa batter. Thanks a ton.

  105. TLT says

    I use only pachari, uzhunu , boiled rice and fenugreek seeds . With these ingredients can you tell me the proportion please.

    • says

      you can make the idlis with the same proportion as mentioned in the recipe – 1 cup pachari/white rice, 1 cup boiled rice, 1/2 cup uzhunu/urad dal and 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds.

  106. Sam says

    hands down the best idli I ever made!
    I did add a pinch or two of bakers yeast because I was scared that midwest US winters won’t let it ferment. Next time I will try without it. They came out soft and melt in the mouth delicious. I have pinned your recipe too
    thanks again

  107. Nipa says

    Hi dassana,
    I have the same issue. My idlis also rise but as soon as I remove them from the gas, it again becomes flat. The softness is there, white colour is also there. I am also having the rice paste which is too thick, let me try tomorrow with little more water and check out. i use idli rice (2 cups ) and pacheri rice (1 cup). Idli rice grinds only to the rava consistency whereas pacheri rice grids very fine smoot paste, so I grind idli rice and then pacheri rice.
    Else all is fine
    Thanks a ton again for this recipie but still need your expert advice for the same

    • says

      hi nipa, do try by adding some more water and let me know. not sure why the idli rice grinds to a rava consistency. actually the rice should be grind to a find consistency. i hope you have started your business venture.

      • Nipa says

        Dear Dassana,

        yes, I have started this small business of selling idli/dosa batter. I do sell 1-2 kgs per day as of now as more poeple are not aware about the same.
        I had order for 6 kgs, that time I soaked for 3 hours dal and rice, but to get fermentation fast (especially when you have bulk order and less time), please advise.
        Idli became little hard as I soak at 9:30 a.m., grind at 12:30 noon and had to pack and deliver at 8:00 p.m.
        I need your advise for fast fermentation only when I have bulk order, otherwise, if I keep for 14-18 hours as it is winter now, the idlis come out very soft and smooth.
        Do reply.
        Thanks a ton again to bosst my confidence.

        • says

          thats great nipa. i wish you all the best in your venture.

          for faster fermentation, without changing any flavor or taste in the batter you could keep in a warm place like inside a lit oven or in the warm corner of your kitchen. you can even keep the batter in a casserole if the batter is less in quantity. wrapping the batter container with towel or a thick woolen cloth or shawl also helps in faster fermentation in the winters.

          another technique is to use a starter to ferment the batter. preserve some of the fermented batter (fermentation starter) in a small bowl in the refrigerator. then to the freshly ground rice-urad dal batter add the starter. the fermentation will be somewhat a little quicker than allowing the batter to ferment on its own. this will take less time. i have never tried this method though, but being a food science student i know it works. for 1 kg of batter you can add approx 1/2 to 1 tbsp of the starter. i would not suggest adding yeast etc as it will change the taste and flavor of the idlis completely.

  108. Patrick says

    We are having trouble with our idlis. They are falling during the cooking instead of rising.
    The beans are grinding well, until a drop of it floats in water. The fermentation is OK, the batter doubles overnight and smells slightly sour.
    The rice does not seem to be grinding correctly. We are using Indian parboiled rice and grinding it in a Vitamix blender. It is getting too pasty and taking a lot of water. Do you grind all the rice at once or do you do it in partial batches? What is the proportion of water to soaked rice at the start of the grinding?
    Thank you, Patrick

    • says

      hi patrick, the rice does become paste like while grinding. some rice types do take a lot of water while grinding. i think the amount of water added to the whole batter is less than what it should be, hence the idlis are not rising. so try adding some more water.

      if the rice proportion is in less quantity, then i grind it once or else i grind in batches. it is difficult to give the exact proportion of water added before grinding. i can just tell you that the rice batter should not be thick or thin. so accordingly you can add water.

  109. Priyanthi Silva says

    Hi Dassana,

    Many thanks for this recipe. I made it (both iddli and thosai ) yesterday and they came out perfectly. I have been searching for an iddli and thosai recipes for ages and have tried many but none worked out. This is the best. I won’t be buying prepackaged mixes again.
    One small problem I had was that the iddli stuck to the molds. I just rubbed a very small amount of oil with my finger as I don’t want to use too much oil. Also it was olive oil. Any suggestions on this?
    Again many thanks for the recipe with all the detailed pictures. It was so easy to make. I have put another batch to soak today.

  110. Neha says

    Thanks a lot,
    Your recipes are very easy to learn as its step by step and with pics.
    M.imp your way of explaining seems to be a friend or sister teaching personally.
    I am enjoying all your blogs.

    Thank you

  111. Nipa says

    I also tried your idlis and they came up very well. Thanks a ton for this receipe. You made my day.
    But one thing, I want to ask though I kept the remaining unused batter in the fridge, still it became sour, please guide me on this. I soak the rice and urad dal for 5 hours and leave it for ferment 8 hours, is this right?

    • says

      thanks nipa. soaking for 4-5 hours is alright and fermenting time is also alright. i used to have this issue of batter becoming sour but now it does not happen. what you do is you take the required amount of batter you need for making the idli or dosa and then keep the remaining covered in the fridge. when you want to make next time, again take the required amount of batter in another bowl and keep the rest again in the fridge. if you use the same bowl or pan for making the idli or dosa and then the souring happens. even i don’t know the exact reason for this. but this method works for me.

  112. anu says

    hi dassana, tried your bhel puri at home …it was great. now since i am from tamil nadu i would like to say that we dont make idly from basmati rice,we use idly rice .ratio of the rice to the urad dal should be 5:1.fenugreek can be used.

    • says

      i know anu, in south they don’t make idlis from basmati rice. but if you have lived in the north, then it is not easy to get idli rice there. so the only option is to make idli with some other variety of rice or basmati rice. when i was living in north india, i have made idlis with basmati rice :-)

      thanks for sharing the ratio too. the ratio depends from a person to person and what works out with them in the given temperature conditions. personally i have never tried 5:1 ratio and i am going to try this soon.

    • says

      since i have added red parboiled rice, the idlis will obviously be not white. just use the white colored parboiled rice or idli rice. then the idlis will be white :-)

  113. Sara says

    Oh, finally I feel like I have the key to making good idli! Thank you so much, and the pictures are super helpful.

    One VERY IMPORTANT question that I have for you – how much water to put in the pressure cooker when you steam them? And do you set the idli pan directly on the bottom of the pan, or on a triveet?

    • says

      thanks sara. you can add so much water with a gap of about 1.5 inches between the water and the lower idli mould rack. i generally don’t use a trivet. but you can use it… no issues there.

  114. hemlata says

    I always wanted to know the secret of fermenting the dosa batter .with all your tips you have no idea how happy i am …………………….i w’ll try soon.dear dassana,can you please send some tips to ferment the batter for khaman (chana dal+yogurt) please. now i feel like your my cook book guru thank you so much.

    • says

      thanks for your lovely words hemlata. the fermentation process works in the same way. i have never ever made dhokla by fermenting the batter. i usually make the instant dhokla. but i will give a try to make the dhokla by fermenting the batter.

    • says

      i think technically both rices are parboiled and then husked. but boiled rice is eaten as rice with sambar, curries in kerala & karnataka. conjee or pej as we call it is also made from boiled rice. it is usually thick and reddish brown in appearance. whereas parboiled rice is used to make idlis, dosa and is white or creamish in appearance. the rice that i have used in this recipe is a variety of goan boiled rice.

  115. smita dasgupta says

    I made idlis last sunday. idlis were so soft and tasty. i tried it first time as per your recipe and it was superb





  118. says

    I love idlis but really suck at making them. This post is so well done. I love the step by step method. Your idlis look awesome! Going to try this recipe for sure. Thanks for the recipe.

  119. pinky says

    pls also tell me proper ratio of idli rava with urad dal and for without parboiled rice can we make normal rice like sona masori only or kolom rice for idli nd dosas, nd for rava idli also plsssss.

    • says

      dear pinky

      you can use the foll ratios:

      2 cups idli rava
      1/2 cup urad dal or 3/4 cup urad dal
      1/4 cup poha

      you can make idlis or dosa with regular rice varieties like sona masoori or kolam. our maid which i have mentioned in the post above would make the soft idlis with kolam rice. even i have made soft idlis and dosa both with sona masoori and kolam.

          • pinky sharma says


            thanks, i made idli and dosas as per ur recipes , both were very very nice , i was so happy
            that at last i made good idly and dosa and whole credit goes to u dassana, first i was depressed when i saw my batter which was not so fermented as i expected but then i tried both nd both were good.
            hey dassana i took 2nd half cup of normal rice nd 1 cp of urad dal ,1 cup poha and little bit methi seeds , may be cause of this ratio my batter did not fermented as i expected is this so pls tell me.

            • says

              dear pinky

              nice to know that both idlis & dosas were good.

              the proportion of rice and urad dal is alright. but the quantity of poha is more. just a handful of poha is needed to make the idlis soft. at the most you can add 1/2 cup poha.

  120. says

    I lived in Hyd for almost 9 years and every single morning, we would eat Idli for breakfast. We had a cook who made the softest idlis. That was when I was not interested in cooking. LOL ! so never asked her how she did it. Now that I have your recipe, I know how to do it :) I love your descriptive posts and beautiful photography.

    • says

      thanks ansh. i too lived in hyderabad for some time. used to have excellent idlis there from a joint. don’t remember the name. i cannot forget the chutney they would serve with the idlis. i am still figuring out the ingredients that go into that chutney.

  121. Suhas says

    Pls share receipe on how to make Chida which we eat during fasts with lots of potato sticks, nuts, chillis & caster sugar etc what we call farali chivda.


  122. says

    Those idlis look super soft.. I should give the plain idlis a try.. mine are never as perfect.. just about edible:)
    luckily i married into a marwari family and so if something doesnt come out as perfect, it is discounted to the fact that I wouldnt know the basics of marwari cooking and anything punjabi works out well too, coz there arent any authentic versions around they can compare it to 😉

    • says

      you must post some marwari dishes. i had a few marwari students and they would get the best of marwari rajasthani food like ker sangri, gatte ki sabzi, mango pickle with the berries.

  123. suhani says

    i make idlis the same way with the same ingredients..only difference is that i put salt after fermentation is complete i.e. when i make idlis..

  124. says

    What lovely pics, useful tips and detailed recipe you have on this post Dassana!

    I have always made my idlis from idli rawa and they were just good, and now I know the secret to making the best idlis ever. Thank you!

  125. says

    hey dassana, my baby loves idlis but i am yet to master the art of making idlis :) i have a friend who suggested using idli rice… incase i m using idli rice what should be my measurements? your idlis looks really nice & soft! wonderful post.

    • says

      thanks beena. if you are using idli rice, then there is no need to add regular rice. 2 cups of idli rice with 1/2 cup of urad dal would be fine.

  126. says

    Wonderful post Dassana and the pics are making me drool. I have watched my mom make idlis a million times and I would even grind the batter when I was at home, but I’ve never had any success with idlis. I always curse the weather here, but I’ve no clue if i’m doing something wrong. I would love to try this, is the parboiled rice absolutely necessary?

    • says

      thanks poornima. the parboiled rice makes the idlis softer and fluffier. it is not absolutely necessary. you can still make idlis with regular rice or idli rava. i don’t make idlis with idli rava as i don’t like the taste and texture.

      for cold temperatures, this is what i used to do:

      1: preheat the oven and then switch it off.
      2: snuggly wrap and cover the batter container in a warm thick kitchen towel and place it in the oven.
      3: the batter would ferment nicely.

      but then indian winters are much different than american winters. yet keeping the batter in a warm place does help it to ferment. probably you might have keep to the batter for a long period of time.

  127. Suhas says

    Thanks for a detailed post. your efforts r commendable, I am avid fan of your receipes but never make comments just for the sake of making but always appreciate the way you take pain as things are not as easy as it looks but you make it with elaborate pictures & explanations.

    pls keep up good work

    • says

      thanks suhas. things are not easy sometimes as you have said, especially when photographing food. but i enjoy these moments of cooking and clicking.

  128. VZ says


    What if I want to make the idlis using only the basmati rice?what would be the proportions in that case?can i replace the parboiled rice with the basmati rice?

    • says

      yes vidhi, you can replace the parboiled rice with basmati rice or any regular rice. but just increase the proportion of urad dal to 3/4 cup. the overall proportions would be:

      2 cups basmati rice/regular rice
      3/4 cup urad dal
      1/4 cup poha

  129. says

    nothing is better than a soft idly with a bit spicy , loads of coconut, tempered along chana dal & garlic. to die for =). by this u can say I am the die heart fan of Idili and extra coconut chutney.
    Lovely pics :)

  130. says

    The idli’s look so damn tempting, I and my kids have one South Indian meal almost daily, we are a big South Indian food freaks. I have to now try your Idli recipe version soon, I use urad dal and rice combo with methi seeds or else I now use Idli rawa with urad dal to make the batter as feel it’s easier and the Idlis also come out fluffy and too soft…I liked the first click too much…idlis in a row, all ready to be picked up one by one :)!

    • Kamini says

      HI ,,I Tried this and very happy to inform you that the idlis are really very soft,and especially loved the dosas, the dosas are absolutely wonderful.

      the day we tried this,we have stopped bringing ready flour.

      Thanks for the recepie dear

      Kamini Paradkar

        • Binita Patwal says

          Hi Dassana, thanks for sharing the recipe. I just have one query that usually when I make idli’s I add baking soda in the batter for fermentation, will it ferment even if I dont add baking soda in it ?? Pls suggest

            • Binita Patwal says

              Thanks for your reply.. would like to know one more thing that during winters is it advisable to store the batter for fermenting in preheated microwave or oven?

            • Murlikrishna says

              Thanks for very informative post. Can you advise me on the following:
              * Maximum shelf life of idli batter – till how many day batter would continue to give soft idlis.
              * What is the best packaging for batter
              * Planning a commercial production for idli batter
              * Can you suggest suitable machinery in bangalore / coimbatore.
              Thanks in advance

              • says

                – since the batter i make at home is well fermented, it stays for about 3 to 4 days. but i tend to finish up the batter in 2 to 3 days. the commercial batters are not that well fermented, so they stay for a longer period of time.
                – what i have seen outside, is that they use plastic. but i am not the best person to advise on this.
                – i do not know of any place in bangalore and coimbatore where industrial wet grinders are available. but i think you should be able to get them easily there.