Idli recipe with lots of tips and suggestions so that you can make soft and fluffy idli easily. This idli recipe post also details the method of making idli batter. It is a popular Indian breakfast which is filling as well as nutritious.
½cupwater for grinding urad dal or add as required
¾ to 1cupwater for grinding rice or add as required
1teaspoonrock salt or sendha namak (edible and food grade) or sea salt
oil as required to apply to the idli moulds
2.5cupswater for steaming idli
soaking rice and dal
Pick and rinse both the regular rice and parboiled rice.
Rinse the poha and add to the rice.
Add water. Mix well. Cover and keep the rice + poha to soak for 4 to 5 hours.
In a separate bowl, rinse the urad dal and methi seeds a couple of times.
Soak the urad dal with methi seeds separately in water for 4 to 5 hours.
making idli batter
Drain the soaked urad dal. Reserve the water.
Grind the urad dal, methi seed with ¼ cup of the reserved water for some seconds. Then add remaining ¼ cup water. Grind till you get a smooth and fluffy batter.
Remove the urad dal batter in a bowl and keep aside.
Grind the rice in batches to make a smooth batter.
Mix both the batters together in a large bowl or pan. Add salt and mix well.
Cover and let the batter ferment for 8 to 9 hours or more if required.
After the fermentation process is over, the idli batter will become double in size and rise.
Grease the idli moulds.
Pour the batter in the moulds and steam the idli in a pressure cooker or steamer.
If using pressure cooker remove the vent weight (whistle).
Steam for 12 to 15 mins or until the idli is done.
Serve the steaming hot idli with coconut chutney and sambar.
Remaining batter can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
For regular rice variety - you can use sona masuri rice or parmal rice or basmati rice.
Fermentation is one of the main factors to get soft, light and fluffy idli. Fermentations tips for winters listed below.
Warmth: Place the idli batter bowl in a warm place – e.g near a heater or in a warm place in your kitchen.
Oven: Preheat your oven at a low temperature (80 to 90 degrees celsius) for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then switch off the oven, keep the batter bowl inside and close the door.
Lights in the oven: If your oven has lights, then keep the lights on and place the batter inside.
Sugar: Adding a bit of sugar does help in fermenting the batter. In this recipe you can easily add upto 1 teaspoon sugar and don't worry - the idli won't be sweet.
Salt: During winters, skip adding salt to the idly batter as salt retards the fermentation process. Rock salt and sea salt are good options to add in the idli batter.
Fermentation time in cold winters: In winters, keep the batter for a longer time to ferment, like 14 to 24 hours or more. Do remember that even if you do not see the batter doubled or tripled, you should see tiny bubbles in the batter. You should also get the typical faint sour fermented aroma from the idli batter.
Instant Yeast: You can even add ¼ to ½ tsp of instant yeast (dissolved in 2 to 3 teaspoons of water) 30 to 45 minutes before you steam the idli. But do this method when the batter has not fermented well. The negatives of this method is that you have to use all the batter at once. Even refrigerating this batter makes it very yeasty and sour.
Baking Soda: You can also add ¼ to ½ baking soda and then ferment the batter in cold seasons.
Fenugreek seeds: Addition of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) also helps in fermentation.
Urad dal batter consistency: Urad dal has to be ground really well. Urad dal batter has to be soft, light and fluffy. So I suggest to grind both urad dal and rice separately to get soft and fluffy idli. A well ground urad dal batter also helps in fermentation. Also use urad dal which is fresh and within its shelf-life. Aged urad dal does not ferment well and makes the idli dense.
Amount of water: Do remember to add the right amount of water in the batter. If the water is less, then the idli will become dense.
Fermenting idli batter in Instant Pot: Press the yogurt option and use the less mode. Place a small trivet in the IP steel insert. Keep the bowl with the batter on the trivet. Keep the vent position to venting or you can use the Instant Pot glass lid. Set the time for 7 to 8 hours. On warmer days, the batter will ferment quickly. On colder days, it may take a few more hours for the batter to ferment in the Instant Pot.