Idli ~ South Indian Rice Cakes

3. Idlis


If there is a meal that I am assured my kids will wipe clean, then it is idlis with a simple white coconut chutney. Now those who are Indians, will already know what is an idli, and somehow, idli seems to be making its way into the culinary “hall of fame” for its simplicity! 😉 As usual, Wiki has its share of information about idli, so you can go ahead and read it… That is in case you don’t know what is an idli… 🙂


I used to always shy away from making idlis at home. I preferred having them from restaurants, especially our favorite vegetarian eatery called Sangeetha’s in Qusais. The kids would order and eat them as if there is no tomorrow and that is when I thought I must be mastering the art of making this at home. If the soaking, grinding and fermenting times are taken into account, it is actually a breeze to make. Normally, the batter is ground in the big grinder which makes it really smooth, but since we are a small family, I rely on my trusted Premier’s big jar to do the trick. The batter may be a little grainy, but it doesn’t affect the overall texture of the idli. Moreover, this method requires us to use more urad dal vs rice in proportion. There are so many recipes already floating on the net, which can make one seriously confused. But ever since Dyuthi advised me this proportion, I have been using it and I love how extra soft the idli becomes. The kids enjoy it so much that they carry in their tiffin the very next day too! 🙂 Since I make idlis for dinner, I start the preparation the day night by soaking the rice and urad daal, and then grind the batter in the morning by waking up 15 minutes earlier – which I really hate, but do it for the sake of the kids! 😀 – and leave it to ferment in the undisturbed house till I get back from work. 🙂


3. I1


Posted on this day:


2014: Pepper Mutton Curry

2015: Chickpeas Pomegranate Salad


Idli ~ South Indian Rice Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Malabar
Serves: 4
  • 1½ cup plan rice (pachari)
  • ¾ cup split urad daal
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the plain rice very well. Soak in lots of water overnight.
  2. Similarly wash the urad daal and soak along with the fenugreek separately overnight.
  3. Next day morning, in your big jar of any Indian mixer (Prithi, Premier, etc.), drain out the rice and grind it to a thick batter adding very little water, to as smooth as possible. It may be slightly grainy but that's OK. Pour into a large saucepan.
  4. Next, add the drained urad daal along with the fenugreek and grind to a smooth batter adding a little water.
  5. Pour this ground daal mixture into the rice mixture and mix well with hand. You can use a ladle but mixing with hand will speeden up the fermentation process.
  6. Close and keep in a warm place for around 8 hours to ferment.
  7. Once fermented - you can recognize it by a yeasty smell and swollen texture - add salt to taste and mix well.
  8. Keep your idli steamer with water on the stove and grease your cooking plates well. Pour little into each hole and steam for around 10-12 minutes on meduim flame.
  9. Take out the plates, leave to cool slightly before taking out with a spoon into your hotpot. Keep covered till serving.
  10. Serve warm with hot sambaar and chutney! Yum...





  1. says

    Not another one! 😛 just kidding… I learnt making idlis in Yanbu the hard way as we dont have lulu to give the batter packet! 😀 well my proportions are totally diff and I really feel every recipe is just a guideline and one has to go through trial and test before settling with what works best! Photography 😉 who is holding it? Azza I guess.
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    • Rafeeda AR says

      Haha… I thought the same thing while posting! 😉 I guess for different people, different proportions depending on where you stay and your conditions too… 🙂 Thanks a lot Fami…

    • Rafeeda AR says

      Same here too Razina… I am also lazy to make them since they involve a lot of time… Thanks a lot Razina…

  2. says

    Hello Rafeeda,

    If I start listing my do and don’t in a cold country for Idli it would simply amaze you. Getting a well fermented batter in low temperatures is a trick. But I am glad you have found a good proportion for soft idlis which is like a soul food. Happy Cooking!!

    • Rafeeda AR says

      That is so true Roy… my sister tells the same thing, how frustrating it is to make idlis and dosas during the winter… Thank you so much dear…

  3. says

    Idlis sounds like a very interesting recipe specially that your kids are crazy about so I need to try this for mine too. Thanks for shariing.


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