Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Making of Soft Idlis

Idlis - most well associated as the breakfast of the south Indians. Being easy to make and also being the most frequently prepared breakfast at home, there are only countable number of days that these are not found, either in the form of idlis or dosa or uttappam or anything that could be made with this batter. Well, now you may think that what is so special about this recipe. Its very easy to make idli batter by grinding the correct ratio of rice and urad dal. But the differentiating factor is whether you can make, them soft and non sticky, consistently.

It makes my day, if the previous night I would have ground the Idli batter or Appam batter and the next morning I find it perfectly risen, to indulge in soft Idli/Appam. There were days when we used to buy idli batter from shops. But gone are those days. Now, not only do we make it at home, but I have been lucky to get the batter risen perfectly every single time I make it. So I guess I have nailed it and would love to share the steps that I do take, to make soft and spongy idlis.

Do follow the steps and I hope you too would get it right and enjoy soft idlis :)


  1. 3 cups of idli rice/white rice
  2. 1 cup of urad dal
  3. 1 tsp of Fenugreek seeds/uluva
  4. 2 Hand full of cooked rice
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Water as required to grind them into paste
  7. 1 tsp of ghee/oil

  • Wash and soak the idli rice in a bowl for 7-8 hours.
  • In another bowl, wash and soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds for 7-8 hours.
  • Grind the urad dal and fenugreek seeds, with just enough water to form a fine paste.
  • Now, grind the rice(both raw rice and cooked rice). This would require more water when compared to urad dal. Pour the water little by little in equal interval as and when you think that your grinder is not taking up the load. However, do not make the batter too watery.
  • Mix both the urad and rice batter and leave it to ferment. For me, it usually takes 8-10 hrs.
  • Batter rises up as it ferments and makes it airy. Mix the salt, as per taste.
  • Grease the scoops of the idli maker with ghee preferably or oil. Pour out the batter into it and steam it in a idli cooker.
  • Cook it on medium heat for about 12-15 mins or untill they are fully cooked.
  • Serve it hot with coconut chutney/sambar or both.
  • Yields around 25-30 idlis.  

  • The consistency of the batter would determine, how well the idlis turn out to be. Hence, you should be very careful about the amount of water you use while making the batter.
  • The time taken for the batter to ferment may vary with the temperature at the place that you are at. To make the fermentation quicker, you could leave the batter in an oven with its light on/preheat the oven and switch off and leave it in the oven. You could place the batter by the side of the stove, so that the batter gets little warmth while you are cooking on the stove. I usually grind it in the evening and leave it by the side of the stove. Overnight, I get lucky and see a perfectly risen batter in the morning.
  • If you have an idli maker, made of steel, like I do, then it really gets sticky. To scoop out the idlis clean and with ease, turn each plate of the idli maker and let running water pour over it to cool a bit. Then dip the spoon in drinking water and scoop out each idli. They would come out clean. Also, removing the idlis as soon as it is done helps to remove if faster and also to retain its softness.


  1. Soft and spongy idlis....very nicely explained

  2. So well explained dear! I always struggle with my idlis... the kids love them but I just don't have the courage to make them at home! Just going through your recipe I am reminded I do have some cooked rice in the fridge and maybe this weekend is a good opportunity to make some idlis... :)

    1. Try it Rafee...if ur kids love it then u should definitely try it... it is good for kids.

  3. Soft and spongy idlis for breakfast...

  4. wow lovely post anu:)soft idlis.

  5. Such beautiful idlis really well captured too. I would have loved the steam in the cooked one but then idli always happens in the rush hour so I have never been able to take pics even once leave alone the steam :)

    1. I thought about clicking pics only because the father and son decided to wake up late on a weekend :)...never thought of clicking the steam for idlis...but now that my kitchen is east facing (worst for summers as it gets too hot) every time I make tea I think of getting it clicked but by then it is rush hour for me :)..

  6. wonderful..idly looks soft and fluffy...

  7. super soft and spongy idlis,perfectly nailed and nicely explained post,Anupa...tempting clicks,vishakunne :D

  8. Beautiful clicks and super soft idlis........u r tempting me to make these spongy idlis..... :)

  9. Wow, Pakaharam!

    I can see that these idlis are so soft and fluffy. You have made them very well :D


  10. Idlis look nice, soft and spongy !

  11. so soft and healthy breakfast.. love this anytime

  12. Anupa, you havent mentioned when to add the cooked rice in the recipe. Is it after the fermentation or just when you let the batter sit down for fermentation?

    Idlis do look very fluffy and I am intrigued to try :)

    1. Thanks Nupur for pointing it out... I have edited the recipe... Basically, you will have to grind both raw rice and cooked rice together while making the batter.

  13. Add four or five curry leaves to that quantity of ingredients and grind them together. The softening effect will be enhanced and taste will be improved.


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