Idli recipe - How to make soft idli
           For who knows  grinding and making idlies,this post may be silly,as its not a big deal for those who are used to it. But I have some friends and I know so many who have never made or seen some one making, and want to try out at home,for them its really a big big project for them. Even, before I started doing this regularly, I found it very complicated and took some time for getting the correct method of grinding and everything. But now its no big deal for me…Not only this,everything right from cooking, if we see from outside, or if we are just learners,it seems to be a big task and it will be looking more complicated,but if we do regularly, by practice, everything becomes so easy and perfect! Its all about experience… For me before marriage,I found all these grinding and mixing works found to be messy (especially the batter mixing process and washing the grinderSick)and I have told my mom many times that, In my life I would never do this, rather I will keep a servant to make all these messy things……and nowSigh… Tongue

Idli recipe - soft idli authentic way
            Hope I could cover the doubts we get,during this idly making process. All the experts out there,please dont waste your time :) this is purely for beginners! And if you have any doubt in this process,please feel free to write to me in the Email ID that you can find in my blogger profile! By posting this,I am not assuring that I am an expert in making Idlies, just posting what I know,How I do Nerd.

Idli recipe

Prep Time30 mins + soaking time 3 hrs    |  Cook time: 10 mins    


Idli rice3 cups
Whole urad dal (without skin)/Ulundhu1/2 cup(adjust according to the quality)
Fenugreek seeds/vendhayam1/2 tsp
Wateras needed
SaltAs needed (3 & 3/4 tsp)

Idly rice is different from the regular rice. Idly rice is parboiled rice and it looks shorter and stouter than the ordinary rice we use for eating.

I got a request from one of my reader friend to show the measuring cups I use,so here is it, 1 cup holds 250 ml.(only for this post) 

1cup,1/2 cup,1/3 cup,1/4 cup,1/8 cup



  1. Wash and soak rice separately and urad dal + fenugreek seeds for  3 hrs at least.
  2. I grind urad dal first,but my MIL says if ground in larger quantity,urad dal batter,if ground and kept first has tendency to become watery. But as I grind only 1/2 cup , I grind Urad dal first.(Its because,if we grind rice lastly,its easy to wash Tonguethe grinder )
  3. The following steps are only the water quantity and the time it took for the urad dal I have,so take it as a rough idea and use water accordingly and grind till you get a smooth batter!
  4. Drain water from urad dal ,add it to the grinder and start it. Add 1/2 cup water and grind for 4-5 minutes. Add 1/2 more cup of water. Stand near by and use the plastic spatula to wipe the dal ,ensure no dal or fenugreek seeds gets stuck to the side walls of the grinder container.1-idli-step-by-step
  5. After 4-5 minutes,add 1/4 cup of water and grind for 10minutes, for every 4 minutes or so, sprinkle water as needed.(Will need roughly 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup water more depending upon the quality of dal). The batter will be light, fluffy and have micro bubbles when seen keenly.2-idli-step-by-step
  6. Total time for urad dal batter = 20 – 25 minutes approximately and total water = 1 & 1/2  to 1& 3/4 cups approximately(for 1/2 cup). (water quantity and the volume of the batter depends upon the quality if the urad dal,better the quality of the dal, it will get more water while grinding and becomes light and fluffy,still stiff and white in colour!) If your urad dal is not a good quality,the batter will become watery and it will not be white comparatively.
  7. Collect the ground urad dal batter in a big container, that is enough to hold the raising fermented batter the next day.
  8. Now drain the water in the rice and add the rice little by little while your wet grinder is running(this is to avoid the grinder getting stuck because of over loading). Add 1/2 + 1/2 cup water in between while you add all the soaked rice little by little.Grind for 4-5 minutes and again make sure no whole rice stuck in the sides of the grinder container. Use the spatula. Add 1/2 more cup of water and grind till it is smooth or a little coarse(whichever consistency you prefer,I personally grind smooth). Add more water if its needed. It takes about 25-30 mins approximately. Time may vary,check it out.3-idli-step-by-step
  9. Transfer this rice batter to the urad dal batter and add salt and mix well with your hands.4-idli-step-by-step
  10. Keep closed in a warm place for fermenting minimum of 12-14 hrs. I soak around 1.00 PM,grind around 4.00 PM and keep over night and make idly for the morning break fast. The next day morning it will be fermented and raised in quantity. A well fermented batter gives,soft and tasty Idlies. Hope you can see the batter raised and see the batter standing stiff like a foam.5-idli-batter
  11. The consistency should be like this to get a spongy soft idli. If its heavy and not fluffy and light, then idlies also will turn hard.I have my Idly pot given by my MIL,its gives soft idlies which after getting cold too doesn't form a layer(dry).6-idli
  12. I use cloth in it to cook the idlies, you can make with the ordinary idli cooker too. When you use idli plate without cloth in the idli cooker,grease the idli plates with sesame oil before pouring the batter. After it gets cooked, you have to take it out and let it sit for 2 minutes so that the idli comes out without sticking to the plate. Steaming idli will take around 8-10 minutes.7-idli-homemade
         My kid loves both idli and dosa. This batter is perfect for making idli, dosa and uthappam too. For making dosa, you have to spoon required amount of batter and mix little(very little) water and mix well. Then make dosa. This is for even spreading and to get golden brown dosa! Here is a video to help. 
                                    Here’s my dosa with sambar, Mint chutney, and Idli podi :)


Some Notes:
  • You can only test the quality of urad dal by grinding it,so if the first time you dont get volume and the idly turns hard,next time just increase the quantity,for me I usually add double the amount mentioned if its not a good quality.(Add more water while grinding,even if it becomes bit more watery).
  • If the urad dal quality is not so good,You can soak either sago or aval/poha/rice flakes 1/4 cup,along with rice which makes idlies more softer. Also adding a fist full of cooked rice while you grind rice makes idly softer.
  • Even if you buy a good quality urad dal,it will give you more volume only for 2-3 months,old dal won't give volume..So dont buy in bulk and keep. 
  • Cooking time of the idlies just differs,it depends on the size of the idly pot,approximately 8-12 minutes.. Mine is a tiny with only two plates,so it takes hardly 5 mins :)
  • Don’t stir the batter when you make idlies.
  • I make first two days idlies (after we keep in fridge,the batter raised will again shrink a bit in volume),and the remaining batter dosa,utappam or paniyaram…
  • The batter if you grind in proper way,will be light and frothy,which gives you a soft idly. If the batter itself is heavy,then you get idlies in harder side. That means you have to add more water in urad dal batter next time you grind.
  • Make sure to grind the rice batter not too watery.

Post a Comment