Rice idli

Here is my recipe for south Indian breakfast staple… soft idlis. My recipe contains minimal amounts of ingredients and gives best results guaranteed. The only catch is the fermentation process, which is quite simple. You need to maintain temperature range between 22 to 30 degree Celsius. The next important thing is steaming. Always use high flame to make idlis, and ensure enough water in the steamer.

Rice idli

An extremely popular south indian dish, regarded as one of the most easily digestible and healthy item

  • 300 grams rice (the preferred varity is idli rice, but it is not availabe easily other than south indina region, you can use any rice if it is not available.)
  • 100 grams urad dhuli
  • salt to taste
  • oil or ghee to grease
  1. wash rice and dal thoroughly 2-3 times and keep separately soaked in water for about 4 hours

  2. using wet grinder first grind rice to very small grains, remove it in a bowl. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes. You will need to keep adding water in very small quantities every 3 to 4 minutes, as the consistency thickens. The ultimate consistency should be of toothpaste.

  3. remove rice in a large bowl preferably 4 times the amount of rice and urad dal paste, now grind urad dal for another 20 to 30 minutes until a very smooth paste. you should start with draining total water from dal and then keep adding small quantities (about 10 to 20 ml) every 3 to 4 minutes. once done remove in the same pan and mix using your hands for 1 minute.

  4. cover the bowl with a lid and leave it in room temperature for 4 to 8 hours to ferment. you will notice that the batter has raised to 1.5x to 2x after 4 to 8 hours. The ideal temperature for fermentation is 28°C. Higher temperature in hot places will ferment the batter faster, hence fermenting in night is preferred in such places as the ambient temperature cools down.

  5. You can store the batter in fridge up to 3-4 days and use as much as you need in one go. take out about 500ml batter for a 16 idli steamer. add salt and mix well. the consistency should be of tomato ketchup. heat water in the steamer. grease all idli plates using ghee or oil using fingers. fill the idli stand using a ladle.

  6. steam for 10-12 minutes on full flame. idlis need high amount of steam temperature to cook properly.

  7. switch off the stove and open the steamer immediately. in a most likely case, you do not need to test, weather or not these are under-cooked, and you can bring out the idli stand from cooker, open each plate and keep on the table. let it cool for 2 minutes. remove idlis in a hot case right away using a spoon. you can also pour ¼ spoon ghee or butter on each idli before removing to enhance the taste manifolds.

The great white color comes to idli, if dal and rice are washed properly, until it leaves clear water.


The idlis are best accompanied with sambar and a variety of chutnies, which I will share with you in separate posts, as those are common accompaniments in a variety of south indian dishes e.g. dosa, uttapam, paniyaram, etc.

By Lokesh

A seasoned chef, who knows how to cook food as well as PHP, MySql. A hardcore vocal advocate of vegetarian lifestyle and believes in eating before sunset.

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