How to Make Idli at Home

How to Make Idli at Home

About Idli:

Idli are a type of savoury rice cake originating from the Indian subcontinent.  This is a very popular breakfast in South India.  Idli are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented white urad dal and rice.  When someone thinks of South Indian food, the idli and sambar is the first dish that comes to mind.  Idli is a type of rice cake that can be eaten as a meal or snack.


  • 2 cups of regular rice/idli rice/parboiled rice.
  • 1 cup of whole or split urad dal (use the same measurement cup for the dal and rice).
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (methi dana).
  • Waters as needed for soaking rice, urad dal, grinding of rice and dal, and steaming of idli.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Oil as required to grease the idli moulds.

Note:  You may increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients depending on for how many people you are making for.

Soaking of Rice and Urad Dal:

  1.  Rinse the rice nicely until water runs clear and soak the rice in enough water overnight or at least 5-6 hours.
  2.  Then, rinse the urad dal nicely until water runs clear and soak the urad dal in enough water along with fenugreek seeds overnight or at least 5-6 hours.  (Soak the rice and dal separately).

Making Idli Batter:

  1.  Drain the urad dal and fenugreek seeds.
  2.  Then, take a grinding jar and add on the soaked urad dal and fenugreek seeds and cold water as required to grind the urad dal.
  3.  Then, grind the urad dal into a smooth and fluffy paste and then transfer the urad dal paste into a bowl.
  4.  Then, drain the soaked rice and add the soaked rice into the grinding jar and cold water as required to grind the rice.
  5.  Then, grind the rice into a smooth, but little grainy and then transfer into a bowl.
  6.  Then, take a large mixing bowl and on both the rice and urad dal batter and salt to taste and mix them well on your hand as it helps to ferment the batter well.  Make sure that the batter should not too thin or too thick.  If you live in a hot climate, then skip adding the salt while fermenting the batter, add the salt just before making the idli.
  7.  Then, cover the batter and keep the batter in a warm place to ferment for 8-10 hours or more if required.
  8.  After the fermentation, the idli batter will become double in size.

Steaming Idli:

  1.  Take a idli steamer and add water as required to steam the idli.
  2.  Then, turn on the flame and let the water come to a boil on a high flame.
  3.  While water is boiling, grease the idli moulds/plates with oil or ghee very nicely, so that the idli does not stick to the mould.
  4.  Then, take the idli batter and mix 2-3 times, do not over mix the idli batter as the aerated batter will turn flat.
  5.  Then, pour the batter in the moulds.
  6.  When water comes to a boil, then place the idli stand in the steamer, cover and steam the idli for 12 to 15 mins or until the idli are well cooked.
  7.  Once done, turn off the flame and remove the idli stand from the steamer and keep aside for 2-3 minutes.
  8.  Then, with the help of a spoon, remove the idli from the mould and keep them in a plate.
  9.  Then, serve the steaming hot idli with any chutney of your choice and sambar.
  10.  You can store the remaining batter in the fridge for a couple of days.