Ragi idli are steamed cakes made with finger millets & urad dal. Traditionally idli recipe is made with urad dal and idli rice. Ragi idli are just a variation of the basic idlis where rice is replaced with ragi. There are so many ways these can be made. Most South Indian households trying to eat healthy, may have their own recipe to make these ragi idlis.
The recipe I have shared here is the way my mom makes. It is adapted from our soft & fluffy idli recipe that I have shared earlier. This recipe always yields me consistent results & makes the best soft fluffy ragi idlis.
Ragi is one of the whole grains we eat the most at home. So I make various foods using them. These ragi idlis & dosas are now on a rotation for our Breakfast & dinner menu.
This recipe uses whole ragi grains and not ragi flour. You may also use ragi rava which is available in most stores now. You can also make your own ragi rava and use it here in this recipe.
These are made much the same way as the regular idlis. First urad dal and ragi are soaked for few hours. Then the batter is made and fermented overnight.
- This batter is an all in one. I use the same batter to make dosas, uttapam and paniyaram as well.
- Good quality urad dal is the key here to get them fluffy.
- Methi seeds or thick poha help in fermentation. So do not skip them.
- Ensure the batter is well fermented and risen before making the idlis.
- There is no rice used in the recipe. So these are great for those trying to minimize rice in their diet.
However you can also substitute half cup of the ragi with idli rice. Sometimes my kids are too fussy to eat these as there is a lot of ragi flavor in them. So I replace a part of the ragi with idli rice.
Easy ragi idli or Nachni idli recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup urad dal (skinned black lentils)
- 1½ cups ragi or finger millet
- 1 teaspoon methi seeds (or ¼ cup thick poha)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon non-iodized salt (or rock salt)
How to make the recipe
- Add urad dal and methi seeds to a bowl and rinse them well thrice. Soak for 5 hours.
- To another bowl, add ragi and rinse them a few times very well. Add fresh water and soak them for 5 hours.
- If using poha then soak them 30 minutes before blending.
- After 5 hours drain the water. Add the urad dal, methi seeds (or soaked poha) to a blender jar.
- I always add salt while blending. If you live in a hot place, then you may add after fermenting.
- Pour chilled water during summers and blend the batter until thick, fluffy and frothy. The batter should be thick yet of pouring consistency.
- Transfer this to a large bowl.
- Add ragi to the blender and add little water. Blend to a slightly coarse paste. I do not make it very fine as this gives the texture of rava.
- Next add more water as needed while blending.
- Pour this to the blended urad dal batter and give a good mix. The batter should be thick like the regular idli batter. If needed sprinkle some water at this stage.
- Cover and keep it in a warm place. Leave overnight to 14 hours until it ferments and rises well.
- When fermented, you should not have the raw smell of urad dal or ragi in the batter. But should have a mild fermented flavor, yet should not have a sour smell. This is the correct fermentation for our taste.
Making ragi idli
- When the batter is ready, pour 1 cup water in your steamer or cooker. Bring it to a boil on a medium heat.
- Meanwhile grease the plates and pour the batter in the moulds.
- When the water begins to boil rapidly, open the lid and place the ragi idli stand in it.
- Cover and steam for exactly 10 to 12 mins. You may need to adjust the timing based on your pot.
- Switch off and allow to cool slightly.
- Dip the edge of a spoon in water and remove the ragi idlis using it.
- Serve ragi idli hot with sambar or chutney.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- Thick poha are the harder poha. If you are using thinner poha then use more upto – half cup.
- You can also substitute half cup of ragi in the recipe with idli rice.
- Do not proceed to make the ragi idlis until the batter has fermented well and risen.
- All the tips and tricks followed to make regular soft idli should be followed for this recipe as well. You can check the step by step photos and complete details for fermentation here on my soft idli post.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.