Rava Idli Recipe | Instant Idli with Suji

Updated: April 2, 2023, By Swasthi

Rava Idli is a popular Breakfast food originated in the Tiffin centers of Karnataka. It is a variation of the traditional Idli recipe but made with semolina, curd and some whole spices. Rava is a South Indian term which means semolina and Idli are traditional steamed cakes. Making Rava Idli is quick and easy since it is an instant recipe that needs no grinding and fermentation.

rava idli made with semolina

If you are new to South Indian foods, then read on to know more.

What is Rava Idli?

Rava Idli are steamed cakes made with semolina, yogurt, spices, veggies & a leavening agent. These are eaten for breakfast with Coconut chutney & potato sagu (recipe at the end of the post).

Traditionally idlis are made with soaked ground lentils & rice. The batter is then fermented and steamed in the shape of cakes. These rava idli are quick to make as it bypasses the entire task of soaking, grinding and then fermenting.

The batter is made by just tempering the spices, roasting the rava & then mixing them up with yogurt. The leavener in the batter reacts with the yogurt (curd) & cooks up to fluffy & airy steamed cakes.

The recipe shared here will give you delicious, soft & light Rava Idlis all without the flavor of curd or soapy taste of soda in it. If you have ever wondered how the Rava Idli from MTR tastes so delicious & good with a light texture then this recipe is a must try.

In this post I have also shared the recipe to make potato sagu that is usually served with the rava idli in hotels. You can find it after the step-by-step photos.

rava idli recipe

Photo Guide

How to Make Rava Idli (Stepwise Photos)


1. Heat 2 tbsps ghee in a kadai. Fry 8 split cashews until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.

2. To the same pan, add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ tablespoon chana dal and 1 tablespoon chopped cashews. Saute until the dal turns golden.

3. Lower the heat. Then add 1 sprig chopped curry leaves, 2 chopped green chilies and ¾ teaspoon grated ginger. Saute for 30 seconds until the ginger smells good.

frying herbs & ginger for rava idli

4. Immediately add 1 cup rava/ semolina and begin to mix well. On a low flame fry the rava until crunchy and lightly aromatic. Do not brown the rava.

5. Rava should be coated well with ghee. Cool this completely. You can also store the cooled rava idli mix in a jar for further use.

roasted semolina for idli rava

Make the Instant Idli Batter

6. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and 1/3 teaspoon salt. Then pour ¾ cup fresh curd/ yogurt. I used homemade curd. Please make sure the curd doesn’t smell or taste sour. Otherwise the rava idli will have a smell of sour curd. Mix well.

adding curd to semolina

7. Pour half cup water and mix.

pour water for rava idli batter

8. Cover this and rest for 30 mins.

rest rava idli batter for 30 mins

Prepare the Steamer & Idli Plates

9. After 25 minutes, add few drops of ghee or oil to each idli plate/ mould. Grease the plates lightly and arrange a cashew on each mould. Sprinkle some grated carrots. Keep these aside.

greased idli plates with cashews

10. Pour water to a cooker or steamer or pot or instant pot as you would do for regular idli.

To steam in Pot or cooker or steamer: I use 2.5 cups water in my pot. After 25 to 30 mins of soaking the rava, bring the water to a boil.

To steam in Instant pot: I pour 1.5 cups water and bring to a rolling boil on a saute mode. I also cover with a external lid to quicken the process.

11. After 30 mins of soaking, semolina absorbs some moisture and turns almost dry. The pour 1 to 3 tablespoons water as needed to bring the batter to a consistency. I used about 3 tablespoons but every time it varies by 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on the thickness of yogurt and the kind of rava.

bring rava idli batter to consistency

12. Rava idli batter consistency should be thick and smooth as you see in the picture. When you drop the batter with the spoon it must be smooth on top and not lumpy. It should not be of pouring consistency either. It must be like idli batter. Check video to know the right consistency.

rava idli batter consistency

Steam Rava Idli

13. Skip this step if using eno. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the batter and give a good mix. This will not make the rava idli sour. But is used to activate the soda.

Adding lemon juice to batter

14. When the water in the steamer is turning hot then add 1 teaspoon eno or ¼ teaspoon soda-bi-carbonate to the batter. Mix gently a few times to incorporate the soda into the batter.

sprinkle soda in rava idli batter

15. Quickly pour this to the moulds. Do not let the batter rest after mixing eno/ soda. This recipe will give you 8 rava idli.

pour batter in greased plates

16. Place the idli stand in the steamer and steam for 10 minutes on a high flame. The water must be boiling and steaming well at all times. When done, a skewer inserted comes out clean or with little crumbs.

To steam in Instant pot: Once the water comes to a rolling boil, Place the idli stand in the instant pot. Press cancel. Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to venting. Steam for 11 to 12 mins.

skewer comes out clean if done

17. Allow to cool down for about 3 to 4 mins. With the help of a moist spoon demould the rava idli.

Serve rava idli with coconut chutney or potato sagu. I have shared the recipe to make potato sagu below the recipe card.

rava idli

Sagu for Rava idli

Ingredients for 3 servings
2 medium potatoes
1 medium onion sliced
2 green chilies
1 tsp besan
¼ cup water to mix besan
1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ to ½ tsp cumin
½ tsp split urad dal
1 pinch hing/ asafoetida
1/8 to ¼ tsp turmeric
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped finely


Boil potatoes in a pressure cooker. If cooking in a pressure cooker, dice them to 1 ½ cubes and cook them with ¾ cup water for 1 whistle. If cooking in an Instant pot, then place them in a bowl and pressure cook for 5 mins.
When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid. Potatoes must be fully cooked. Set aside.

How to make sagu for rava idli

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin.
When they splutter, add hing, curry leaves and green chilies.
Add onions and fry until transparent. Do not brown them.
Add turmeric and salt. Pour water just to bring it to a consistency. I use the ¾ cup water in which I boiled the potatoes.
Bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile stir in besan with ¼ cup water. Break the lumps and make it a smooth mixture.

When the water begins to boil, pour this gently and give a good stir. You can add more water as needed to cook this.
Let the mixture cook and thicken.
Meanwhile mash the boiled potatoes keeping small chunks here and there.
Add it to the sagu and mix well. Add more water if needed. When it comes to a boil, turn off.
The consistency should be slightly runny as it will thicken when it cools down.
Rava idli sagu is not very thick. It should also have some water in it so it is suitable to serve with rava idli.
Add coriander leaves and taste test it. Add more salt if needed.

Notes: This sagu should have more flavor of aloo and less of the besan. However if you prefer more, you can stir in more besan with some more water and pour it.
You may add ½ tsp grated ginger to the tempering but most times you won’t find that flavor in the hotels.

More Instant breakfast recipes
Akki roti
Wheat dosa
Upma recipe
Poha recipe
Eggless pancake recipe

Pro Tips

1.Roasting semolina or rava on a low to medium flame until aromatic without changing the color, is the key to prevent them from turning sticky.

2.The right amount of curd and soda or eno are the key to making the best rava idli. The leavening agent makes them light & fluffy so do not skimp.

I have followed the same rule of using ¼ tsp soda or eno to 1 cup of flour, in this case it is 1 cup of rava. It doesn’t leave a soapy taste as ¾ cup of curd & 1 tsp lemon juice is used to activate the soda.

3.Do not reduce the amount of ghee or oil in the recipe as it is very important. With reduced amount of fats, they turn out sticky.

Can I skip roasting the rava?

There are different kinds of rava or semolina in the market. My mom makes these without roasting and they always turn out good. It depends on the kind of semolina.

She uses the chiroti rava which is a finer version of the regular semolina.

So the results will depend on the kind of rava used. To be on the safer side I always roast the semolina until it turns light.


Semolina or rava is a processed food so eating in moderation is good. Since I had lot of requests for a good rava idli recipe, I thought of sharing this. For a healthier version use fine whole wheat rava or red rava.

Rava idli is served with Coconut chutney and potato sagu (find the recipe below). We do not prefer the sagu much for this so we usually serve with coconut chutney and Idli sambar. Sometimes I make rava idli for dinner if I already have this regular sambar made for lunch.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

rava idli recipe

Rava Idli Recipe (Instant Idli with Suji)

4.97 from 264 votes
Instant rava idli are a breakfast food made with semolina, curd, herbs and basic spices. These soft, fluffy rava idlis are great to enjoy with a chutney & potato sagu. Rava idli are very popular in the tiffin centers of karnataka.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Resting30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings8 rava idli

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

Tempering ingredients for rava idli

  • 1 cup semolina or bombay rava or suji or chiroti rava
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin or jeera
  • ½ tablespoon chana dal or bengal gram
  • 1 tablespoon cashews chopped (optional)
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies chopped (skip for kids)
  • ¾ tsp ginger grated or paste

Other ingredients

  • 1/3 teaspoon salt – use as needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped finely
  • ¾ cup curd or yogurt or dahi (fresh, not sour)
  • ½ cup water for soaking rava
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon water for batter consistency
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (skip if using eno)
  • 1 teaspoon Eno or fruit salt or ¼ tsp cooking soda (or soda-bicarbonate) (* refer notes)
  • 1 teaspoon oil for greasing idli plates
  • 4 cashewnuts or 8 split cashews
  • 1 teaspoon carrot grated



  • Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a pan.
  • Fry 8 split cashews until golden and set aside for garnishing.
  • To the same pan add ½ teaspoon mustard, ¼ teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon broken cashews and ½ tablespoon chana dal.
  • Fry until the dal turns golden.
  • Reduce the flame and add 10 curry leaves, 1 to 2 chopped green chilies and ¾ teaspoon ginger.
  • Saute until it turns fragrant just for 30 seconds.
  • Then quickly add 1 cup rava.
  • Mix well to coat the semolina with ghee.
  • Roast on a low flame stirring consistently until the rava turns crunchy and slightly aromatic.
  • Do not brown the rava. Set this aside and cool completely.

Make Instant idli batter

  • When the rava is cooled down completely, add salt, 2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves, ¾ cup curd and half cup water. 
  • Mix well until the batter is uniform. Cover this and set aside for 30 mins.
  • After 25 mins, grease the plates and place a cashew in each of the moulds.
  • Also sprinkle some carrots. Set this aside.

How to Make Rava Idli

  • Bring water to a boil in a steamer or cooker.
  • When the water is just about to come to a boil in a few minutes, Check the consistency of the batter and pour more water if needed.
  • The batter has to be thick like regular idli batter and must be smooth.
  • When you drop it with the spoon it should not be lumpy.
  • It should not be of pouring consistency either.
  • Skip this step if using eno.
  • Add 1 tsp lemon juice to the batter and give a quick stir.
  • Then sprinkle eno or soda and gently give a good mix.
  • Avoid over mixing. The batter needs to be steamed immediately otherwise the rava idli will not turn fluffy & soft.
  • Immediately transfer the batter to moulds.
  • Place it in the hot steamer and steam for 10 mins on a high flame. 
  • Allow the idlis to cool down for 2 mins.
  • If the rava idli is properly done, then a skewer or fork inserted into it comes out clean or with little crumbs. 
  • When the rava idlis cool down for about 3 to 4 mins, demould them with a wet spoon. 
  • Serve rava idli with coconut chutney or potato sagu (recipe below).


  1. Curd and soda or eno are the 2 ingredients that make the rava idli fluffy and soft. Any changes in the usage of these ingredients will affect the texture of rava idli and they will turn hard & dense.
  2. Soda: Do not try this recipe without eno or soda. You can reduce it to a pinch but it will not really yield you good & soft rava idli. As a rule of thumb I suggest using ¼ tsp for every cup of rava. It will not leave a soapy taste as the soda is activated with ¾ cup of curd.
  3. Curd: I use homemade curd made using full fat milk. It must be fresh and not sour otherwise the rava idli will have the smell of curd.
  4. Ghee: Do not reduce the amount of ghee or oil as it prevents the idli from turning sticky. There must be enough ghee to coat the rava.
  5. Water:The amount of water absorbed by rava may differ, so add accordingly.


Watch Rava Idli Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Rava Idli Recipe (Instant Idli with Suji)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 140mg6%
Potassium 59mg2%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 165IU3%
Vitamin C 26.6mg32%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Very nice recipe, I make for breakfast and it’s very easy also. Thanks

Hallo, by 1 cup suji you mean 1 cup by volume, right? About 120g

5 stars
Tried the recipe and it turned out to be too good..thank you

5 stars
Made it yesterday, came out uber soft and so delicious and my family loved that addition of cashew. Thankyou so so much for making our day .

Hi Swasthi
Thank you always for your wonderful and true to tradition recipes. A comment on the conversion chart for the Rava Idli. I clicked on 2X and the ingredients do change to reflect the qty for 16 idlis. However in the method the ingredients still reflect proportions only for 8 and not 16 idlis.

Hi Swasthi, I made these for my potluck and the item was a super-duper hit! Thank you so much!

5 stars
Thank you so much for the recipe. Never thought it could be so easy as you made it to be.

5 stars
Thank you Swasthi. Excellent recipe for Rava idly. I followed every step of the recipe and it turned out great and I got very soft and delicious idli. I’m sharing this AMAZING recipe with my friends as well. Thanks once again.

5 stars
Basically I love any kind of idlis but these rava idli are very close to my heart because I learnt making them from this recipe during the lockdown. They turn out very soft and delicious better than restaurants. I have made these so many times in the last few years and now I regret for not writing a review. Thank you for teaching us how to cook. I also made many recipes from this website and always come out good.

Thank you for this awesome recipe. Idlis came out so well.

5 stars
Thank you rava idlis turned out delicious. Many years ago I had these rava idli in a udupi restaurant and also ate them at many different places. But couldn’t find them as delicious as the first restaurant. This recipe helped me make exactly like that. Rava idlis were very fluffy, soft and delicious.

5 stars
I tried this rava idli recipe with semolina flour. They were still fluffy and turned out delicious. Next time I plan to add some grated carrots in the batter. Thank you.

5 stars
This is an amazing recipe Swasthi. My kids who are generally not fans of idli, loved these rava idlis with your sagu. Thank you.

Hi Swasthi, can this be made plain without mustard/curry leaves etc? My child likes plain idlis.

Good information to improve knowledge,thank you.

Thanks for the excellent recipe. I prepared yesterday and the idli came out perfect. I made tomato chutney to go with the idli. I will for sure be making them again.

5 stars
The first time I made these I was surprised. Fluffy, soft and better than what I ate in restaurants. Thank you for the amazing recipe.

5 stars
Hi Swathi,

I have been blindly following up all your recipes and never ever have to worry. My wife and family enjoyed every time and can’t thank you enough.

Hi Swathi, love your recipes, thank you for sharing. As a coeliac, what can be substituted for Rava please?

5 stars
Excellent recipe! Can’t wait to try it. Just wanted to confirm that it is either ONE teaspoon of Eno or 1/4 teaspoon soda bicarb and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Thanks for your wonderful recipes 🙂

Awesome recipe! Can’t wait to try it. I want to confirm that I should be adding ONE teaspoon of Eno fruit salt to the batter made with 1 cup rava. Is that correct? Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

Hi Swasthi, what type of semolina is used in this recipe – coarse or finer variety? I have seen several conflicting recipes for rava idli where some people used coarse semolina and others used finer variety. Please enlighten me on this!

Swasthi, thanks very much for your input. I guess I will use fine rava next time when I make rava idli. Keep up the great work you are doing.