Rava idli is a popular Breakfast food that originated in the Tiffin centers of Karnataka. It is a variation of the traditional Idli recipe but made with semolina, curd and some spices. Rava means semolina and idli are steamed cakes. Making rava idli is quick and easy since it is an instant recipe which needs no grinding and fermentation.
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.
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 ingredients & then mixing them up with yogurt. The leavener in the batter reacts with the yogurt or 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.
Tips to make fluffy rava idli
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.
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 recipe
Rava idli recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Tempering ingredients for rava idli
- 1 cup semolina or bombay rava or suji
- 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin or jeera
- ½ tbsp chana dal or bengal gram
- 1 tbsp cashews chopped (optional)
- 10 curry leaves
- 2 green chilies chopped (skip for kids)
- ¾ tsp ginger grated or paste
- 1/3 tsp salt – use as needed
- 2 to 3 tbsp coriander leaves chopped finely
- ¾ cup curd or yogurt or dahi (fresh, not sour)
- ½ cup water for soaking rava
- 2 to 3 tbsp water for batter consistency
- 1 tsp lemon juice (skip if using eno)
- ¼ tsp soda or cooking soda (soda-bicarbonate) or 1 tsp eno (* refer notes)
- 1 tsp oil for greasing idli plates
- 4 cashewnuts or 8 split cashews
- 1 tsp carrot grated
Preparation for rava idli
- Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan. Fry 8 split cashews until golden and set aside for garnishing.
- To the same pan, add mustard, cumin, 1 tbsp broken cashews and chana dal. Fry until the dal turns golden.
- Reduce the flame and add curry leaves, green chilies and ginger. Saute until it turns fragrant just for 30 seconds.
- Then quickly add the rava. Mix well to coat the semolina with ghee. Roast on a low flame stirring consistenly until the rava turns crunchy and slightly aromatic. Do not brown the rava.
- Set this aside and cool completely.
Making rava idli batter
- When the rava is cooled down completely, add salt, coriander leaves, 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 comes out clean or with little crumbs.
- When the rava idlis cool down for 3 to 4 mins, demould them with a wet spoon.
- Serve rava idli with coconut chutney or potato sagu.
Watch to make rava idli
Notes on rava idliCurd 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. 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. 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. 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. Water:The amount of water absorbed by rava may differ, so add accordingly.
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 mustard, cumin, chana dal and 1 tbsp chopped cashews. Saute until the dal turns golden.
3. Lower the heat. Then add chopped curry leaves, green chilies and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds until the ginger smells good.
4. Immediately add 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.
Preparing rava idli batter
6. Add chopped coriander leaves and salt. Then pour fresh curd. 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.
7. Pour half cup water and mix.
8. Cover this and rest for 30 mins.
Preparing steamer & idli plates for rava idli
9. Grease the plates with oil and arrange a cashew on each mould. Sprinkle some carrots.
10. Pour water to a cooker or steamer as you would do for regular idli. I use 2.5 cups water. After 25 to 30 mins of soaking the rava, bring the water to a boil.
11. After 30 mins of soaking, semolina absorbs some moisture and turns almost dry. The pour 1 to 3 tbsps water as needed to bring the batter to a consistency. I used about 3 tbsps but every time it varies by 1 to 2 tbsp depending on the thickness of yogurt and the kind of rava.
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.
Steaming rava idli
13. Skip this step if using eno. Add 1 tsp lemon juice to the batter and give a good mix. This will not make the idli sour. But is used to activate the soda.
14. When the water in the steamer is turning hot then add eno or soda to the batter. Mix gently a few times to incorporate the soda into the batter.
15. Quickly pour this to the moulds. This recipe will give you 8 rava idli.
16. Place it in the steamer and steam for 10 minutes. The water must be boiling and steaming well. When done, a skewer inserted comes out clean or with little crumbs.
17. Allow to cool fown for about 3 to 4 mins. With the help of a moist spoon demould the rava idli.
Serve rava idli with chutney or potato sagu.