Fool proof recipe to make soft & fluffy idlis at home. These steamed cakes are made with fermented lentil & rice batter. This detailed post shares lot of tips & tricks to make the fluffiest idlis. I have shared 2 recipes in this post.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.
1cupidli rice(or parboiled rice) or (1 cup + 2 tbsp idli rava)
2tablespoonthick poha Or ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
½teaspoonNon-iodized salt(rock salt or pink salt)
¾ to 1cupchilled water(for grinding dal)
½cupwater(for grinding rice)
1½cupsidli rice(or parboiled rice)
½teaspoonfenugreek seeds(methi seeds)
2tablespoonsthick poha(flattened rice) (substitute with ¼ tsp methi)
¾ to 1cupchilled water(for grinding dal)
¾cupwater(for grinding rice)
How to make the recipe
Add urad dal & methi seeds to a bowl. Add rice or idli rava to another bowl.
Wash them very well separately until water runs clear. Soak them separately in lot of water for at least 6 hrs.
Rinse and soak poha with ¼ cup water for about 30 mins before blending.
How to make idli batter
After 6 hours, drain the water from both the bowls.
Add dal, methi, soaked poha, salt & ¾ cup water to a blender jar or a wet grinder. You may need another 2 to 4 tbsps water while blending.
If you live in a hot climate then skip adding salt now and add it just before making idli otherwise the batter turns sour. You will have to experiment with salt to know what works well for you.
Blend all of them till thick, smooth, bubbly & frothy. The idli batter should not turn hot or even warm as it makes dense idli.
Transfer urad dal batter to a large bowl.
A. If using rice : Add rice to the blender with water (mentioned in the ingredients). Grind to a little coarse batter (semolina texture). Pour this to the dal batter. Mix both of them well with your clean hands. The batter must be thick yet of pouring consistency. B. If using idli rava : Drain off the water thoroughly from the rava. Squeeze excess water from the rava with the help of both your palms. Rava must not look soggy. It must absolutely have no water in it, else the batter will become runny.
Transfer this to the urad dal batter and mix well.
Now mix everything well. Use your hand to mix as it helps to ferment faster and better. If needed can add little water, if the batter is too thick.
Fermenting idli batter
Set the batter aside in a warm place for at least 8 to 14 hrs. The batter ferments and rises well to double the quantity. Sometimes it may take up to 18 hours depending on the weather and temperature.
If you live in a cold country, keep it in the oven with the light bulb ON. Or preheat the oven to 170 F or 80 C for 10 mins. Wait for 5 mins and then keep the batter inside. If you have a instant pot or microwave (with yogurt function), then you can also turn it ON with the yogurt setting (low) for 6 to 12 hours or until the batter doubles.
A well fermented batter will yield good soft idli. The batter must rise and look fluffy but not turn sour. You will need to experiment to know the fermentation time.
How to make idli
On a high flame, bring water to a boil in an idly steamer or a pressure cooker. If using instant pot, pour 1½ cups water to your inner pot. Press the saute button and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile grease your idly plates lightly. Mix the idli batter gently 1 to 2 times only. Do not over do as the aerated batter will turn flat. Fill the molds with batter.
When the water begins to bubble and steam up, place the stand in the steamer. Cover and steam for exactly 10 mins on a high flame. If using Instant pot, when the water begins to boil, press CANCEL button. Keep the idli stand in the IP. Cover with the lid & position the steam release handle to venting . Then press STEAM button. Use an external timer to monitor & steam for 10 to 12 mins.
Once done turn off and wait for 2 mins. Remove the idly stand. Set aside to cool down for 2 to 3 mins. When cooled, the idli must not be wet on top.
With the help of a spoon remove the idlis to a plate. Serve idli with a chutney or sambar.