Soft Idli Recipe with Idli Rava | Perfect Idly batter with Mixie Grinder
Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Learn how to make Andhra-style Idli Recipe with Idli Rava at home. The detailed recipe with step-by-step pictures will help you make soft, fluffy, and white idlis. The best part of the recipe is you do not need a wet grinder. The recipe will help you make the perfect idli batter using a mixer grinder.
I had requests from many to share the idli recipe. I wanted to share the recipe for the longest time. This 4 ingredients dish is super easy to make but has many rules to follow for perfect idlis. So, wanted to write a detailed post with step-by-step instructions with pics.
Compiling everything took more time than I initially planned. I’m pretty happy that I have covered everything from making the perfect idli batter in a mixer grinder to getting hotel-style texture idlis.
Being a South Indian, idli and dosa are made on a regular basis for breakfast. I grew up eating idlis made with idli rava only and it has been in our family for generations.
Since childhood, I have had an undying love for idlis. Maybe it’s because of the way my mom makes them and serves them with different chutneys or sambar.
I still remember the traditional method of making idli batter followed by my mom. She would ground the batter in a stone mortar and pestle by rotating a pestle (heavy stone in the middle).
So, the idli recipe I’m sharing is my mother’s recipe which is my grandmother’s original recipe but does not need a stone mortar and pestle or a wet grinder.
Though a lengthy post, please go through each point to make soft and fluffy idlis the first time.
What is Idli?
Idli is a typical South Indian soft, fluffy, and savory cake made by steaming a fermented batter of lentils and cream of rice (idli rava).
Idli is a common and popular breakfast food item in the 5 states of South India – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
In India, different regions have different cuisines and they have their own unique recipe to prepare idlis.
In Telugu and Kanada-speaking states, idli is made using whole urad dal and idli rava. Whereas, in other states, idli is made with urad dal and whole rice.
Idlis made with idli rava has a grainy texture and has a lot of pores.
About Idli Recipe with Idli Rava
Idli recipe with Idli rava and urad dal is a typical Andhra style. With this idli recipe get the authentic taste of South Indian from the comfort of your home.
The recipe for making idli is divided into 4 components
- Soaking the lentils and idli rava in separate bowls.
- Making the batter – blend the dal and mix squeezed rava.
- Fermenting the batter.
- Making idlis by steaming the batter.
The idli batter can be made in a wet grinder or mixer grinder. While a wet grinder works as well as a stone mortar and pestle, the cleaning is a tedious task once the batter is ground.
The busy life prompts us to use machines that are easy to maintain. With a high-power mixer grinder, you can make perfect idli batter.
The idli batter recipe I’m sharing today is prepared with idli rava which requires a minimum of just 2 hours of soaking.
Making soft fluffy idlis is a breeze with just 4 ingredients. But having tried all methods of making idli over the years I realized that it is an art that needs to be mastered. Practice leads to perfection.
I usually make the idli batter good enough for 2 days. The ingredients mentioned in the recipe below are good enough to make about 30-35 idlis. You can easily double or halve the recipe depending on your requirement.
For a smoother texture, first, grind the soaked urad until smooth and fluffy. Add the squeezed idli rava and grind for a few seconds.
Mixer Grinder vs Wet Grinder for Idli batter
As per my personal experience, idlis made from the batter ground in both the machines yield almost the same results.
I do have a wet grinder and prefer it to make dosa batter or idli batter in a large batch.
Reasons to make
Detailed recipe for beginners.
One of the healthiest breakfasts.
As they are steamed and not fried, idlis are low in calories and very healthy.
Serve it with chutney or sambar for any meal of the day.
Because of fermentation, idlis contain a good amount of probiotic intestinal bacteria that improve the digestive system and also improve the absorption of nutrients.
Idlis are easy to digest.
A combination of urad dal and rava makes it a complete protein (consists of all 9 essential amino acids).
Idli is a perfect combination of urad dal and idli rava. So, it packs a good punch of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
You can make soft fluffy idlis without soda or eno.
Using methi seeds make idlis diabetic friendly.
Proportion of Urad dal to Idli Rava
There are already tons of recipes to make idli and they have a different proportion of urad dal and idli rava.
The proportion of dal to idli rava that works best at home is 1:2. This means for every one cup of dal, two cups of idli rava are to be used.
Over the years after experimenting with different proportions, I have settled on my current ratio. It yields consistent results every single time. Also, with this proportion, the idlis are high in protein and calcium. Increasing the quantity of rava will make the idlis high in carbohydrates.
In restaurants, hotels, and roadside stalls, the proportion followed is 1:3 or 1:4 to make it cost-effective. As they use a wet grinder which is the best for grinding urad dal batter. The ingredients do not heat up and the urad dal volume increases.
There are certain rules to making perfect idlis that are white, soft, and fluffy. Repair works do not work on idli batter. So, please read them before making to get it right the first time.
Washing and Soaking the Ingredients
While washing the dal, do not rub it rigorously. Just wash gently and rinse 2-3 times.
Add idli rava to a bowl. Add water and mix well with your fingers. Set it aside for 30 seconds. The rava will settle to the bottom, now carefully discard the water. Repeat the steps 2-3 times. Now add plenty of water and soak the rava for 2 hours.
Soaking time: It depends on the climatic conditions. For dal and rava, a minimum of 2 hours of soaking is sufficient.
In cold climates/countries, the batter does not ferment quickly. In such conditions, soaking the lentil for a longer time (8-12 hours) will help in the activation of the yeast. You can use the soaked water to grind the batter.
Avoid soaking for long during summer. It will leave a weird and sour smell in the batter.
Grinding the dal
Unlike a wet grinder, a mixer grinder heats up while grinding. This will heat the batter too and hinder the fermentation process. So, make sure to use cold or chilled water while grinding the batter in a mixer grinder.
Do not add all the water at once. Add it in parts, this helps the batter to stay cool.
Do not grind the soaked dal at high-speed continuously.
How I grind: First grind the soaked dal without adding any water. Scrape the sides of the mixie jar, add 1/8th cup of chilled water and grind at the lowest speed for a few minutes. Repeat this step until the dal is ground to smooth paste. Lastly, use the pulse/whipper mode to make the batter fluffy.
Before grinding the second batch, give a gap of 5-10 minutes or until the machine cools down a bit.
For grinding the soaked urad dal, I added 1cup of chilled water.
Thick consistency batter will not ferment properly, as the organisms need enough moisture. After mixing the squeezed rava and ground dal paste, if the batter is very thick, add little water and mix well. The batter should be a little thick but pourable/freely flowing.
Use stainless steel, glass, or ceramic bowl for fermenting the batter.
Signs of perfect fermentation: Batter volume will increase by 2-3 times. The batter will be light, fluffy, airy, have a lot of bubbles, and will smell sour. If the batter is fermented well, the idlis will have a sponge and porous structure.
Do not stir the fermented batter rigorously. Always mix it gently and retain the aeration in the batter.
Take the required batter to make idlis and transfer the remaining batter to a glass or ceramic container. Refrigerate it for 2-4 days.
Do not leave the fermented batter on the kitchen counter for a long time, the batter will over ferment and turn too sour.
If you are in colder regions, keep the container in the oven with the light on for a few hours until it creates a warm environment. Make sure the oven is not very hot, the batter will start to cook and not ferment.
Stainless steel is the best material for fermentation. Use a steel container to ferment the batter. If you do not have a steel vessel, add batter to the ceramic or glass container and submerge a steel spoon/ladle in it.
Add salt to the batter before fermentation. Salt helps in the fermentation process.
In a tropical country like India, fermentation is easy in any season. So, I add the salt after the batter ferments.
Consistency of the batter
Tough last step, it is crucial. For soft and spongy idlis, the batter must be of the right consistency. Does not matter if you grind the batter in the best-wet grinder or mixie.
Consistency of batter is extremely important before and after fermentation.
After fermentation, the batter consistency is important to get soft and fluffy idlis. If the batter consistency is too thick, the idlis will turn out hard. And, if the consistency is too thin/runny, the idlis will not rise and turn out flat.
Making the Idlis
Grease the idli plates with ghee before adding the batter. This helps the steamed idlis come out clean.
Do not spoon the idlis right after turning off the flame. Always allow the steamer to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Thaw the refrigerated batter for a few hours. The batter has to be at room temperature before making the idlis.
Ingredients to make Idli Batter
The two most important ingredients in making idlis are urad dal and idli rava. To make fluffier idlis at home, I have added two additional ingredients – poha and methi seeds.
Urad dal (White whole urad dal without the husk or skin): The quality of urad dal is very vital for getting soft and fluffy idlis. While there is whole and split skinless urad dal available in the stores, I strongly recommend using whole for best results. It is also known as urad gota.
Idli rava: It is also known as idli sooji, cream of rava, rice rava, or cream of rice. Do not confuse idli rava with bombay rava or sooji that is used to make upma and halwa. Idli rava is coarsely ground whole rice.
Flattened rice/Poha: As we are making the batter in a mixer grinder, I add poha.
Fenugreek seeds/Methi dana: This is an optional ingredient. But, I recommend adding it as healthy, aids in fermentation, and helps in digestion. Please do not add more than the quantity mentioned,
If you are using a wet grinder, you can skip adding poha and methi seeds.
How to make Soft and Fluffy Idlis
Soaking the lentils and idly rava
In a bowl, add urad dal, poha, and methi seeds. Wash and rinse them 2-3 times, or until the water runs clear.
Add 3 times the water (should be completely submerged in water) and soak for 2-4 hours.
Take idli rava in a separate vessel, and add water till it is submerged in the water. Stir and swirl with your hand and keep aside for 30 seconds. The rava will settle to the bottom. Drain the water.
Repeat the step 2-3 times.
Add 3 cups of fresh water and soak for 2 hours.
Making the batter
After 2 hours, drain the water from the dal and add it to the mixie jar. Start by grinding without adding any water. Scrape the sides, add 1/8th cup (a few tablespoons of chilled water) and grind on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Add chilled water and grind until the dal is ground to smooth paste.
Lastly, add a little chilled water and use the pulse or whipper mode 2-3 times. The batter will be fluffy. Transfer it to the container (deep large vessel).
Let the mixie grinder rest for 5-10 minutes before grinding the second batch.
Note: If you live in a cold place, do not discard the water. Use the same water to grind the dal.
Take rava in your palm and squeeze by applying a little pressure to remove the excess water. Add it to the ground dal batter. Repeat the process and add all the squeezed rava.
Mix everything well. Use your clean hand and mix the batter for 2-3 minutes to kick start the fermentation process. Do not skip this process.
Cover the container with a lid/plate and set the batter aside to ferment.