Soft and spongy idlis

Idli is a very popular breakfast and daily diet in south India. In Chennai, every body loves to have idly; in restaurants idli is served with vada (medhu vada), chutney and sambar or just idli sambar. Instead of having plain idlies, for a change you can stuff it with any chutney or kheema curry.

Sometimes I make chilli idli and idli Manchurian also.

The idlies are very soft, spongy and tastes good. From my previous idly batter also the idli tastes good, just for a change I keep changing the rice quantity. My friends use 4:1 ratio, that is for rice: urad dal. Even you can change the rice and rice quantity also and grind and can taste the varieties of idlies made from different batter. Each batter gives different texture to the idli. So aim giving you one more recipe for idli and dosa.

From this batter you get very flat , soft and delicate idlies , which I love the most.


  • Parboiled rice – 2cups
  • Raw ponni rice – 1cup
  • Urad dal – 1cup
  • Methi seeds – 1tsp
  • Salt as per taste


  • Soak parboiled ponni rice and raw rice together for 4hrs to 6hrs or overnight also. I have soaked urad dal for ½ hr to 45min; if you want you can soak it for more than 1hr also. Sometimes I have soaked it for 11/2 hrs and also 4 hrs, but my idlies were soft. Soak methi seeds in the rice or uraddal itself.
  • If using only one rice then soak it for 4 hrs to 6hrs and follow the same procedure as I given or can follow my previous idli recipe.
  • Grinding urad dal

  • First grind urad dal, put the urad dal and little water first and grind it, while grinding, you can see that in the photo, if the paste is getting dry and very thick add water, for me 11/2cup of water required to grind, till it gave me good froth, the paste should be very smooth and fluffy like whipped egg or cream. If grinder is not there then grind it in mixer and grind till the mixi gets hot, I mean grind it till urad dal paste is frothy and fluffy. Transfer it into a box.
  • Grinding rice

  • No need to wash the grinder, directly can add both the rice . While grinding rice , you require first 3/4th cup of water, add slowly on the stones and sides where you can see that a thick paste is forming, otherwise the grinder will not move properly or rotate. with the help of spactula can mix the mixture how we stir with a spoon in our vessel, rotate it in the grinder.
  • While grinding add little by little water, for me 2cups to 21/2cups of water was required to grind batter, rice. Water is added to grind the mixture smoothly. In the beginning add 3/4th cup of water for rice then in between (intervals) add 1/4th cup of water, every time whenever it is needed. As soon as the batter gets thick add water, so that grinder runs smoothly.
  • When the rice is grounded into a smooth mixture, the grinding process is completed.
  • Mixing urad dal and rice paste

  • Now add urad dal batter in the rice batter and grind for few minutes together, so that it is mixed well like 5minutes, add salt also during that time. Always add salt carefully, if it is less can be added afterwards also, but not more.
  • For grinding urad dal 25 to 30 min and rice 20 to 25min can be, total time 50 to 55 mins.
  • Some people they mix it both (soak both rice and urad dal) and grind, and it ferments well and idlies are soft also, as I have tasted them.
  • Some people add urad dal first and grind it for 5min and add the rice and grind together for 1/2hr to 40min till they get their consistency.
  • But the method which I have explained to you is the best way, as idlies are very soft.
  • The consistency of the batter should be nor thick and thin. Add water according to your rice and urad dal quality is. The batter should be like custard consistency. In my pictures I have tried the most to help you learn, how to make idlies.
  • For idlies it should be thicker than dosa, as dosa required little thin batter to make dosas.
  • Storage and fermentation

  • Transfer the batter into 2 or 3 boxes but filled half of it, as after fermentation the batter raises. In cold countries, you can ferment and then refrigerate it but in hot places or in india, when the batter is grounded it is kept in fridge. When it is needed, the quantity required is taken and then fermentated. For eg: for next day breakfast, the required amount of batter is taken and kept for fermentation in the night in the kitchen. When the batter is fermentated, in the morning salt is added and idlies or dosa is prepared for break fast. In London, I grind it in the after noon and keep it for fermentation till next day morning, and then only it ferments properly, because of the temperature. For others, if the batter gets fermentated in lesser time, no need to keep it for longer period.
  • Steaming idlis

  • When the batter is fermentated, take the required amount of batter for your family and check salt is sufficient or not. As salt is added while grinding, if not after fermentation can add it.
  • Then put the batter in to the idli plates and steam it for 8 to 10min. after cooking, take out the plates and let it rest for sometime, then idlies will come out easily.
  • Just press it with you finger, whether it is cooked or not.
  • You can refrigerate the idlies and when needed can heat it in microwave and serve it, it will be good.
  • If idli plates are not available, steam it like dhokla is done and when it is cooked cut into pieces and eat it.
  • Some twists

  • For making colourful and tastier just grate carrot and put on the batter or add some dry cooked peas curry in to the plate and close with batter and steam. I have used chutnies and kheema curry, you can see in the photo. For the parties, it will be colourful. You can add few chopped vegetables also to make it vegetable idli.
  • Serve it with chutney and sambar or any curry or kurma.
  • This time I have served it with ginger and mint chutney and chanadal chutney.


  • The batter should be not too thick or too thin. It should be like condensed milk or custard texture.
  • When it ferments, it will be very light and fluffy, and airy, if you mix too much, the airy bubbles will go off, then you won’t get nice soft idlies.
  • While grinding you can use the soaked water to add in it.
  • When cooked you can see that it won’t stick to your hands like raw batter.
  • If you grease the idli plates with oil, just a drop of oil and apply it with your fingers on plate, then put batter and steam it. When it is cooked, it will come out easily.
  • While grinding urad dal, let it grind in a mixer for a while till the mixer gets hot as, the urad dal has to be grounded well in a mixer, if you do not have grinder.

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