I think of my ever patient dear mum as I am writing this – as a kid I used to complain to eat Idlis as I did not think it was exotic enough – in fact I thought it was the most insipid dish!
I felt it was a “dodgy or cop out ” dish  served to you because it was an easy dish for mum to prepare!! but ofcourse my mum like most mums  did not give me much choice.  So here I am not only eating them but making them on a regular basis for the family……….!!

Idlis are ideal for parties as they take lesser time to prepare and can also cater for a large number of people.
Generally 12- 20 idlis can be made at one time.    These moulds are stacked one on top of the other.

Idlis have a high nutritious value and are very healthy as they are steamed. 

Ingredients to make approximately 50-60  Idlis

4 ½ Cups Par Boiled Rice
20 Cups Water (to soak)
1 Cup Whole Urad Dal
5 Cups Water (to soak)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
3 Tbs Aval (Poha)
2-3 Tsp. Salt

Preparation of the batter

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in the 20 cups of water.
Soak the Urad Dal in 5 cups of water separately
Soak the above overnight or for 7-8 hours
Drain the water leaving quarter of a cup of water in the urad Dal to help in grinding the Dal into a very soft solid batter and keep aside.
Grind the rice by draining the water with the exception of some extra water to help grind it into an slightly coarse semi solid mixture.

Mix both the batters with the salt and cover it with a lid and allow it to ferment during the day for 6-7 hours or overnight.
The batter will rise and is ready for the preparation of the idlis

Batter to make the Idli

Idli Batter

Preparation of the Idlis

A special Idli mould is used to help steam the Idlis.
The Idli mould is now available with a non-stick surface, which is easy to scoop out the Idlis and is less messier.
Below is the picture of an idli mould

Idli Mould

Idli Mould

Grease the mould with a drop of oil in each mould
(optional  if you are using a non stick mould)
Scoop a ladle of the batter and pour just enough into each mould
Steam it for about 6 minutes on high in the pressure cooker without placing the weight.
Reduce the flame and steam it for another minute.
Open the pressure cooker after a couple of minutes
Scoop the Idlis out gently with a spoon.

Idli with Sambar, Chutney and Chutney Powder

Idli Sambar Chutney and Chutney Powder

Note: A large based pan with a lid can be used to make the Idlis instead of a pressure cooker. Quarter of the pan should be filled with water and the mould is to be placed inside and covered with the lid and allowed to steam for about 6-7 minutes.
In cold conditions, to accelerate the process of fermentation of the batter, heat the oven or grill on high for about 7-8 minutes. Make sure the oven or grill is turned off and place the dish of batter inside overnight or during the day for 7-8 hours.
Alternatively, a woollen blanket can be used to cover the dish of batter and left outside.

A mini idli mould is also available, which is a treat especially for little kids – my little niece loves to eat these mini (cocktail)  idlis,  playfully tugging at each one of them!!! This is a great way to entice little kids to eat something healthy!!

Mini or Cocktail Idlis

Mini or Cocktail Idlis

Serving Suggestions:

Idlis are generally served with hot sambhar, coconut chutney and/or chutney powder.



  1. Love love love idlis – And I know what you mean by kutty idlis – My little ones love them too…The best thing about idli dough is that you do them once and lasts the whole week – no thinking about what to make for breakfast the next day – Thank you Shobha for sharing the recipe for the ‘Best Breakkie, Snack, Dinner and Lunch’ of all time…

    • Shobha Krishnan says:

      Thanks Sandhya – that exactly what I am going to do….am planning to make the various dishes that you can make with the batter!!!!!look out for more with this batter!!!

  2. Shylaja Akkaraju says:

    Thank you Shobha! We just bought our first idli grinder. Will start the overnight soak tonight. Will let you know how it turns out! Looks like a very straightforward recipe.

    • Shobha Krishnan says:

      Wow !!Great Shyla Happy Cooking
      Soak the rice and dal for 8-10 hours for the best fluffly idlis!!