Soft, fluffy, and melt-in-the-mouth idli is a South Indian delicacy. There are many ways to make this humble recipe. In today’s post, I am going to share a very simple and step-by-step recipe for making Andhra idli. Idli is a heart-healthy, nutritious, vegan and plant-based recipe with no fat and zero cholesterol.
About This Recipe
Idli is steamed rice and lentil cake with subtle taste and mellow flavour. The two main ingredients in making idli are urad dal and idli rava or idli rice. In Andhra, we usually make idli with idli rava. Andhra Idli is light, airy and slightly coarse in texture.
There are many ways of making idli batter. The recipe which I am going to share with you in this post is very basic, simple and easy to make. As idli is a combination of cereal-pulse it makes a complete healthy meal.
The good thing about idlis is, you can relish these in breakfast, lunch or dinner or as a snack. You can even pack these in lunch box.
History of Idli
Do you know, in olden days idlis were made by soaking black lentils in buttermilk and then ground to fine paste by adding clear water of curds. As per records addition of rice or rice cream is unknown till 17th century.
In the olden days, when idli moulds were not so popular or not available, the thick idli batter was poured on a clean muslin cloth or banana leaf then placed or tied tightly over the mouth of a heavy bottomed vessel, which is half filled with water. By placing a lid over the top and allowing water to boil till the batter is completely cooked.
The idli made by this procedure is often big in shape and size, so they use to cut into bite-size pieces and serve. Over the times the idli moulds | idli cooker hit the market reducing the hectic work. Now it is just three steps, grease the idli plates, pour the batter and steam.
Andhra Idli Ingredients
Urad Dal – Black lentil or Vigna mungo, Mash ki dal, Minapa pappu (Telugu) are other names of urad dal. Generally we make idlis with whole white urad dal (gundu minapa pappu | urad gota). We can also make idlis with whole black urad dal (which we call it as pottu minapa pappu or chilkae wali dal). Idlis with whole black urad dal are more nutritious and healthy.
Idli Rava – As I mentioned in the post above, in Andhra we make idlis with idli rava (rawa). There are different names for this. Some of them are idli sooji, idli ravai, cream of rice, rice suji, rice sooji, etc. This is easily available in any grocery store. You can even buy this online from bigbasket or amazon.
I prefer using fine idli rava. It is easy to mix fine idli rava in urad dal batter. Read more on this in Tips Section below.
Fenugreek | Methi – Just a pinch of fenugreek seeds do wonders to idli batter. These seeds help in making softer idlis and also helps in keeping the batter fresh. Fenugreek seeds helps in the process of fermentation by increasing the viscosity of the batter and also traps gas which is released during fermentation.
Idli Batter – 3 Ways
Grinding Idli Batter In Mixie
As we are family of four, I prefer grinding fresh batter every alternate day. As the quantity of dal and rava is less, I use mixer for grinding idli batter.
If you are using mixie, then use big jar for grinding idli batter. First add urad dal along with fenugreek seeds and little water to the jar. Grind for 30 seconds on medium speed and then using a wooden or plastic or silicon spatula mix the batter.
Grind to smooth by adding little more water, if required. Once the batter is smooth, remove the batter into a bowl and add idli rava.
Mix well and leave this to ferment for 6-8 hours.
NOTE: Before adding idli rava, squeeze all the water from the rava and add it to the urad dal. Mix thoroughly and set aside to ferment.
Grinding Idli Batter In Wet Grinder
Drain the water from urad dal and add it to the wet grinder along with ½ cup of water. Grind for 15-20 minutes depending on the size and capacity of the wet grinder.
For every 5 minutes, add ½ cup of water and grind the dal until soft and fluffy. Carefully collect the batter in a bowl and add idli rava by (squeezing out all the water from rava).
Mix well and leave this to ferment for 6-8 hours.
Grinding Idli Batter In Vitamix
To grind batter in vitamix, first add urad dal along with fenugreek seeds. Add ½ cup of chilled water and grind until smooth. Add more water if required.
Remove the batter in a bowl and then add idli rava (squeeze the water from the rava). Mix well and leave this to ferment.
The consistency of the batter should be of like ketchup (smooth, flowy and velvety).
Fermenting Idli Batter
Fermentation of idli batter totally depends on the weather of the place, you live in. If you stay in a warm weather place, then it takes 6-7 hours for the idli batter to ferment.
But if you are living in a cold place or if it is winter or rainy season, follow these tips to ferment the batter:
Oven Method: Leave the idli batter bowl in the pre-heated oven. Turn on the oven light and leave it for 2-3 hours. After 2-3 hours, turn off the oven light and leave it for another 2 hours in the oven.
Instant Pot: Place the batter bowl in the instant pot and close with glass lid. Press yogurt button and start. It will take 8-10 hours to ferment. The settings of instant pot vary from model to model, do read the instructions carefully.
You can even wrap woolen shawl around the batter bowl and place it in a warm and dark, moisture free kitchen corner to ferment.
Storing Idli Batter
Always store the idli batter in a clean and dry moisture free bowl. You can use stainless steel or tupperware or glass bowl for storing the batter.
Cover the bowl with a lid and leave it in a clean and dry moisture free dark corner of the kitchen counter.
After grinding the batter, I divide it into two bowls. One bowl I will leave on the kitchen counter for fermenting and the other I keep it in the fridge to use next day.
Remove the batter from fridge before 5-6 hours of making idlis.
Tips & Tricks To Make Soft Idlis
- Choose fine idli rava. If fine idli rava is not available, then, soak the rava for 4-5 hours. squeeze the water from rava and then grind it along with urad dal.
- If using fine idli rava, there is no need to soak it. Wash idli rava thoroughly, squeeze all the water and add it to the urad dal batter.
- Add fenugreek seeds to urad dal and thoroughly wash for 2-3 times.
- Soak in enough fresh water for at least 4-5 hours. Add more water to urad dal, as urad dal gets double in size upon soaking by absorbing all the water.
- After 2 hours of soaking, I transfer the urad dal bowl to fridge and leave it for another 2-3 hours till I grind the batter.
- When we are grinding the urad dal in a mixer jar, always add chilled water. Adding chilled water will keep the mixer jar cool and helps in grinding the batter smoothly.
- Store the batter in a big bowl (tupperware or stainless steel or glass bowl) and cover it with a lid.
- Remember, the batter will just doubles and sometimes it more than doubles on fermenting. So always use a bowl which has more room to hold the batter upon fermenting.
- Always fill the batter to ¾ of the mould, so that there is sufficient place for the batter to rise while steaming.
- I prefer using stainless steel idli cooker. I usually brush the idli plates with a drop of oil. Some people line idli plates with fine unbleached pure cotton muslin cloth.
How Many hours do we need to soak urad dal for idli?
4-5 hours of soaking for urad dal and 1-2 hours for idli rava. If using idli rice, then soak idli rice for 4-5 hours. If using fine idli rava, then no need to soak, you can wash and directly add idli rava to urad dal batter.
What Is The Ratio Of Idli Batter To Idli Rava?
For Andhra idli batter proportion, I normally follow 1:2 ratio. For 1 cup of urad dal, I use 2 cups of idli rava. This ratio works perfectly for making Andhra idli batter recipe.
Should Idli Batter Be Thick?
The consistency of idli batter should be slightly thick than dosa batter.
Do We Mix Salt In Idli Batter?
I prefer adding salt, after fermentation, just before pouring the batter in the idli mould.
Recipes With Leftover Idli Batter
Apart from making idlis, there are plenty of recipes, you can try with Idli Batter.
Punugulu – Crispy and crunchy Andhra street snack recipe with finely chopped ginger, green chili, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
Curd Idli – Melt in mouth idlis dunked in creamy curd with tempering and crunchy boondi.
Idli Sambar – Comforting, delicious, aromatic and flavourful combination. Spicy sambar and soft idli, comfort food and mood lifter on any day.
Paniyaram | Gunta Punugulu – Yet another breakfast and snack recipe. Fry sliced onions, green chilies, cumin seeds, curry leaves and add it to the idli batter. Mix well and make paniyaram.
Podi Idli – Andhra podi idli is famous for its spice and taste. Smear the idlis with desi ghee and top it with spicy karam podi. Serve with chutney.
Spot Idli – A popular Hyderabad street snack with lots of flavour and taste.
Apart from this, we can also make oats idli, ragi idli, brown rice idli, red rice idli, poha idli, etc. Just add 2-3 tbsp. of oats or millet or poha or rice while grinding the batter and make n number of variations.
You can also make dosa, uttapam, masala appe, dibba rotti, mash ki roti, etc.
Check Notes section in Recipe Card below for recipes with leftover idlis.
- 1 cup Urad dal | Black lentils
- 2 cups Idli Rava
- ½ tbsp. Fenugreek seeds
- Salt to taste
- Chilled water, as required
- Oil for greasing
Steps To Prepare Soft and Fluffy Idli
Step 1: Soaking
- Take urad dal and idli rava in two separate bowls. Add fenugreek seeds to urad dal and wash them thoroughly with enough water for 2-3 times.
- Now add water and soak urad dal and idli rava.
- Add more water to urad dal, as it will absorb water and fluff in 1-2 hours.
- Soak these for at least 6-8 hours.
NOTE: After 2 hours, when the urad dal is nice and fluff, I will keep the bowl in the refrigerator to chill. This step is must, if you are grinding the batter in mixer. Read more about this in the post above.
Step 2: Grinding
- Drain the water from urad dal and add it to the big mixer jar. Add ¼ glass of chilled water and grind the urad dal until coarse.
- To this now add idli rava (completely drain water from idli rava) and grind until smooth and frothy. If required add little water and grind to medium thick consistency.
Step 3: Fermentation
- Remove the batter in a big bowl and whisk gently to avoid lumps.
- Cover and leave it to ferment overnight or 6-9 hours in a warm place.
Step 4: Preparing Batter
- Once the batter is fermented (doubled in size), add salt and mix well.
- Brush the Idli plates with little ghee or oil and pour in the batter.
- Tap gently to even the batter.
Step 5: Steaming
- In an idli cooker or pressure cooker, add 2-3 glasses of water. Bring this boil.
- When the water starts to boil, reduce the flame and carefully place the idli mould inside the cooker.
- Cover with lid. If using pressure cooker, then do not use whistle.
- Steam the idlis for 12-15 minutes.
How To Check If Idli Is Cooked?
- idli cooker will have a whistle, which helps in knowing that idlis are cooked. A long whistle indicates that idlis are cooked.
- If using pressure cooker, then insert a toothpick in the center of the idli and check. If the toothpick comes out clean, then idlis are ready.
How To Remove Idli From The Idli Mould?
- Once the idlis are ready, tuen off the flame and leave the cooker to sit on the stove for 5 minutes.
- Now carefully remove the lid and set aside. Using a kitchen towel or tissue, remove the idli stand.
- Using a flat wet spoon, carefully run the spoon along the edges of the mould and scoop out the idlis from the mould.
- Transfer the idlis to hot box till you serve or eat them.
Step 6: Serving
- There are unlimited ways of serving idlis. But my all time flavourite condiment is peanut chutney and karam podi with a drizzle of hot ghee.
- Add love to make this Idlis taste 'Yummy'.
How To Reheat Idlis?
To reheat leftover or cold ildi’s, dip one by one in cold water and transfer them into a microwave proof bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Hot idli’s are ready to serve.
Recipes With Leftover idlis
Masala idli, Idli Upma, Kaima Idli, Idli Manchurian, Crispy Idli Fry, tawa idli, Podi Idli, Chilli Idli Fry, Idli 65, etc.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 478mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 9gSugar: 2gProtein: 13g
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.