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How To Make Perfect Idli at Home

Easy tips and tricks to make soft and fluffy idlis from scratch

Idli is a flavourful steamed rice cake made using the batter of fermented black lentils and parboiled rice. The idli recipe may have originated in south India but now it is a popular breakfast recipe across the country. Idli is usually served with sambar and coconut chutney. These rice cakes are also accompanied by other south Indian vegetable curries such as allam pachadi, potato korma and kadalai curry, to name a few. Other chutneys usually enjoyed with a serving of idli include milagai podi, beetroot chutney, pudina chutney and tomato kara chutney. Idli is considered a healthy food item because the idli recipe is made using fermented batter and is steamed instead of being fried.

Idli Recipe
The idli recipe may look like it is time-consuming but making fluffy idlis at home is definitely not a tedious task, once you have the ingredients and method sorted. Check out this simple idli recipe to get started.

Ingredients:
2 cups parboiled rice
½ cup urad dal without skin (whole black gram)
½ cup poha (flattened rice)
Salt as per taste
Water (for grinding)
Oil (for greasing the moulds)

Method:
Pre-prep for idli batter:

1.    Before you begin with the idli recipe, you have to make the idli batter. Wash the urad dal and soak it in a wide bowl. In a separate bowl, combine parboiled rice and poha. Wash the ingredients thoroughly and then soak them in water. Keep both bowls aside overnight or for at least 4 hours.

2.    Wash and drain the soaked urad dal and grind it into a smooth paste. Adding some water to the dal will help smoothen the paste’s texture. Transfer the paste into a big bowl and keep aside.

3.    Next, wash and drain all the water from the soaked parboiled rice and poha mix. Grind it into a coarse paste. Add some water, if required. Make sure that the rice batter isn’t too grainy.

4.    Transfer the rice batter in the same bowl as the urad dal paste and mix well. Add salt (as required) and mix again. Make sure that the bowl is big enough to allow the idli batter to rise after fermentation. Also make sure that the idli batter’s consistency is neither too thick nor too thin. Cover the bowl and set it aside in a warm place for around 12 hours or overnight to let the batter ferment.

Making the idlis:
5.    Heat some water in an idli pot. Grease the idli moulds with some oil and pour the fermented idli batter. Steam the batter for 12 to 14 minutes.

6.    To check if the idli is ready, poke it with a knife. If it comes out clean, the idli is ready.

7.    Demould the idlis and they are ready to serve. 

Tips to Make Soft and Fluffy Idlis
Now that you know how to make the idli recipe at home, it is time to ace it with the help of expert tips. Chef Pankaj Bhadouria shares five hacks to make sure that the idlis you make at home turn out soft and fluffy just like the ones you enjoy at a restaurant. Psst… did you know? The secret to making perfect idlis lies in the batter and what you do with it. Find out about this idli batter secret.

More Idli Recipes
…because eating plain idlis with the usual sambar and chutney can get boring sometimes. 

Bread Idli Recipe

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Got no time to make idlis from scratch? Here is an easy-peasy idli recipe that uses leftover bread instead of the usual rice and dal batter. This bread idli recipe with aloo tikkis is a yummy and filling evening snack or breakfast item. 

Couscous & Corn Idli Recipe

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The couscous and corn idli is Chef Gautam Mehrishi’s take on the traditional idli recipe. Couscous is a great plant-based protein and is loaded with micronutrients that boost the immune system. Check out the step-by-step recipe here.

Read about more immunity-boosting foods.

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Idli Pizza Muffins Recipe

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Click here for step-by-step recipe
This fusion of idli, pizza and muffins by LF experts is going to be a hit among kids. This idli recipe can be prepared under 30 minutes and requires just seven ingredients. 

Green Moong Idli Recipe
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Click here for step-by-step recipe
With the many health benefits that green moong comes loaded with, it is only logical to include it in your daily diet. But how do you do it? Well, begin with this green moong idli recipe by Chef Ranveer Brar for a healthy breakfast option. Read more about the health benefits of sprouts and ways to include them in your daily diet.

Idli with Mushroom & Cheese Toppings Recipe

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Got some leftover idlis? Use them to make this easy and delicious vegetarian appetiser. It is basically toasted idlis served with a topping of cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers and other veggies.
Click here for step-by-step recipe

Brown Rice & Urad Dal Idli Recipe

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Another attempt from Chef Gautam Mehrishi to give the traditional idli a healthy twist is this brown rice and urad dal idli recipe. What’s more interesting is the fact that he makes them in appam moulds with coconut oil. Click here for step-by-step recipe

Multigrain Idli Recipe
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Click here for step-by-step recipe

Start your day on a healthy note with this multigrain idli recipe by Chef Ranveer Brar. The LF expert mixes gram, jowar, rice and ragi flours to make these idlis. Not just that, he even adds sesame seeds, coconut and curd to improve this vegetarian appetiser’s overall flavour and texture. Click here for the health benefits of ragi and jowar.

Idli’s best accompaniment: Sambar
The award for the best accompaniment to idli goes to… SAMBAR! Sure, there’s coconut chutney but idli lovers will agree when we say that the dish is incomplete without a piping hot bowl of this lentil-based broth. Oh, and did we mention, it is healthy too? Try this easy sambar recipe to make idlis yummier and more interesting.

Ways to Use Leftover Idli
Finding yourself with leftover idlis is common. While reheating it in the microwave or steamer for a couple of minutes is a good idea, there is no harm in being a little adventurous and experimenting with the idlis. Check out our list of ingenious recipes that will help you give leftover idlis a makeover.

More Indian Breakfast Options
As most experts say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Apparently, it sets the tone for the rest of your day. So, there’s no way you want to mess with this meal. But with hurried mornings, we understand that sitting and eating a wholesome breakfast can get a bit difficult. Hence, we’re here with a list of easy, healthy yet tasty breakfast options that will help you power up your day.

Udupi Cuisine Beyond Idli
While most associate Udupi cuisine with dosas, idlis and medu vada, it’s time to realise there’s more to Udupi cuisine than just these dishes. Local corporator of Udupi, Amrita Krishnamoorthy, helps LF readers get a detailed look at the cuisine’s traditional dishes, indigenous vegetables and spices. 

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4 Ways South India Uses Rice
Idli and dosa are fine but how many of you have tried neer dosa, chakodi, pathiri and ela ada? Let’s look at the lesser-known but equally delicious dishes south India makes with rice.

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