White, soft, round, fluffy, light, pillowy are all the adjectives that can be used to describe the humble Idli. Idli can be termed as a diet food and very healthy as it is steamed. It is basically rice and urad dal soaked and ground to a fine batter then fermented overnight and steamed in idli molds.

It is loaded with B Vitamins as the batter is fermented and then steamed. It can be given to adults, kids and babies too.

I use a grinder which I got from India many years back. It is easily available in indian stores in the US now. It is one of my most prized possessions in the kitchen. Growing up in a south indian household idli and dosa are quintessential meals and are made on a very regular basis. Everybody has a different proportion of rice and dal they use to make this dish. This is my Amma’s recipe which is my granny’s original recipe.

Idli can be served with coconut chutney or sambar for any meal of the day. The recipe I’m giving below is good enough to make about 35-40 idlis. You can easily halve the recipe depending on your requirement. If you don’t want to use the entire batter at once, it can be easily refrigerated and used up to 5-6 days.

Cocktail Idli can also be made using this batter.


10-12 people

Prep Time

3 hours, soaking rice and dal, 30-35 minutes grinding, overnight fermenting.

Cook Time

10-12 minutes for steaming

Total Time

About 12 hours including soaking, grinding, fermentation and steaming


  • 1 ¼ cup split urad dal
  • 3 ¾ cups idli rice or any kind of rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water for urad dal and 3-4 cups water for rice for grinding


Step 1
Soak urad dal and rice separately for 3-4 hours.

Step 2
Drain the water from the dal and grind in a grinder for 10-15 minutes with 1 cup of water.

Step 3
Drain water from the rice and add to the dal along with 3-4 cups of water. After 35–40 minutes the batter will be light and fluffy.

Step 4
Add a tsp of salt and mix well. Pour the batter into a pan and cover and keep in a warm place for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 5
By next day the batter will have fermented giving it a risen and puffed appearance. Mix the batter well and proceed to steam.

Step 6
To steam pour about 2-3 cups of water in the dish and grease the idli molds lightly with oil. Pour batter into the molds and place in the steamer. Cover the lid and steam for 10-12 minutes.

Step 7
Turn off the flame and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Using a spoon or a knife loosen the edges of idli from the mold and serve hot with sambar and chutney.

Notes: Using idli rice gives excellent results, if you don’t have it regular rice will do.

Fermentation also depends how warm or cold the weather is. During summer the batter will ferment in 6 hours but not so in winter. It can take longer than overnight for the batter to ferment.

The water required to grind the batter can vary, the resulting batter should be thick like that of pancake batter.


  1. Veena

    All time favorite. Idli making looks easy but not everyone can make a perfect one. ( iam one among them) sad to admit, but true . Will definitely try your version. 👍

    • Fusion Kitchen Tales

      I guess everyone has different proportions and how they like it to be also. Sure try my recipe..


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The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.

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