Idli – A Healthy Meal. Making idli in a food processor.

Idli is a South Indian dish. Its very healthy and i can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, anytime of the day. Each idli is about 40 calories only. Its made out of rice & urad dal. It requires a lot of time & prep work. Takes about 9 hours to make it, but its well worth it.

Making idli after coming to USA was a real challenge since i din’t have a wet grinder. I tried making it in a Cuisinart food processor. Sometimes my batter would not get fermented & the rice would still be a lot grainier than it should be. The idli’s would also turn out hard and i would miss my mom’s soft idli’s. One of my first attempts to making idli which I’m very ashamed to share : –


Yeah; I dint know that the batter would double in size when fermented. I just kept my batter overnight & next day assumed its fermented and went ahead making idli’s from it with high hopes. All shattered. I made dosa’s out of that batter as it never got fermented.

Nonetheless I’ve cracked it and now my idli’s turn out really soft & fluffy. And i found a food processor that works really well. Its Oster blender 12 speed. The design is really bad but it works really well.


What you need:

Idli rice: 3 cups

Urad dal: 1 cup if using whole urad dal. 1 1/2 cup if using split urad dal.

Poha: 1 cup

Fenugreek seeds: 1 tsp

Salt: 5 tsp

Water: 2 cups


– Wash & Soak idli rice + fenugreek seeds overnight in the same bowl.


– Wash & Soak urad dal in a seperate bowl for 4 – 5 hours.


– Soak poha for 1 hour.

– Use the water you soaked the urad dal in for grinding. Grind them in batches. It took me approx 2 cups of water. First grind the urad dal in 2 batches with each batch consuming 1/2 cup water.


– Grind the rice & fenugreek seeds in 3 batches with 1 cup rice per batch adding little water at a time. In each batch i also add 2 – 3 tbsp of soaked poha. The rice would be just a slightly grainy & when you add the poha along for grinding aim for thick batter. It should not be runny.


– Add 5 tsp salt to the batter.


– Now use your washed hands to mix the salt with the batter. I suggest you don’t skip this step. The heat from the hand helps kick start the fermentation. Use your hands and beat the whole mixture for 5 mins. Mix it really well with your hands.


– Use a big container to keep this batter. If your container is not big enough then divide the batter into two containers. Cover it & keep it overnight in a warm place preferably in your oven with the light on.

– Next day, the batter will double in size & will have a distinctive smell to it, which is a clear sign that it is fermented. It would be bubbly i.e., it would have bubbles.


– As you can see in the two pics, the batter has almost reached the top of my container.

How to make Idli:

– You will need a idli maker. It is steamed.

– Fill 2 cups of water in your steamer & keep it on high.

– Meanwhile, grease the idli mould with oil. And pour the idli batter into it, a little at a time. Its gonna puff up so fill it only till the rim.


– Once the water starts boiling in the steamer, insert the mould in it & close it. Turn the heat to medium & steam it for 12 mins.

– Once done, take it off the heat & let it sit for 2 mins. Then, open the steamer carefully.


– Give them 5 minutes. Then remove them out using a big tooth spoon.

– Serve with Sambar & chutney.






2 thoughts on “Idli – A Healthy Meal. Making idli in a food processor.

  1. Basak yilmaz says:

    Hi, it’s been 4 years you posted this but if you are still around I’d like to ask you a question. Are you still using your osetra food processor? I need a food processor but I also want something like indian wet grinders but that would be too costly and I don’t have enough space to put them all. Your post is a god sent but I’d love to get aome feedback. Thanks so much🙏

    • Glad I can help. I have moved on to Priya eco plus grinder. It’s well worth the investment. The rice gets processed finer than the processor mentioned in this recipe and the idli’s come out better.

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