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.






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