Idly is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish, made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. With tips from elders and experience of idly making for a few years, I can now confidently say that I have a recipe for the perfect idly. This is a perfect first food for your baby too. I started this for my son when he was 9 months old.

As always, I would recommend you to check with your doctor before introducing any new food for your baby. Once you start a new food, follow the 3-4 day rule, i.e wait for 3 days before starting the next new food to watch out for any reactions

Idly is a food that can be enjoyed by all age groups: babies, kids and adults 😊

To make idly it is best if you have an equipment called a wet grinder. Something similar to this : Premier Wonder Table Top Wet Grinder 110v 1.5L

However I have also heard success stories of making idly batter in the Vitamix blender. 

Soaking time: 6-7 hours 

Grinding time : 30-40 minutes 

Yields: Around 8 qt idly batter


  • I use a rice nazhi for my measurements of rice and dal,   nazhi is a big cup used for measuring rice in most house holds. This is an approximate conversion in cup measure:
    • 1 nazhi idly rice or raw rice  = 1 3/4 cup idly rice or raw rice 
    • 1 nazhi urad dal = 1 3/4 cup urad dal
  • 4 nazhis idly rice or white parboiled rice ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores )
  • A handful of raw rice 
  • 1 1/4 nazhi whole urad dal ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores)
  • 1 tbsp methi seeds or fenugreek seeds ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores )
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Water, as needed (Approximately 4.5 cups of water will be needed to make the batter)


Note : I have used a wet grinder for grinding the batter 

  • Wash thoroughly and soak urad dal and rice separately in plenty of water for 6 hours. Soak the methi seeds separately in water
  • While grinding, you can use the same water used for soaking. Drain and collect the soaked water in another vessel
  • Place the soaked methi in the grinder, add around 1/8 cup water and grind for a minute
  • Add the soaked urad dal, around 1/2 cup water and continue grinding. Keep adding 1/2 cup of water at regular intervals while the grinder is running. The batter should become smooth and fluffy. Allow about 20 minutes for dal grinding. (For 1 nazhi or 1 3/4 cup urad , you will need up adding around 3 – 3 1/4 cups of water)
  • This is how the fluffy and smooth urad dal batter should look: 
  • Remove the dal paste and place the soaked rice in grinder.  Add 1/2 a cup of water initially and keep adding water at regualar intervals. Rice paste should be ground coarsely for making soft idlis. Grind the rice for around 10-15 minutes (The rice paste will need approximately 1 1/2 cups of water)
  • When done, add salt and the collected dal paste to the rice paste and mix well with a ladle for few minutes till both the batters blend well. The final idli batter should be of medium thickness and of pouring consistency
  • Leave overnight (8-10 hrs) for fermentation till it rises well
  • Whisk the dough with a spoon in the morning
  •   Grease the idli mould with oil and fill the dough in the cups of the idli stand. Pour 1 cup of water in the pressure pan or fill up to the required level in an idly cooker
  • Steam the idlis for 10-15 minutes until well cooked and soft. Remove the stand from the cooker. Cool slightly and remove the idlies one by one from the idly mould using a spoon
  • Serve hot and enjoy with sambhar or chutney 😊

Note: The idly batter can be stored in a refrigerator. You can enjoy soft idlies for at least 3-4 days and then make dosa from the same batter too 


2 thoughts on “Idly

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