Tips and Tricks for making Idli Batter

I get a lot of mails everyday about idli batter fermentation. This post might be useful for all the people trying to make soft idlies at home. If you are specifically looking for recipes, here they are.
How to make idli batter in wet grinder. This is my preferred method.
How to make idli batter using an Indian heavy duty mixie
How to make idli batter using idli rava /rawa.

So lets talk about the ingredients first. The first important ingredient in making idli is the urad dal.
Urad Dal
There are basically four kinds of urad dal thats available in the market.
The black whole urad dal. Nothing but the urad dal with the husk still on. This is not good for making idlies. But they make the fantastic dal bukhara.


The second is the split black urad dal. Its same as the previous one but its just that each grain of dal is split into two. This is the dal my mother and my grand mother used for a long time to make idli. This dal makes hands down the bestest idli. The down side of this dal is that it involves a lot of labour. Its time consuming. So if you have decided to go the old fashioned way and want to make idlies with this dal, here is what you should do.
Soak the split urad dal for 3-4 hours in lots of water. Then try rubbing the dal in your palm. Some of the black husk attached to the dal will get seperated. Drain the water along with the husk. Again fill the vessel with water and rub the dal in your palms. Repeat until all the husk is removed and only the white part of the dal remains. It will take about 15 minutes of rubbing and washing. After all the washing, a little bit of black husk – one or two here and there would remain and that’s fine. If you have the time, go ahead and try this atleast once. Its very rewarding.


Then comes the white whole urad dal. Its the urad dal without the husk or skin. The naked dal. This is the dal we use now for making idlies. But there is a catch. There are two varieties of this white whole urad dal available in the market. The polished dal popularly referred to as nylon urad and the unpolished white urad dal. We will use only unpolished urad dal.


The last one is the split white urad dal. Its the urad dal without its skin which has been split. This is popularly referred to as the tempering / tadka dal. We do not use this dal.


Why selecting the dal is important.
The factory process of removing the husk from the dal requires a certain amount of heat. The heat might have muted some of the good bacteria thats needed for fermentation.
The modern manufacturing methods have reduced this by a great extent, so using unpolished whole white urad dal is ok. But if you are a purist, go the grandmas route and buy split black urad dal and de husk the dal yourself.

Now the rice.
The only rice that will give you desired results while making idli is par boiled rice. Raw rice doesnt work. In particular, a par-boiled variety called idly rice is extensively used for making idli in the Tamilnadu region. The technical variety of parboiled rice thats referred to as simply “idly rice” is called as “salem kara” or “salem car”. If you cannot procure idly rice, try getting a good quality par boiled rice. Idly rice is a unique short grained fat rice. Here is a picture of idli rice.


Now, the fenugreek seeds.
I need to be honest with you here. This is an optional ingredient. But I love the flavor that fenugreek imparts in the idli or dosa. Thats the flavor that reminds me of childhood. Its healthy and it also aids in fermentation. But if you use a lot, your idli is going to be bitter. The smell of idli, and particularly the dosa roasting on a pan is something that I look forward to every time. Fermented fenugreek seeds is an important reason for that unforgettable dosa aroma. Its like petrichor. Something mostly everyone loves.
But if you dont like fenugreek seeds, you can just omit them. If you want a really really white idli, skip the fenugreek seeds.

What type of salt is used?
Rock Salt. The simple reason for using rock salt is that its minimally processed and may not contain anything else other than salt. Table salt contains other ingredients such as anti-caking agents etc… which may interfere in fermentation. So try avoiding table salt while making idli.

Other Ingredients people add while making idli batter
The two most common ingredients that I see people adding now to get more fluffier idlies are
Sabudana and Avalakki
Sabudana (Sago) or Javvarisi is a by product of Tapioca root that’s been cooked and dried. Any cooked and dried product when comes in contact with water rots (ferments) faster. In our case sabudana aids in fermentation by helping good bacteria do its work more efficiently.
Avalakki – Beaten rice – Poha
Avalakki is made from Paddy. Paddy is soaked and cooked in hot water and then dried. The dried paddy is roasted and pressed to make flakes. So it gives the same effect as Sabudana.


Idli Rava / Idli Rawa
Even though many people use idli rava to make idlies, I do not prefer this method the most. Have this as the last resort. Its ok to make idlies using idli rava when you are in a hurry. But the texture is going to be different. Also the shelf life of the batter is very limited. You will start getting hard idlies on the second day. If you are used to eating soft idlies from a wet grinder, you will not like the idlies from this method.

So that’s about the ingredients. Here are some of the common questions I get asked frequently.

The one common comment I get from a lot of readers is that, their idlies did not rise and the idlies were flat. The main reason is watery or runny batter. Watery batter will not rise and the idlies will be hard and flat. So use caution while grinding and do not add too much water while grinding. The batter will thin out a little after fermentation. So a BIG CAUTION on using water. Please use correct measurements as mentioned in the recipe.

Can you tell me something about fermentation?
Fermentation of Idli batter is carried out largely by lactic acid bacteria. Not yeast. There are two kinds of lactic acid bacteria. Homofermentive and heterofermentive.
Homofermentive lactic acid bacteria produces only lactic acid.
Heterofermentive bacteria – the Idli bacteria (Leuconostoc mesenteroides) produces carbon dioxide in addition to lactic acid.

Why the wet grinder method is superior than the mixie method?
Number 1. The ingredients do not get heated up while grinding in a wet grinder. The same is not the case with the mixie. The wet grinder method is slow but its the best.
Number 2 and the most important factor. The urad dal when ground in the wet grinder fluffs up in volume. This wont happen in the mixie.

When to add salt?
There are two schools of thought. Whether to add salt while fermenting or to add it later. There is no right or wrong thing when it comes to adding salt. Its just a matter of choice. Salt inhibits fermentation and interferes with good bacteria to a certain extent. So one might want to add the salt after fermentation. At the same time, if you live in a hot and humid place then salt might be your friend because your batter will not be over fermented and will not turn sour soon. So when do I add salt? I add salt to the batter before fermenting in summers and add it after fermenting in winters.

My mixie is getting heated up. What can I do?
The one thing thats important while grinding batter in a mixie is to make sure that the mixie jar doesnt get heated up. Invariably thats going to happen. So what to do about it. Use ice water to grind the ingredients.

Do I need to wash the ingredients before soaking?
Yes. of course. Especially idli rice if you want whiter idlies. Wash it several times in running water. The water should run clear after some time.

How long do I soak the ingredients?
Minimum of 4 hours. Maximum – over nite.
I prefer the over nite method.

So what is the consistency of the batter?
Lets say, thick pouring consistency. The consistency that resembles a thick pan cake batter.
When the ladle from the batter is lifted and the idli batter falls from the ladle , it should form a slight ribbon which slowly becomes flat on the surface. If its too thick or the ribbon takes longer time to dissolve, add a little water to the batter.  Here is a video!

Can I use the water that I soaked the dal and rice while grinding?
You may. No harm in it. But if you want whiter idlies, drain the water completely and use fresh water for grinding.

My idli batter doesnt rise in the idli pan. Why?
The main reason for the idli pan to cook flat is that the batter was too runny.

How long do I cook the idlies?
Idli takes roughly about 7-10 minutes to cook. Insert the back of a spoon after 7 minutes and if it comes out clean without wet batter, the idlies are good to go.

My idli doesnt come off the pan? Please help.
First, Always grease the idli plates with a little oil before ladling the batter.
Do not try removing idlies from the idli plates as soon as it comes out from the steamer. Wait for 2-3 minutes.
If you are in a hurry. Pour little water on the back of the idli plate. It will help in easy release of idlies.
Also use a sharp spoon to spoon out the idlies from the idli mould.

What is thuni idli?
Thuni idli is nothing but idlies made on a cloth. Thuni means cloth in tamil. If you are a purist, then this is how you will make idlies. This is how idlies are made in hotels.
Just line a wet cloth (just wet NOT dripping with water) on top of the idli plates and ladle out the idli batter on the plates. Steam as usual. The resultant idlies will be called as gourmet idlies. They are by far the best idlies I have ever eaten. Long live thuni idlies.


Why my idli sticks to the upper idli pan?
There is a way to set the idli pans, one on top of the other. The dent from the upper mould should be inbetween the dents of the lower mould. There need to be room for the idlies to expand or it will hit the upper mold.

Do I need a special idli cooker for cooking idlies?
No. Any pan with lid that can accomodate the idli plates / moulds will work. Add a little water on the bottom and place the idli plates on top of it. Cover with the lid and steam. Here is an example of a make shift pressure pan steamer.


I live in cold weather. My batter never ferments. Please help?
If you have an oven in your home, then put the pilot light on and then leave the batter inside the oven. The heat from the light will warm up the oven compartment and will help in fermenting the batter.
I do not have an oven. What do I do?
1) You will need two things. A small table lamp and a blanket.
Keep the batter inside a cup board or a shelf or some place warm. Insulate the vessel with a warm heavy blanket. That will keep the vessel warm. Have a small table lamp running near the idli batter vessel. You just need to make sure that the batter is kept warm.
2) If the place where you live has extreme weather conditions, buy a portable room heater and have it running near the batter vessel.
Here is a picture of batter insulated with a blanket.
idli-batter-in-mixie-method-after- fermentation

When I ferment batter in cold weather, the batter forms a yellow film on top. Is it ok to consume?
When the batter is fermented for more than 12 hours (usually in colder climate), its possible that the colour on the top of the batter might turn slightly yellow. Its perfectly edible. The batter needs to be discarded only when it becomes black on top as black spots means that the batter has spoilt.

Do I need a separate batter recipe for dosa?
My mom and grandmom used just one recipe for both idli and dosa. But here is the deal.
The first couple of days after the batter is fermented, it will be idli days. My mom made idli with “the” just fermented idli batter.
Dosa will be made from the second day of fermentation. The batter needs to sour up a little more for good dosas.
Also the batter needs to be diluted with water to make dosas.

My dosa is white. Please help.
There can be several reasons for white dosas.
# The pan is not hot.
# The dosa pan is not heavy. You need a sturdy pan that will retain the heat for making good dosas. Here is a dosa pan that I really like. Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Tawa Pan – 10.5-Inch
# If the idli/dosa batter is too thick, your dosas are going to be white. Try diluting a little with water. Don’t add too much water. Just a few tablespoons at a time.

My dosas are sticking. Please help.
Please refer to this article. Your dosa pan may need seasoning.

What equipment do you recommend?
I am from Coimbatore. If you dint know, electrical wet grinder was invented in Coimbatore. So we know wet grinder better than anyone else. I heavily fall for grinders manufactured from Coimbatore. There are very reputable brands available in the market. This is the one that I personally like.

Elgi Ultra Bigg + 2.5-Litre Table Top Wet Grinder

When it comes to mixie, these are the brands that I like.
Panasonic MX-AC300S-H 550-Watt 3-Jar Super Mixer Grinder (Grey)
Preethi Mixie

So that’s a wrap.
Hope you are able to make soft idlies with these tips.

If you are looking for recipes, here they are.
How to make idli batter in wet grinder. This is my preferred method.
How to make idli batter using an Indian heavy duty mixie
How to make idli batter using idli rava /rawa.

212 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for making Idli Batter”

  1. Thank you for the advice about yellowing! I live in a cold country and the fermentation took so long, and now it has turned yellow!
    Thank you mam 🙂

  2. Hi Suguna,

    Thanks for your blog on the idlis. I had a question regarding the ‘graininess’ after grinding the rice. The consistency seems to be fine when I grind it but when I run my fingers through the ground rice, it is grainy. Is that how it is supposed to be? Or should it be like the urad dal after grinding?

    1. “The consistency seems to be fine when I grind it but when I run my fingers through the ground rice, it is grainy. Is that how it is supposed to be?” – This is the perfect consistency.

  3. Thank you for sharing good tips and advice. I will try making it and let you know soon.

    Thank you
    Saudi Arabia

  4. Thank you so much for mentioning the yellow film. My dosa took over 20 hours to ferment and I thought perhaps it spoiled. Now I know I can still use it.

  5. Why does my batter separate water just after 4-5 days even after kept in air tight container?

  6. Hello Suguna

    Thank you for the detailed explanation. My query is – is there a particular reason for the urad dal to be ground in cold/room temperature?
    Sometimes, it gets warm even in a wet grinder. Is heat while grinding associated with loss of nutrients or hinder the fermentation process in anyway?

    1. While warmth encourages the growth of the bacteria, heat kills it. A very hot environment can make the batter sour too soon and the taste will not be good.
      Fermentation of Idli batter is carried out largely by lactic acid bacteria. Not yeast. There are two kinds of lactic acid bacteria. Homofermentive and heterofermentive.
      Homofermentive lactic acid bacteria produces only lactic acid.
      Heterofermentive bacteria – the Idli bacteria (Leuconostoc mesenteroides) produces carbon dioxide in addition to lactic acid.

      So for good Idli, we need the rise of batter (CO2 effect) and also souring of the batter. If the batter is too hot at the beginning, it gets fermented too soon and the resulting Idlies might not be very soft. Also the Idlies may be good for the first day but hard on the second day.
      So we use ice water for grinding the urad dal so the dal doesnt get heated up when ground.

  7. Hi,
    My Idlis are sticking to teeth after eating. I fermented idli better for 8-8:30 hrs. Batter was almost little less that doubled and humidity here is 70% with temp 28-32 degree C. I observed rice was not completely grinded.
    What could be the reason of sticky idlis to teeth?

      1. I’m using idli rice and white full Urad dal. Exact water measurement but batter was not exactly doubled after fermentation.

  8. Hi my idli batter fermented very well but with a light yellowish film on top. After steaming my idli turned in brownish red. I used poha, rice, white whole urad Dall, salt

  9. Hello,
    Thanks for this informative article. I live in Canada and for the first time I found pink spots on the top layer of my batter. However, batter looks fluffy and soft. I would appreciate if you could share your insights.

    Thanks in advance.

  10. Ashwinkrishna

    We are doing packed lidi dosa batter business,is there any way to extend the fermentation time,without using fridge?

  11. Hi,
    For dosa batter do I need to keep the oven lights on for entire 12 hours or i can just turn the lights on for 2-3hrs and leave the batter inside the oven for 12 hours?

  12. Hi.
    I am planning to start a idli batter venture. starting of with idli batter right now. your thoughts on what else could sell in the same mix of cuisine. Also trying to understand if you have idea on consumption patters of idli state wise. I am aware bengaluru has the highest consumption of idlis.

    Your thoughts would be highly appreciated.

  13. Priya Govindaraj

    Hi ka
    Could you please mention the qty of water to be used for urud Dhal and rice?

  14. Hi Suguna, please let me know a good method to keep idlis piping hot for serving at a party. I find that the idlis stick to the pan when I keep them in chafing dishes.

  15. Hello, is it important to stir the batter after fermentation process, just before putting batter to the mould?

  16. Hi… I made the batter today using wet grinder and with the same quantity of dal, rice and water as yours but ….

    1) my urad dal did not fluff as much as shown in your video….didn’t fill the container….ground for 40 mins

    2) the grinder was heating up alot so would switch off for 5 mins in between to cool….is it normal for grinder to heat up when running for30 mins?

    At the end even the batter was a little warm when removing from the grinder.

    Please guide as to where could be the mistake?


  17. Hi Suguna,
    Thanks for the tips. I live in New Zealand. Sometimes when I steam the idly, it turns orange colour. But the taste the smell doesn’t change. Nott sure why? Any idea?

  18. I have followed all your suggestions for softer idlis using the mixie recipe. I find that batter rises very well but idlis are still not as soft as I would like them to be- I steam them for 8-9 minutes on high flame and let them rest before scooping them out.
    Should idlis be steamed at high flame or medium? Have tried everything so if you could suggest…I am living in India so using gas stove

    1. Do not steam for more than 6-7 minutes. Try reducing the water in the batter. Very liquid batter also wont give soft idlis and try using good quality idli rice.
      For softest idlis, grinder is the best.

  19. Hi Suguna am overwhelmed after finding your website.., especially about a idli. I am unable to make paper dosa from dosa batter when other friends of mine doing same easily .., I don’t understand where went wrong. Please advice me . Than you .

  20. Shrinivas Pakhale

    I am feeling very happy because of you give such deep knowledge of receipy of dili.
    Very thankful for spreading worth knowledge to all others.

  21. Hi I m from south i use to prepare batter which comes out well but nowadays batter gets ferment but on the top it gets pusanam y so ?


      Hi. I would like to know…after the batter fermented, do I give it a good mix or just just sccop the top portion for idli and leave the bottom portion for dosa.

  22. Hi Suguna,

    I have been making idlis for decades and usually they are fool proof. But I recently changed my Idli pan to one of those huge idli coolers that hold 21 idlis at the same time. The plates don’t have any holes so I don’t put any idli cloth to make idlis.

    The middle and bottom plates are so soggy in the middle. The top plate is great as usual.

    Any pointers? It negates the purpose of getting a 21-idli cooker if the bottom two plates are getting soggy.


  23. i want to know, if after making the batter i use a glazed clay pot to store the batter and ferment it… does it effect thw batter? or shld i use glass or steel? does this have any effect or it dont matter?

  24. Hi I have been making idlis in the mixie, and they were never soft. I live in kerala, by the sea and so it’s humid. and it takes about 24hrs to ferment. frustrated, I bought a wet grinder yday hoping that might make a difference.
    Would it be OK if I grind 1/2 cup urad and 2 cups idli rice in a 2 litre grinder? am really nervous and want to try a small amount of batter first.
    Please help!

  25. Kadur Ramesh

    The process explained to prepare idli batter sounds good, but the measurement of

    ingredients are missing and the grinding of soked rice need to explain. (Coarse or paste ).

  26. I am a marketing person in idli batter company…. I need to know why the batter packets getting bulge in summer time..

  27. Lalitha Palanki

    Hi Suguna,

    I have been using your idli recipe for quite sometime now. I tried many different recipes in the past and yours is the most successful every time. Thank you. Only this time, I added more fenugreek as you have suggested and in the past I have used only half of it. Also this time I used
    Kosher sea salt. The result my idlis came very orange. Is it the salt or fenugreek that changed the color. Idlis are still super soft.

  28. I want to start idli dosa batter business. When I need to pack batter. Is before fermentation or after fermented. Because we have some time to deliver to shops. All the day auto will travel all city. Can u suggest how to pack

  29. Excellent! I enjoy your blog every single time I visit, there’s always that whole details of the recipe you’re talking about.

    I’ve a couple of questions –

    1. The idlis in the bottom and middle plates don’t get cooked fully, or take a long time, the topmost gets cooked properly. The plates are kept properly, do you know what could be the problem?
    2. Isn’t the whole urad dal with the peel more healthy?


    1. Hi Srini,
      I am not sure why the idlis in the middle are not getting cooked.
      The whole urad dal with peel is un processed and unpolished. So its healthy and is good for making idlis.

  30. Great comprehensive article on idly. I always thought it was yeast and not the bacteria that is needed for fermentation. If fact if I’m in hurry, I have used regular yeast for pizza and bread with rice flour to make batter, though it does not match regular batter, but a reasonable substitute.

    I think adding fenugreek is to manage the batter culture, bitter keeps unwanted stuff from multiplying, similar to hops in beer.

    If you can understand tamil, watch this You can also learn what is with idly and dosa batter. This video did a time travel on me to little kid helping my grand mom grind batter on a hand stone grinder. Wonderful.

    Cooking is part science, part art. Understanding the science helps to push the boundaries.

    Suguna, thank you for this great article.

  31. Hi, I’m Jefrin. I’m doing idli dosa batter business. After packing and selling in the market, the cover gets bulged like pillow. What is the solution? Is that because of sour. Can you tell me the remedy to reduce the sour.

  32. I recently moved to the US and having a tough time making the batter. The first time it came out well with one cup urad dhal and 2 cups idli rice with little fenugreek and poha . I placed the mixer ground batter in the oven with light on and it fe4mented well.I followed the same procedure the second time around but my dosa is tasting slightly bitter and the batter is a little fluffy and airy. Can i use this batter or is something wrong?

  33. siddharath mehra

    hii ,
    I am making idli from past 5 years , and they ferment and comes out of steamer really fluffy . But the thing i miss is the taste . It never taste like those idlis which are sell by idli street vendors.Their idlis have some unique taste . I use simple rice and urad daal in 2:1 with tablespoon of fenugreek seeds

  34. Hi Kannama…thankyou so much for the detailed recipe..i have a query please..the idli stand or moulds that we use..does it have to be steel or aluminium..does it make a difference?

  35. Hello,
    I used split black Urad Dal and followed exact measurements but Urad Dal didn fluff up. Used 1/2 cup water as indicated.please help

  36. Hi Suguna,
    Thank you for the detailed instructions. I used to make idlis based on the mixie method and it used to come out good. I bought a wet grinder and grinding the daal for 30 min, but not fluffing up. What could be the reason?

  37. Thanks for your quick reply. One more thing I want to know regarding fermentation. If I’m just making daal n rice separately. How will I know that the rice/daal has perfectly been fermented?

  38. Hi Suguna
    I am Sneha, I almost loved your explanation on idly making and also the various informative aspects on the texture of Idlis. My question is
    when I make idlis in my idli maker of 24 plates, the lid of idli maker opens up a little after some time and vents out steam inspite of having a separate outlet for steam. I want to know whether because of this are my idlis turning hard or less spongy?

  39. Hi. I’ll be making idlis and dosas for the very first time. So my question is do we need to soak the rice n lentil first (if yes then for how long), then to grind it n then let it ferment by adding any acidic liquid? Plz can you explain the process step by step. I’ll be really greatful. Thanks

  40. Thanks Kannamma! I came across your site during my google search on how to make soft idlies in mixie and living in cold weather of -40 C. I was tired of the seeing the idlis getting hard.

  41. Hi Suguna,
    This article is exactly what I would have needed in my life two years ago when I just started making idlis here in Italy and was totally clueless as to why it wouldn’t ferment. Thank you for the thorough explanation (liked the science bit about the heterofermentive bacteria!)

  42. Hi, your article is very informative, thanks for the tips. I ended up adding more water while grinding, will it ferment? Any tips on that?

  43. The idly batter has poha in it. Is it ok to make thosai with it. Will the thosai be different from the normal thosai.

  44. Hi,

    I make batter at home that comes out perfectly. This time I bought from market to try brand Chennai caters and it has light pink layer on top and smell over fermented . Should I discard it or use it? Any suggestions


  45. Hi Kanamma. Thank you so so soooo much for taking the efforts to write this article. Idlis have been THE most favorite of mine and I have been trying to understand the mechanism of making perfect idlis for so long now. Although my idlis have turned out to be pretty decent, I am yet to achieve the ‘Saravana Bhavan’ style of idlis.
    I agree Thuni idli is the best. I have not tried making it yet. What do you think is the contribution of the cloth for making a perfect Thuni idli?

  46. Vismay Chintan

    Hi Kanamma, First of all thanks a lot for such a superb and detailed post. And avery nice looking blog as well. Very nicely designed!
    Anyway, my query is this…what happens if I ferment the batter for too long? Does it go bad? Asking cos sometimes I have left the batter out overnight when fermenting and the idlis taste bitter (meaning the batter has probably over fermented and gone bad). So, I keep checking it and in summers here in Pune, I don’t ferment it for more than 6-8 hours now…but u keep worrying if I have fermented it enough or should I let it ferment more. So does the batter get bad so quickly if left just overnight to ferment? By way I get super fluffy idlis every time…i grind in the usual mixer and soak the water and rice together ( but will try to soak them separately after reading this post of urs and see the difference).

    1. Hi Vismay, if the batter has risen, it has fermented. No need to extend the time after the batter has risen. Always refrigerate after fermentation. Also what rice do you use? The quality of rice will always impact on the final taste. Hope this helps.

  47. Such an amazing informative article…thank so much for the detailed information. Stumbled on to it when searching for why my idlis didn’t come out very soft even though batter had risen well…perhaps it was over steaming….will try again with your recepie

  48. Hi Kannamma.. Thanks for brief explanation. I tried as per your comments. It came out very nice. My husband and in-laws are fond of idly n dosa. So frequently we used to prepare it’s batter. Here, I used the ratio of 1:4 it’s sufficient for me, husband n 1yr old son. But I want the ratio for 6 members (if my in-laws visits..) So Pls suggest. Awaiting for your reply.

  49. I accidentally soaked udud dal and rice together.will tht affect the batter .what do I do?

  50. Hi kannama
    1. You are an excellent cook, and your approach towards cooking is commendable. So divine and pure is your work.
    2. Cooking is an art, and you have dealt it like a genuine artist.
    3. Thanks for helping so many people, by writing such a wonderful blog. Good people like you are doing great job by helping others.
    4. Please keep the good work going
    God bless
    Love akhila

  51. Am dealing lots of urad producers in rajestan gujrat mp and tamilnadu.every place quality is different in sometimes.sometimes urad is grinding there us very low quantity is got.whts the reason.i am using urad gota for sale .which type of urad is best for huge quantity

  52. What’s the quantity of sabudana if I’m I’m using it instead of flattened rice? I soaked all the ingredients and waiting. Can’t wait to see the results.

  53. Hi there,

    Thank u so much for the detailed explanation. I got a query, I use the same 1:4 ratio and my batter ferments well too..Idli’s are fluffy n well risen but when I took it out of the steamer it shrinks n become flat..I dont where I am going wrong. Is it due to over fermentation? Please help..
    Many Thanks in advance!

  54. Merine Rajamani

    Sorry! I meant dish, not fish 😁 and *leaving a comment. I tried the idli batter exactly the way you’ve mentioned and it’s the best I’ve ever made so far! The batter fermented well and idlies came out so soft and tasty. Thank you so much!

  55. Merine Rajamani

    OH MY GOD!!!!! What an article!!! It’s one thing to be a good cook, but to take so much passion into the fish and getting to the very roots is a mark of an excellent cook! I was so very impressed with your writing and the content it provided that I couldn’t just scroll past without leeching a comment! Thank you so much for sharing this! God bless you! வாழ்க தமிழ்!

  56. Hello!
    I am french married to an indian from TN. We make idlis for the past two weeks. It is pretty hard to find ingredients here ( north of francej so i tried different types of rice, and I can tell it was a disaster for the risotto rice ( which is advised to be used by some people…well…i tried, dont waste your time and money! : it is sticky. The fermentatin was awesome but it was impossible to cook them!! I couldnt make dosa either. I had to throw everything…😶)

    I finally found par boiled rice,basic one, but long grain. It fits well, i just need to soak it whole day /or night, and and let it grind for half an hour to make it really smooth.
    Concerning the dals, is there any other kind of dal we can use?
    It is really hard to find here…

    I have a question about the batter. I read some people add some kurd in the batter, and I asked many times if saravana bhavan idlis were made this way, as they have a sour taste, like kurd.
    What do you think about it.

    Thank you so much for sharing yoir knowledge and your time with us.
    You helped a lot in understanding the process of idli’s creation😝

    1. Thanks so much Domaraj.
      Sorry that Arborio rice dint work. Always go for parboiled rice. Glad that the long grain rice worked.
      Traditionally, curd is never added in regular idli batter.
      For rava idli ( a type of idli made with semolina), curd is added.
      Thank you!

  57. I have a question!!. During winters, After my batter ferments, and i add salt to it, i have to mix the batter so the salt gets well mixed. That removes the balloony effect of the fermented batter and makes it more flat. Will my idlis still turn out good.

  58. If your idli rice is too runny after grinding, why can’t you add some dry ground rice flour to it to absorb the extra water; then use 4:1 ratio to mix after dal is ground? Just wondering if this will work?

  59. priyabalachander

    Hi…..idly batter it is become watery after fermentation .so i don”t know how to rectify this problem with out wasting this batter. please suggest as soon as possible

  60. Pallavi Gaur

    Urgent !
    Hi .. The dosa batter which I have already fermented is looking too grainy to me .. Guess it’s the rice which is giving it a coarse effect.. Infact while eating I can feel little pieces of rice ..
    Can I grind it again now after fermentation a little bit ( the batter already has daal and salt in it )
    Pls suggest ASAP 🙁

  61. Gouthami Suguru

    Hey what if the idly batter turns out too watery b any idea how to deal with it ?

  62. I am trying to use cream of rice and urad flour to make idlis, do I have to ferment it? Why do we ferment anyways? If we use eno at the end then can we skip fermentation?

  63. Loved your article on dosa idli batter, fermentation, hitches, improvement, and all. I too share many of your tastes, culinary above all, as I love south indian vegetarian food, being from kerala. I have friends from tamil nadu who are fine cooks, who know different kinds of seasoned rice preparations. My favourites are lemon rice, curd, tomato and sambar rice. Could you take me to a link where you provide these recipes too, in the same pervasive technique as in the blog on dosa batter? Would be grateful. And, the most defining trait of yours i fell for due to similarity with mine, i too love beaches and literature. And tamil in Carnatic music.

  64. After reading your blog I just subscribed your youtube Chanel because you idliten me 🙂

  65. Hello Suguna ji,
    Thank you so much for the detailed recipe and tips.. I live in cold place.. here it takes more than 16 hours to ferment.. I have one question.. does the fermentation depend on type of vessel used to store the batter to ferment? Does it ferment well in stainless steel vessel than in a ceramic bowl or plastic?

    Thanks in advance for clarifying

    1. I am not sure if the vessel will make a huge difference as each material retain heat to a specific range and that’s not a significant difference or a lot comparitively. The outside temperature matters a lot for idli batter fermentation.

  66. Hi Suguna, thanks for writing such a useful post. I have always been in a bind about figuring out these dals, and your post made it clear, crystal. I had this strange phenomenon with my batter this morning. It rose more than usual and was very frothy. But when I made the idlis, the cooked idlis were flat! What did I do wrong? Thank you!

  67. Hi Saguna , I have been using best quality idli rice along whole urad daal for making idli with various ratios from 3:1, 3:1.5 , 4:1 , 4: .75 … With small quantity of methi seed and half a cup of poha … The water was just enough … My problem is the up to 4:1, the idli is flat and sticks to the idli patra , with 4:.75 , idli did not stick to the patra , it wasn’t flat but it tasted ricy ☺️ and had waxy surface .. the rice is one of the popular brand in tamilnadu …. can you share some tips to get the best , something is missing I am not sure what it is … Thanks

    1. the main reason for flat idlis is excess water in batter. Also grind fine and grind the ingredients separately. Add ground poha for more softer idlis.

  68. Thank you for posting such detailed explanation on the common issues as I keep referring to it

  69. Hello Suguna,
    You seem to have extensive knowledge and experience with idli and dosa–thanks for sharing it so generously.
    I am new to the southern region of the country (I now live in Bangalore), and am up for trying my first batch of idli with idli rice. Can you please suggest how to choose good idli rice? What should I look out for?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    1. Hi Aarti, Grocery stores usually carry mostly just one or two varieties of idli rice. The variety I like is called “Salem Car”.
      The rice should be off white and plump.

  70. I used more fenugreek seeds I think the batter is tasting bitter. Do my idlis also taste bitter tomorrow. What should I do. I added only less fenugreek less than 1 spoon for 2:1 Ural dal and idly rava

  71. I used your same recipe 5 :1 ratio 5 cups idly rice and 1 cup urad dal I used to get bubbles dots in my idly can you tell me why

  72. I am packing the dosa batter in a sealed cover in night.By morning the packet is Swallowing and packets is bulging what may be the reason pls tell

      1. Maam, As we are doing dosa batter business… After packing in cover…with zipper lock and will seal the cover..But some packets are getting bulge and swollen by morning.. As we are loosing business because of the issue..Kindly let me know how to avoid the same.

  73. Shyla Iyengar


    You re a cookery scientist! The explanations compel me to say that. Thanks a lot for all the research and sharing. My daughter and husband loved the super soft Idlis and sambar that I made by following your site.

    Keep rocking…..

    Warm regs

  74. My idli batter ferments and comes out soft very well with your receipe. Though one thing I find is after idlis are cooked, the top part of idly looks waxy. It doesn’t look flaky. How can that be fixed?

  75. Hi Suguna
    Thanks for such detailing on how to make idlis.
    Why can’t we use skinless split urad dal instead of whole urad dal?

  76. I fermented for 16-17 hrs as I had ground the batter very late in the night and so had to leave it till evening . actually the idlies were not flat they had nicely tuned out but hard

  77. thanks Suguna for sharing your recipe and the simple way you have explained.I used same proportion and method but idlis are hard can you help

    1. Which method did you follow? mixie or grinder?. Main reason for hard idlies is not following the correct water measurements. Too liquidy batter produces flat and hard idlies!
      Also if you used any other rice other than parboiled idli rice, idlies wont be good.

    2. I used the ultra grinder and used idli rice. I added one cup water to grind then added a little more just before making idlies

  78. Hi Ma’am
    I am Kavitha from Tuticorin. I appreciate your tips for making soft idlis. One more tip if it sounds logical to you – I always add salt before fermenting, coz I don’t mix the batter once fermented. I do not disturb the bacterial aeration created by fermentation. [This is the same logic while making cakes, where the beaten cake batter needs just to be folded in with the latter additions (like nuts/chocolate chips) to sustain the sponge once baked]. This ensures spongy idlis – but you need two more than you usually eat, since its so airy and soft. What do you think?

  79. This is my ultimate comfort food at any given time, but never knew there a lot of things and science behind it. Lucky I have a wonderful Grandma who taught all these; I was doing it without even knowing it. Besides aval and sago sometimes we add castor seeds in our village ( after peeling the hard shell there is a white spongy part) this is very occasional but gives fluffy idlis.

    Life cannot be any better than having Idli daily for breakfast with coconut chutney and sambar.

  80. great blog for a food lover. the idli batter is not rising in rainy season. it was not the case just a forth night ago. still using the same dal and rawa and also the procedure. in fact i am grinding it 6 hours earlier than before.. Any suggestion?

  81. Simply superb explanation of the doubts that strum to any body else’s mind. Thanks very much.

  82. Excellent research of idly. I have shocked to knew these lot of tips. Really you did a great job. Hereafter I’ll follow your blog for every recipe. Thanks for sharing. Keep on blogging.

  83. Kalyani Kulkarni

    Hi i wanted to say you the tips and tricks that u shared are really helpfuk, just wanted to ask u that while making idlies like cooking them in cooker, what should be the gas flame like, should it be Sim or high or medium! pls do let me know, i had kept it high last time and it became really hard, Pls help!!!

    1. medium. The idli becomes hard if you cook for long. Just after 6-7 minutes, take a spoon and insert it into an idli. If it comes without wet batter, the idli is done. The cooked idli might stick to the spoon and thats fine. If there is no wet batter, its done.

  84. Dr.N.Ravichandran

    Please send me a recipe for KUSHBOO IDLI which is very familiar in your home town as well as around Erode area. I have tried so many recipes from various chefs and net procedures but I could not get as original and authentic.

    Please do me favour

    1. If the batter is correct consistency, the idlis will cook in the given time. Dont add too much water at the bottom. Make sure water doesnt over flow to the plate.

  85. Hi suguna

    I tried by ur worst idlis that were. I m not able to understand what the problem is.
    I used splitted urad dal. I guess my batter is not properly fermented.I kept it for 8 hrs in blanket.
    1st question is there any method so we can know that now the batter is ready for making idlis
    2 my batter is runny, so plz tell me, if it happens by mistake then what to do
    3.when I making idlis then first these looks very fluffy after that those were sometimes sticky or not spongy.I cooked them first 5 mins on high flame then medium for 10-15 mins. But my idlis of lower plate are always wet in between and not cooked.
    Plz help ASAP

    1. I am sorry your idlies dint turn our properly. From what I am able to understand, your idli batter is watery. Watery idli batter wont work. And I have mentioned clearly in my post not to use white split urad dal for making idlis. Please follow the recipe if you want proper outcome.
      One gauge to know that whether the idli batter is ready is when it has increased in volume. Almost double. And the lower plate being wet is because of adding too much water at the bottom and keeping the flame on high so the water bubbles up. usually idlis cook in 10-12 minutes in a nicely closed pan with lid.
      The problems with your idli batter is
      # split urad dal. use whole white urad dal
      # You need a thick batter. There is no way to set the batter right if the batter goes runny. So please use caution.

  86. Hi suguna,

    M jab idli bnati hu to wo pehle to khoob fool jati h n then Wo pichki so ho jati hain.M first 5 minutes tej flame m then medium par pakati hu..mujhe 20 min k kareeb lag jate hain..but kabhi bhi ekdum fluffy market jesi soft ni kaha galti karti hu pls btaiye…aur main urad dal bina chilke wali splitted use krtu hu..mixer se grind krti hu
    One more thing ki meri neeche wali plate ki idlis sari geeli geeli kacchi si rhti h…plz help me..I like idlis very much but m acchi bana ni pa rhi hu

  87. Hi Suguna,

    very, very helpful. Thanks a lot!!! I just want to ask you some information about the wet grinder. Is the one you are using the Elgi Ultra Bigg + 2.5 that you are advising in this post? I have seen pictures in the other post “How to make Soft Idli Recipe” and noticed yours is made of stainless steel, as opposed to the one I have just bought (Premier 2 Litre) which has lots of cheap plastic, which I dislike very much for two reasons: very fragile and not healthy in food preparation. I wish there was no plastic in my equipment at all. So I want to return mine and buy something sturdy and fit for professional and heavy use. I saw you mentioning 5 litres wet grinder in the other post too. What would you advise for that size?

    1. Mine is a 15 year old Elgi 6 or 7 litre grinder. The model may not be anymore available. Most of the wet grinders these days come with plastic parts only. But I find Elgi to be sturdy!

    2. Could you please post some pictures of your wet grinder so that I could see how a 10 litre one looks like?


    3. I understand. Your grinder must be huge, impossible to bring it with you…

      I have found out another kind of wet grinders that seem to do the job of grinding in a different way:
      Did you know about them and did you ever see one in operation?

      1. I have not seen these ones. In hotels, they use these huge wet grinders called tilting wet grinders.You can check them out. There are domestic versions that are small in size and commercial versions that are huge.

    4. Yes I saw tilting wet grinders but the commercial ones are too big for me and the domestic ones seem not to be that great. I would need a grinder in the range 5/10 kg that was still table top but may be I am asking for too much. I tried to contact Elgi to see if they still produced some bigger grinders but didn’t get a reply from them yet.

  88. wow… Nice and Elaborate post. So much Gyaan in our good old idlies… Good post Suguna. Very informative

      1. hai ,

        thanks for the tips .

        how to avoid the packet from bulging . u said its forming gas . how to stop it . is there any method or any different packaging or machines to be used.

        ( I am packing the dosa batter in a sealed cover in night.By morning the packet is Swallowing and packets is bulging what may be the reason pls tell

          1. Hi
            As I am South Indian, followed the procedure but still the idlis were not came fluffy. The batter has thick consistency, ratio is 4:1.Where I am going wrong I don’t know, Please suggest me .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top