Go Back
+ servings
Idli in a balck plate with podi
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Idli | Fermented Rice Cake - Vegan and Gluten Free

Idli, the most staple breakfast of South India. There is no household in the Southern India that do not grind the idli batter routinely at their house. It is a very staple breakfast and also a great dinner option.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Soaking time plus fermenting time24 mins
Total Time1 hr 4 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Vegan Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 80 pieces
Calories: 42kcal


  • Idli maker
  • bowl
  • Spoon


  • 4 cups Idli Rice
  • 1 cup Urad dal / Ullutham Paruppu I use whole urad
  • 1 tablespoon Fenugreek seeds / Vendhayam
  • to taste Salt


To make the Batter -

  • Measure the Idli rice and Urad dal in two separate bowls. Wash them well under running water and soak it for 4 to 6 hours. Add the fenugreek seeds along with the rice when soaking. My mother used to soak the rice first and couple of hours before grinding would soak the dal. I am very forgetful and hence I soak them both at the same time.
  • Drain the water and then grind the ullutham paruppu first in a wet grinder. We could grind it in the blender, but it heats up very fast and does not make the batter as fluffy as a wet grinder does.
  • When grinding the ullutham paruppu, add water little by little. We want a stiff batter and also adding too much water in the beginning will not grind the dal as well as it should.
  • It takes about 20 minutes for the ullutham paruppu to be completely ground and be fluffy and airy.
  • Transfer this to a container and keep it covered.
  • Now grind the rice adding just enough water. It will take about 15 minutes for the rice to be ground.
  • Transfer the ground rice to the same container as the urad dal batter. Make sure the batter is in a container that is twice as big as the batter volume.
  • Add the required salt and using your hands mix the batter well. Please note that use your hands to mix the batter. My mother always said that using your hands to mix incorporates some body heat to the batter and helps to ferment better.
  • Keep the batter in a warm, draft free place for 8 to 12 hours. Depending on how warm the place, it could take longer than 12 hours. For me it takes any where from 18 to 24 hours.

Making the Idli -

  • Once the batter has fermented well, give it a gentle mix.
  • Add water to the idli pot or pressure cooker or steamer and let it come to a boil.
  • Grease the idli plates well and pour ladle full of batter into the plates.
  • Place the batter in the idli pot and steam it for 8 to 10 minutes. The idlis would have puffed up when cooked.
  • Let it sit for couple of minutes and then remove it from the idli plate and serve hot with chutney, sambhar or my favorite - Milagai Podi.
  • The batter stores very well in an air tight container for couple of weeks.


  • Make sure to use idli rice to make the idli.
  • I use whole skinned urad dal for idli. You could use split ones as well but the texture that we get from the whole urad is very different.
  • Fermenting the batter is the most important thing. I usually place mine in a pantry or a kitchen closet to ferment mine. Make sure you place it in a draft free place. You could place it in the oven  as well but I would not leave the lights on as it causes fungal growth.
  • Before steaming the idli, heat the water in the pot and then place the idli plate. Also grease the plates well before pouring the batter.


Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg