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Perfect Idlis

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Idlis with sambar and fresh coconut chutney

Idlis served with sambar and fresh coconut chutney

Last night I had my first go at making idlis. I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to purchasing the essential idli moulds and steamer. Thanks to my new sponsor Spices of India, I’ve finally got around to doing it. They sent me a fantastic multi cooker which I am sure I’ll be using many more times in future.

These spongy snacks were gobbled up by the family. They’re go good dipped into sambar or fresh coconut chutney which is exactly what we did.

As recipes go, this one isn’t exactly for beginners nor is it for people who don’t enjoy being in the kitchen. It’s not exactly difficult but it is quite time consuming and some forward planning is a must. Once you make the batter, you need to let it ferment in a warm place for at least eight hours.

I put my batter in a bowl which I covered with a towel in the oven at 47c. After fermenting for eight hours, the batter had doubled in volume and was nice and bubbly.

You need to be sure to oil your idli trays lightly. I did this and though they didn’t stick, they were difficult to get out.

The end result, however was amazing. I hope you get a chance to try this one. If you do, be sure to let me know how it went.

Idli tray and pot

The multi cooker from Spices of India. The idli trays were so easy to fit into place. They steamed to perfection.

Idli tray

Batter in one of the trays ready for steaming.

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Yield: 6


Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes


  • 220g white urad dhal lentils
  • 110g white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Put the uran dhal lentils in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for eight hours or over night.
  2. Drain and place the lentils in a food processor with about 50ml of water and grind to a smooth paste. Don't rush this. I blend the lentils until very smooth - about five minutes.
  3. Place the rice flour, fenugreek seeds and salt in another bowl and add just enough water to make a think paste.
  4. Add this paste to the lentils and whisk to combine.
  5. Store this batter, covered in a warm place for eight hours or over night. The batter should become quite foamy and double in volume.
  6. When ready to cook, pour water into the bottom of your idli pan and bring to a boil.
  7. Oil your idli trays lightly and then pour the batter into the moulds.
  8. Carefully lower the trays into the idli pan, cover and steam for 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes, your idlis should be ready. Remove the trays from the steamer and remove the idlis from the trays. You may need a knife or small spoon to assist you with this.

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I would like to thank Spices of India for supplying me with the idli multi cooker free of charge to use in my recipes. I highly recommend it.

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