Making Idli: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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Making Idli: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Making Idli: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Idli is a traditional breakfast eaten in South India and neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka. Although the savory dish was baked in ancient times, it is now mainly steamed. Learn how to steam idli at home for a delicious and cheap Indian breakfast!


  • 1.2 kg soaked rice
  • 300 g urad dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste


Make Idli Step 1

Step 1. Soak the rice and 'urad dal' in separate bowls for at least four hours

These are later ground together into a batter that ferments for six hours or more.

Make Idli Step 2

Step 2. Grind the soaked ingredients separately

This is best done with a mortar and pestle, but a high-powered blender is also possible (although the batter will be slightly coarser in texture).

  • Grind the soaked rice.
  • Grind the soaked 'urad dal'.
Make Idli Step 3

Step 3. Stir the ground rice and urad dal together

Make Idli Step 4

Step 4. Set aside briefly in a warm place to ferment for eight hours

Use a crock pot or slow cooker on the keep warm setting or an oven on the lowest setting if you live in an area where the ambient temperature is below 24 degrees Celsius.

Make Idli Step 5

Step 5. Add salt

Make Idli Step 6

Step 6. Grease the steamer plates of the idli

Make Idli Step 7

Step 7. Spoon the batter into the plates

Make Idli Step 8

Step 8. Place the idli steamer in a large preheated pan with water at the bottom for steaming

Make Idli Step 9

Step 9. Steam the batter for 5-10 minutes or until fluffy

Make Idli Step 10

Step 10. Remove the idlis from the steamer and serve them warm with chutney or sambhar


  • Use your hands to mix the ground batter for better fermentation.
  • If you don't have an idli plate, you can also use small cups or plates to steam idlis.
  • In South India, children are given idlis as the first solid food.
  • Idlis are a safe food for everyone, even during illness.

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