6 Tips For Beginners To Make Steamed And Fluffy Idlis
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Idli is the staple breakfast and snack of choice for many in South India and is widely enjoyed worldwide. These are soft, steamed, fluffy rice cakes that are not only delicious but also nutritious, making them a popular choice for health-conscious people.   

Idlis are made from fermented batter of rice and urad dal and are of light and fluffy texture. They are low in fat, gluten-free, and rich in carbohydrates and protein. They are typically served with coconut chutney, sambar, or a variety of spicy condiments. Although making idli may be simple to look at, they can be a bit tricky if you’re making them for the first time. To make the cooking process easier, this article has collated six essential tips that you need to follow to achieve delicious idlis. Take a look at the tips:  

  • Quality Ingredients Matter  

To make perfect idlis it is important to start with good quality rice and urad dal. You can opt for parboiled rice or idli rice for the best results. Fresh ingredients help you to get better fermentation, which is crucial for soft and fluffy idlis. For a healthier option, choose whole urad dal. Make sure to wash the dal thoroughly before soaking to remove any dirt particles or debris. 


  • The Right Ratio  

The key to achieving perfect idlis lies in the perfect ratio of rice to urad dal. Often the ratio of 4:1 that is four parts of rice to one part of dal, is considered. However, you can adjust the ratio according to your preference. Soak the dal and rice separately in water for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. The process will allow them to become soften which will make it easier to grind into a smooth batter.  

  • Grinding Technique  

Invest in a good quality grinder to grind the dal and rice into a smooth batter. Add water as and when necessary. Avoid using too much water as it can make the batter runny. First, grind the dal to a smooth and fluffy consistency. Then add soaked rice in batches and grind until a fine texture is achieved. Ensure that the batter is thick yet airy.  

  • Fermentation Is Key  

After you make the batter of rice and dal, transfer them into a large bowl. Now you can mix both batters into one. Cover it with a clean cloth and place it in a warm, dirt-free spot for fermentation. Notably, fermentation time may vary depending on the climate and temperature. In places that have warmer weather, the batter may ferment fast within 8-12 hours. In cooler climates, it can take up to 24 hours.  

  • Proper Steaming Technique  

After the fermentation process is done, it’s time to steam the idlis. Prepare the idli molds by greasing them lightly with oil or lining them with banana leaves for added flavour. Fill each mold with the fermented batter. Steam them in a steamer or an idli maker for about 10-12 minutes, until they are thoroughly cooked. Note to leave some space for the idli to rise during the steaming process. Also do not overcrowd the steamer, leaving room for the steam to circulate.  

  • Patience And Practice  

In order to master the art of making perfect idlis, patience, and practice are required. Do not get discouraged if your first few idlis to do turn out to be as expected. It is important to pay attention to the texture and taste of the batter during each step of the process. Adjust the soaking time, grinding technique, and fermentation period accordingly. With time, you’ll be able to achieve perfect idlis both in flavour and texture.