In the beautiful land of Udupi, Mangalore, plain idlis are made special and fragrant by steaming idli batter in Banana leaves. This type of idlis is called Moode idlis. These  idlis are wrapped up like a mystery in banana leaves. A delicacy from Udupi, Mangalore region. The banana leaves add a distinct taste and aroma to idlis and make them special, unique and delicious.

Banana leaves are weaved into cylindrical moulds and are used to steam idli batter. They make cylindrical idlis, which are called ‘moode’ in Kannada/Tulu. They are made during festivals, a must for Krishnajanmastami festival and are served as breakfast during special occasions and celebrations. It also shows up on tables of most Udupi, Mangalorean homes as breakfast every once in a while. People from Udupi and Mangalore have a flair for these cylindrical idlis. Moode are versatile, they are traditionally made with butter/ghee/coconut oil on top and with coconut chutney, chicken curries, sprouted green gram coconut based curry, a sweet-sour-spicy pineapple curry etc.

The art lies in making these moulds, which is slowly dying. You then steam your normal idli batter in these cylindrical moulds. Steaming is when the magic happens. The Banana leaves impart an amazing taste and aroma to the idlis. And that’s when the heavenly smell of steaming moode, fills up your home.

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup urad dal
  • 2 cup rice rava / idli rava
  • 1 tsp salt
  • banana leaves (to make cups)


  • Firstly, in a large bowl take 1 cup urad dal and rinse well
  • Soak in water for 4 hours
  • After soaking for 4 hours, transfer the dal to a mixer jar. you can alternatively grind in a grinder
  • Grind to smooth and fluffy batter adding water as required
  • Transfer the batter to a large bowl
  • Now in another bowl take 2 cups rice rava and rinse a couple of times
  • Squeeze off the water from the rava and transfer it to the urad dal batter bowl
  • Mix well using your hand. this helps to aid fermentation
  • Now cover and keep in a warm place for 8 hours for fermentation
  • After 8 hours, the batter has well fermented and mix gently
  • Add 1 tsp salt and mix making sure the salt is well combined
  • Now to prepare the cups from banana leaf, cut the banana leaf into a round shape
  • And using a stapler, pin it up into 4 sides forming a cup
  • Place the cup in the steamer and pour the batter into the molds
  • Cover and steam for 20 minutes or until the idlis are cooked well
  • Finally, enjoy soft and aromatic idli with chutney or sambar

The reason for Idli's popularity is because it is considered a clean and nutritious cuisine because it is prepared with little or no oil using steaming as the cooking method. Obviously, it has resulted in numerous innovations in the idli category, and banana leaf idli is one of those innovation so make them at home any time with this simple recipe.