Make Healthy Instant Idlis With This Rava Recipe

Idlis. One of the most divisive Indian dishes around. You either love them or you hate them, but thanks to their widespread popularity, you definitely can’t ignore them. The idli has been around for centuries and it’s thought to have come to India somewhere between 800 and 1200 BC from Indonesia – another country that loves rice as much as we do.  

Eaten everywhere from five-star hotels to udipis to home kitchens, Idlis are everywhere and although it’s already light and fluffy thanks to the use of rice as the base there’s an even more healthy twist that comes in the form of the rava idli. Made with semolina this version of the classic dish offers immense nutritional benefits to keep you full of energy and feeling satiated all day long. Essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B zinc and magnesium are found in plenty plus a lot of dietary fibre to aid digestion.

The dish may look and feel like traditional idli, but it doesn’t have quite such an extensive past as it was actually created in 1924 at the iconic Mavalli Tiffin Rooms in Bangalore. Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, or MTR as it’s better know was founded by Parampalli Yagnanarayana Maiya and his brothers. The Rava Idli came about just after World War II when rations for rice were scarce and Karnataka was met with an acute shortage. The brothers put their heads together and experimented with various substitutes before finally landing on a rava batter than that worked. 


  • 3 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp jeera/cumin
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • pinch hing / asafoetida
  • few curry leaves
  • 1 chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1-inch ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp carrot (grated)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup rava / semolina / suji 
  • ¾ cup curd / yoghurt (whisked)
  • 2 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 cashew (halves)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda


  • Firstly, in a kadai heat 3 tsp oil and splutter 1 tsp mustard, ½ tsp jeera, 1 tsp chana dal, pinch hing and few curry leaves.
  • Now add 1 chilli, 1 inch ginger and saute for a minute.
  • Further add 2 tbsp carrot, ¼ tsp turmeric and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Keeping the flame on low add 1 cup rava and roast well.
  • Roast for 5 minutes or until the rava turns aromatic.
  • Cool the rava completely and transfer to a bowl.
  • Furthermore, add ¾ cup curd, 2 tbsp coriander and ½ tsp salt.
  • Mix well forming a thick batter.
  • Now add ½ cup water and mix well forming a smooth batter.
  • Rest for 15 minutes or until the rava absorbs water.
  • Mix well and add water as required, to form an idli batter consistency batter.
  • Grease the idli plate with oil and place cashews in the centre.
  • Just before steaming add a ¼ tsp baking soda and mix well.
  • Pour the batter immediately into the idli plate. do not rest the batter.
  • Steam the rava idli for 13 minutes on medium flame.
  • Finally, serve instant rava idli with coconut chutney and sambar.