How to ferment Idly batter during cold climate ~ How to make Idli batter using mixie (mixer grinder)

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Idly Batter | Iddili Maavu

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 32 Idlis
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Batter to make Crepes and rice-lentil cakes – Main Dish


  • Idly rice (Idly pulungal arisi) – 3 cups
  • Urad dhal (Uluthamparuppu) / (white lentils or black lentils) – 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups [Since I’m grinding in mixie/blender I use ½ cup urad dal for every 1 cup idli rice]
  • Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam) – ½ tsp.
  • Water – for soaking and grinding
  • Salt – 4 tsp.

How to grind South-Indian Idly batter using mixie | Tamilnadu Idli-dosa batter recipe


What do you think when a girl from the southern parts of India suddenly lands on a vast space covered full of snow? … Gets super-excited? Jumps with joy? Starts to dance in the snowfall?? Nah, it is none of the above. Believe it or not, the first fear that struck me when I landed in the US was ‘how can I ferment the Idly batter in such a cold climate!’ The snow brought me nostalgia of Idlis and Dosas so very soon that I did not even reach my apartment from the airport. In India, Amma used to grind the batter in the morning and have the fermented batter ready by the afternoons during the summers. Or she grinds the idly batter during the night and gives us the pleasure of tasting soft fluffy idlis the next morning. I kept wondering if I will be able to mimic her Idly batter preparation in this harsh cold weather at least to some extent Confused smile.


If the harsh snowy climate was the first reason allowing me not to make any idly batter, the blender which I brought from India was the second reason. The blender was a blunder! It did not grind even chutneys properly! Can you even believe that I spent almost whole of the winters without Idly and Dosa! Then came the new mixie [I purchased Preethi Eco Plus Mixer Grinder (Mixie)] …. then came my beloved Miss.Summer. I thought I should make ‘hay’ (ok, here read ‘Idli’Smile with tongue out) while the sun shines. So week after week, my kitchen was busy steaming Idlis and making Dosas with variety of chutneys. Hmmm, I think now you get it why I was adding arrays of chutney recipes in my blog. Winter already arrived here and I decided not to miss this wonderful healthy food during the winters. So here it is, how to ferment (sour) Idli-Dosai batter during winter and how to grind the Idly batter using a mixie.


How to make Idly batter (Idly maavu) using Mixie – with step by step pictures
(Click each image/photo to enlarge)

Step 1.
Wash rice and drain the water (I do the washing two times). Soak the rice in water overnight (preferably 8 hours / at aleast 4 hours).


Step 2.
Just half-an-hour to 1 hour before you start to grind the batter, wash urad dal and drain the water (I do the washing two times). Soak the urad dal with enough water. Add the fenugreek seeds with the urad dhal while soaking. [A good quality urad dal will drink almost all the water that is used for soaking. So use ample amount of water to soak urad dal.] We soak urad dal just for ½-1 hour because too much soaking will not give volume to the batter when ground.

                               idli-ittili-itly-iddili-idly-1  urad-dal-idly-1

Below are the pictures of soaked rice and urad beans.


Step 3.
Set ready for grinding the batter.

step by step pictures for making idly batter in mixie

Step 4.
Preheat the oven to 90 degree Fahrenheit (32 degree Celsius). I do it for 5 to 10 minutes (Until I finish grinding the batter). After preheating switch off the oven.

fermenting idly batter in oven


Step 5.
Load some amount of white lentils with 1/2 cup of water into the mixer jar. See to that there is enough space inside the jar. I normally grind urad dal (the amount given in the ingredients list) in two batches. Grind for 20-25 seconds. Then stop the mixer and rest the jar with the lids open for few seconds (may be 30 seconds). Operate the mixie in Low speed (speed 1).

ferment idli batter in oven   south indian idly batter

Step 6.

Add another 1/2 cup water to the batter and now grind it to a smooth paste to a buttery consistency. Do you see how much volume the urad dal has given to the batter?

idli batter step by step preparation   making batter for idli in blender

Step 7.
Transfer the batter to a clean vessel. Select a big container. Grind the rest of the urad dal in the same way and collect them in the container. I used 2 and 1/4 cups of water to grind the amount of urad dal given in the ingredients list. i.e. around 1 and 1/8 cups of water for each batch.

idly mavu   dosai batter-1


Step 8.
Once you grind the urad dal, load some amount of the rice into the same jar with 1/2 cup of water. See to that there is enough space inside the jar. I normally grind the rice (the amount given in the ingredients list) in three batches. Grind for 20-25 seconds. Then stop the mixer and rest the jar with the lids open for few seconds (may be 30 seconds). Operate the mixie in Low speed (speed 1).

fermenting in winter season   ‘dosa-flour-dos-batter

Step 9.

Now, DO NOT add any water again. Rice is not like urad dal. Adding more water will make the batter too watery. Run the mixie for another 10 seconds or until the rice is ground to a coarse paste. Remember, the rice must be ground to a consistency such that you should feel the tiny granules. Do not grind the rice to a smooth batter. Transfer the ground batter into the same container.

homemade idly batter in mixie    idly batter blender

Step 10.
Grind the rest of the rice in the same way and collect them in the container. I used 1 and 1/2 cups of water to grind the amount of rice given in the ingredients list. i.e. 1/2 cup for each batch. Now add salt to the batter.

diy idli batter    itli-idli-iddili-idly recipe


Step 11.
Beat and mix the batter thoroughly with your hands (with your clean hands). After thorough mixing, the batter must be thick and running consistency (NOT watery and running consistency). Do not be afraid to add little more water to mix if you feel the mixed batter is too thick. Use a spoon and taste the batter to check salt. Never ever forget to add salt to the batter before making it ready for fermenting. [Add salt only while mixing with hands and not when you run the rice/urad dal in the mixer grinder]

dosai-maavu-using mixie  using mixie to make idly batter  tasty idly batter


Step 12.
We need good space in the vessel for the batter to rise during the fermentation process. Else the fermented batter will overflow. So I transferred half of the batter to another vessel (each vessel was half filled with batter).

best idly batter recipe     Tamilian idly dosai recipe


Step 13.
Close the vessel with a lid and place them inside the preheated oven (Double check if the oven is switched off). Close the oven doors. You can keep the oven lights on. One of my friends Laksh said its warmth can also aid the batter to ferment. Let the batter stay overnight or at least for 8-12 hours.

idly maavu pulika vaipadhu

Step 14.
For me it took 15-18 hours to ferment the batter. Fermented batter releases a distinctive smell. Fenugreek seeds play an important role in giving this smell and in the fermenting process. If your batter did not rise nicely until the brim, don’t presume that your batter did not ferment. Take a ladle full of batter from the vessel and check if the batter in the vessel has holes and air bubbles in the depression left by the ladle. If you see the air bubbles and feel the fermented smell then your batter is ready to use.



If I wanted the batter to ferment in 8 hours, I add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of baking soda (or baking powder) just before mixing the batter and setting it ready for fermentation (i.e. adding it along with salt in step 11). This really will give better results during harsh snow season. The below pictures are the fermented batter during summer season. Same kind of fermenting results if you add baking soda (or baking powder) during the winters.

fermented-idly-batter-1    fermented-idli-summer-1


Step 15.
Once the batter ferments, you can use it right away to make idly and dosa. Normally, mom does not mix the fermented batter. But I normally give a mix with the ladle. I do not beat the batter, but only mix it. Beating it will release the gas and the bubbles in the batter which are the key to make soft fluffy idlis.

white-lentils-dosa-batter   dehusked white lentils

Step 16.

Take the required amount of batter in a small vessel and keep the remaining batter in the refrigerator immediately since leaving it in room temperature will make the batter to sour too badly. [But, during winters even after I see the idli-dosa batter rise, I do not keep them in fridge. I let them stay in room temperature for half-a-day giving them more time to ferment well until I’m satisfied with the fermented smell. That’s why in step 14, I’ve mentioned the total fermenting hours as 15 during snow season.]

refrigerate the fermented batter



3Ts [ Tips | Tricks | Tactics ] to make Idly batter in Mixie (Blender/Mixer Grinder)

Grinding Idly-Dosa batter in Mixie (mixer grinder/blender) and grinding idli-dosa batter using wet-grinder are completely different stories. Because:

  1. Unlike the wet-grinders that use stone for grinding, mixers depend upon their blades for grinding. Size, motor and their functioning with closed-lid are the other limitation when we try to grind batter using a mixie.
  2. Aeration plays a major role in grinding batter for idli. Aeration gives nice volume to the urad dal batter. We should give enough space inside the mixer jar for every batch of rice/urad dall we grind in the mixie.
  3. Grinding urad dal in a wet-grinder gives nice volume since the wet-grinder has a wide-open-mouth. But when you make the urad dall batter for idly using a mixie, the urad dal may not produce similar volume to the batter. If the quality of urad dal is very good, then rice : urad dal ratio of 3:1 cups should do fine when you grind in mixie. Add 1/4 cup more of urad dal if grinding in mixie is not giving much volume to the urad dal batter.
  4. If you do not leave enough space in the mixer jar and try to stuff more of rice/urad dal in a single batch then the mixie will get heated soon. The motor and the blades of the mixer grinder are designed only to hold certain amount of the material and to run only for a certain time continuously.
  5. At times the lids may even fly due to pressure in an overloaded mixie jar. If you operate the mixie continuously more than 25-30 seconds they start to generate heat. Worst case, the blender will stop working. If this happens, press the red button that is present at the bottom of the mixie motor. So operate the mixer continually rather continuously.
  6. The heat generated by the motor heats up the jar which in turn heats up the batter. Heating up the batter means killing the good bacteria in the batter. This will lead to tasteless idlis and dosas.
  7. Another important point which we miss when we grind the idli batter in mixer grinder is the consistency of the rice batter. Since we won’t be able to check the doneness of rice easily like we do it in wet-grinder, we operate the mixie too fast that the rice will get ground too smooth. You should feel a rough rice batter (with tiny granules) after it is ground. We do not need smooth rice batter for making idli. Only urad dal must be ground smooth and not rice.
  8. I use Preethi Eco Plus Mixer Grinder (Mixie) and I use the medium sized jar for grinding (jar marked with green dot in the below series of picture). Do not neglect this point. The large jar might look like a boss but it is not grinding the batter properly. It gets heated too badly and stops functioning abruptlymixie-grinding-idly-batter-1

The points given above are only for grinding idli/dosa/adai batter. Otherwise, this mixie [Preethi Eco Plus Mixer Grinder (Mixie)] is a sweet heart to me Winking smile.

3Ts [ Tips | Tricks | Tactics ] to make Idly batter in cold weather conditions without oven

Follow any of these points to ferment Idly batter in Winter seasons if you do not have an oven.

  1. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of baking soda (or baking powder) while you mix the batter before fermenting. Take an old jean and iron it with the highest temperature settings. Immediately after ironing wrap it tight around the batter vessel. This should give enough warmth to the batter to rise. Tip shared by one of my Managers in office Open-mouthed smile.
  2. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of baking soda (or baking powder) while you mix the batter before fermenting. Place the batter vessel inside a big vessel of warm water and close the vessel of water with a tight lid.



Other secrets in making the Idly-Dosa batter (Idly/Dosai Maavu)

There are several myths in the making of Idly batter. But I’m no chemist or an experienced chef to explain the chemistry behind every myth. Though I can question my mom and can fill my post with all the information about Idly-dosa batter, I leave it to the readers to understand the chemistry behind these myths.

  1. Once you mix the batter and make it ready for fermenting, just sprinkle little water with the tip of your fingers.
  2. Close the batter vessel with a heavy lid. We place a plate and keep the dosa-stone above the plate.
  3. Adding fenugreek to the Idly batter does 3 jobs. It helps in the fermenting process, gives great smell to the batter (that in turn passes the smell to the Idly and Dosa) and gives the Golden color to the Dosas.
  4. There is nothing separately called “Dosa batter”. Fermented Idly batter is dosa batter, or may be Fermented Idly batter + little more water = Dosai batter. If your batter did not ferment nicely and you need Dosa, instead of water, add little sour butter milk or curd with the batter before making the Dosa.
  5. If the idly turn out to be hard, add little (may be 1/4 tsp.) of baking powder in the batter and beat well. Then the next batch of idlies should be soft.
  6. During the winters in India, the batter won’t ferment nicely. So I add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of baking soda (or baking powder) when I mix the batter before fermenting (in Step 11.). Since we do not have an oven in India, we place the batter vessel above the stove (of course, switch off the flames. And the stove should have been kept busy all through the day, enough to supply the warmth throughout the night to ferment the Idly batter. Else it will result in an unhappy marriage between the rice and the urad dhal I don't know smile.
  7. We never have used split urad dal (udaitha ulundhu) for making the Idly batter. You can also use Black lentils (Karuppu Ulundhu) instead of white lentils. It gives more volume to the batter while grinding.
  8. My maternal grandma says, “Maava nalla adichu idly oothu”, i.e. once the batter ferments, beat it nicely and make Idly. Since the Urad dal portions will be raised nicely, the rice portions will be left underneath. So she asks us to beat the batter before making Idly.
  9. My paternal grandma says, “maava adikaadha, maava adikaadha…”, i.e. once the batter ferments, DO NOT beat the batter. Take a ladle-full of batter just like that and make the Idly. Since the Urad dal portions will be raised nicely, making Idly without beating will give snow-soft Idly. But to me, both were EQUALLY soft and tasty (phew, hope I handled it tactfully. Both the grandmothers should be happy watching me from the skiesSmile)
  10. Mom uses sea salt (kal uppu) to mix with the batter.
  11. If you have leftover sour idli-dosa batter (புளிச்ச இட்லி மாவு) do not throw it. Save it in the refrigerator. Whenever you prepare a new batch of idli-dosa batter add 2-3 tbsp. of it (in step 11.)  You can follow this tip if you do not have baking soda handy. This will sure make your idli-dosa batter to ferment easily. Or you can use sour idli-dosai batter when you prepare gothumai dosa (wheat flour dosa).

Back in home, the ratio of measurement used is 1 kaapadi arisi with 1 veesampadi ulundhu. I don’t know the “Cup” conversions of the Tamil measurement of “Padi”. If anybody here knew it, please do the conversions for me. [My imaginary conversion says they should be approximately 3:1 of rice and urad dal with a little more of rice that you can grab in your hand.]


I always relate the making of Idly batter to a Wedding between the Rice and the White lentils. Finding good quality rice and white lentils, washing and soaking them separately before they are ground together, the fenugreek seeds playing the role of the bridesmaids accompanying the bride right from the beginning of the Wedding, then the wedding chaos – grinding the Rice and the white lentils, and then the wedding games to make the pair feel comfortable – mixing both the batter thoroughly together with salt, finally the bridesmaids pushing the bride into the most awaited special night of the couple – fermenting of the batter in a nice warm place. Then what happens the next morning? The bride wakes up like a beautiful fresh bloomed flower with her glowing face brimming with shyness and joy Flirt female.

[Click image to enlarge]


Fine, even after this long stretch of writing about the Wedding between the Rice and the white lentils, what if this turned out to be an unhappy marriageAnnoyed? What if they did not turn out to be a happy couple Eye rolling smile? What if any of the tips did not work for them Thinking smile? Worry not, I can suggest a good recipe for a happy ending – Recipe using unfermented Idly/Dosa batter – Coming soon…. Hot smile

Or you can try this new experiment of mine… Fermenting Idli-Thosai Batter without using oven or baking soda during snow/winter/cold season.

Mangala from Cooking.Jingalala.Org
Eat Well !

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Dear Readers,
Sure the recipe tastes far great than the pictures shown. To show you the process in making the recipe with step-by-step pictures and to show you the outcome of the recipes with some cool photographs, I spend quite a lot of time in photographing it without minding the food getting dry or limp or not-so-hot-enough for us to eat (or sometimes without minding that we are hungry :)

But your comments can make me forget all my tiresome efforts I spend in deciding, preparing, cooking, shooting and composing a recipe post just for you! If you find the recipe useful please leave us a comment. I would also like to know if you tried the recipe and if the recipe came out well. Even if it didn’t, tell me that. I can guess or figure out what might have gone wrong or if I missed out to put any essential points in my recipe post. You can share the pictures of the tried recipes in our Facebook page or you can e-mail us!

Thank you for your visit.
Read more. Try out our recipes. Eat well!

  • Nice research on Idli batter Meenakshi! 🙂 Appreciate your patience in taking such a nice pictures.

    I think almost all South Indian girls will do this research once you come out of TN! Do stop by n read my research if you can! 🙂இட்லி

    I’ve given the link under the label idli, u can find all mokkai posts at the end! Hahaahaaa! 🙂

    • Hi Mahi,
      Neenga enna Meenakshi-nu koopadradhu romba pidichiriku 🙂
      Thanks Mahi. Vandhu comment seekiram poduren.

  • Meena

    this was so helpful information,,,thanks

    • Mangala

      Hi Meena,
      Thank you so much 🙂 Sure, I’m next planning to update it with Idly and Dosa recipes. DO check.

      • Sathiya

        How can i make idly not be soggy can you please give me some tips

        • Hi Sathiya,
          I’ve never experienced soggy idlies. So I called my mom and asked for answers for your question. It depends on the idli steamer. I use the cloth type steamer with one plate. If you use two plate steamer see to it that the perforations of the low level plate is straight to the idli in the top level plate and vice-versa. Also do not close the steamer too very tightly. If you are using cloth type steamer, do not cover the plate with the cloth very tightly. Leave a little space to vent the steam.

        • Helo Sathiya,
          I’ve never experienced soggy idlies. So I called my mom and asked for answers for your question. It depends on the idli steamer. I use the cloth type steamer with one plate. If you use two plate steamer see to it that the perforations of the low level plate is straight to the idli in the top level plate and vice-versa. Also do not close the steamer too very tightly. If you are using cloth type steamer, do not cover the plate with the cloth very tightly. Leave a little space to vent the steam.

  • kalvj

    Every nite I am tempted to read ur blog esp for the story part and end up preparing the recipe.. 🙂 Made me smile while mixing the batter before putting them in the oven! 🙂 🙂

    • Kalp,
      I should say, I am very grateful for your comments 🙂
      They really are encouraging me.

  • meena, actually, ur recipes with these pics r encouraging me to cook.. livelya iruku pictures..resembles veetu saapadu. thank u for that! 🙂

    • you know what Kalpna, if I have give reasons to lay in sofa and forget about my blog, you give reasons to build it seriously.
      Thank you very much for your words Kalp 🙂 🙂

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  • I had not even heard of Dosa until a few weeks back and innocently started with a recipe I found on line. I used rice flour. ( A crime I now understand ;-> ) and ground oats. I so enjoyed the result I started researching. Thank you for sharing so much useful information. I realize I still have a LOT to learn!!!

    • Afra,

      Thanks so much for visiting and reading through the recipe.

      I will update with more posts on Dosa and Idli 🙂

  • Mona

    Hi Meena
    Thanks a lot !!!!!!!

    I am staying in Denver where the climate is -9. I was much worried in fermenting idli batter. I tried exactly what you suggest it came out very well. Idli was so soft. 🙂

    • Dear Mona,
      It’s so nice that you stopped by and left me a feedback. This is what we bloggers are looking for really 🙂

  • P.Tamizh Muhil

    Thank you for providing such a detailed step-wise instructions in preparing the batter and fermentation.It helped me a lot.

    • Hi Tamizh,
      Thank YOU for leaving the comments. I’m glad that it’s helping you 🙂

  • Aishwarya Rakesh

    Can’t agree more with you, my greatest failure till date ever since in landed in US, is with idly/dosa batter. tried many times over last two months n could not get the real Taste! your detailed explanation gives me confidence to try once more. Thanks in advance Mangala!

    • Dear Aishwarya,
      Thanks for the confidence in me. Do try and write to me how it turned out.

      • Aishwarya Rakesh

        hey Mangala, my 18 hrs wait has turned out to be fruitful. thanks a ton!!! the dosa is perfect, thanks again for the “step-by-step” instructions with pics, they helped!

  • Dhivya

    Hi Meena,

    My dosa s were never so tasty and always appeared dry.. I read your complete article and gave a try.. The idli’s were so soft this time.. 🙂 I too have the same preeti mixer so this turned out to be very useful.. Hopefully I will get wonderful dosa s this time.. thank you 🙂

    • Dhivi, I do not know why I did not get notification of this comment… 4 days since you commented! Thank you very much for trying out Dhivya 🙂 🙂

  • rsn_seattle

    hi meena, thank you for sharing the detailed post on how to ferment idli batter as I experienced the same challenge living in the pacific northwest area. I am on the 12th hour still with very little fermentation and I am hoping I can see something happen in another 3-4 hours. So I was always told that salt inhibits the fermentation process and the women in our family (kerala) always added salt after fermentation process right before cooking. So very interesting to note that it actually helps fermentation process. Also I did not know about the baking soda which I will now try. Thank you!

    • Hi RSN,
      Thank you very much for the feedback. I would like to hear if your wait happened to be fruitful. Yeah, for idli, dosa, paniyarams we used to put salt before fermentation. I’ve heard from my few Kerala friends that they won’t do it for Aappam batter. Add baking powder/soda only during winters. Sometimes I forget to add (during winters) but still batter ferments when I keep in the oven.

  • sana

    Hi, Mangala meenakshi : ) you made me laugh and smile, I was reading your Idly,dosa fermentation recipe from past half an hour thoroughly, great tips and with lot’s of patience and dedication you composed the whole post dear, I appreciate your sincere efforts. I prepare very soft Idly’s at my home using 1 cup of urad dal(whole) with 3 cups of Idly ravva(we get this ravva in all stores of Andhra) and I use wet grinder to make the batter. In Andhra we don’t use same batter to prepare Idly and dosa we have different measurements for both the recipes. Any how I enjoyed reading your post and I want to try it for sure. : )

    • That’s true Sana. I actually jotted down all the points and tips I learnt from mom and my experience before composing this post. That’s why I was able to list down all the tips to ferment idli and dosa batter. Hey, even my neighbor friend is from Andhra and makes idlis with idly rava. I would be grateful if you write to me your idli and dosa recipe, if you please 🙂
      Thanks so much for your appreciation!

  • Antony Jasmine

    Hi, I tried your method and got very soft idly. Really superb! Thank you meena!

    • 🙂 Hi Jas, you’re very welcome! Browse through the site for other South-Indian recipes and tips.

  • MadhuBala

    Hi Meena,
    Inda post ore vara prasadam enakku, rte from hot chennai i am in cold canada with mixer alone and your post is the best in my research for prerparing idly maavu in mixer.Great work. Do continue your service.

    • 😀 😀 I like your comment MadhuBala. Kandippa. I was not feeling good more than 2 weeks and your comment is slowly giving me strength to post more recipes. 😀 Happy that my idli-dosa maavu post helped you.

    • Janaki Henry

      I am in the same boat now from hot tamil nadu to cold canada.But
      unfortunately my mixie is down 🙁 ..I am planning to get a new mixer
      grinder here and was looking for a guide to make idli batter with mixer
      grinder just to decide whether to buy a wet grinder separately or not.
      Its so costly out here to buy both 🙁 And this post did its job with charm. It also told me few untold tips
      about grinding the batter. Thank you so much Mangala Meenakshi 🙂 and
      MadhuBala is everything working right using a mixer grinder in canada,
      Just wanted to confirm 🙂

      • Hi Janu,
        Thanks for all your comments 🙂 I still have only a mixer and still making good idlis 🙂
        MadhuBala, yeah we need your vote 🙂

  • Sup

    Hi, I have been experimenting with the idli batter for a year now -based on my mom’s recipe, from cooking websites etc- never had a satisfactory result until now. I followed your steps exactly and finally had a well fermented batter! Wish I had found your blog sooner! Thanks for an amazing cooking blog!

    • Sup,
      Very glad that my Idly-Dosa Batter fermentation experiment results are helping so many of our friends! Thanks so much for your feedback. Share, Enjoy!

  • Nandita

    Just tried it out, the batter fermented so well! The point of keeping a stone or something heavy on top is to make it air tight, so I just poured the batter into my 5ltr Hawkins cooker and it worked out great! Thanks so much, you made my life much easier! I love my dosa and coffee breakfast! 🙂

  • geetha

    Lovely ideas,Meenaakshi!especially useful to me who lives in a very cold place.Thank you.

    • Hi Geetha,
      Great to know these idli batter fermentation tips are helping you 🙂

  • kyipa

    Thanks very very much for ur very detailed information about Idly making & its fermentation process during cold weathers. I have my batter going in the oven with the hotwater. Cant wait to see it ferment soon. i have one question though which kind of rice is perfect for the idly. ? some use normal rice, some basmati & others rava/parboiled rice. I just wanted to use the rice which gives the soft texture. Will wait for ur feed back. Thanks again. cheers

    • Thank you for the feedback Kyipa.

      We use ‘Idli rice’ for making idlis. I use the brand ‘Udupi Idli rice’. I’ve also used brands like Swad and Lakshmi Idli rice. I find these three brands to be good for making idlis. For Urad dal I use the brand Khazana Urad dal. You can find all these brands in any Indian stores (in 20lb bags). If you wish to buy it online, you may refer to this link:

      My neighbor uses ‘Idli-rava’ for making idlis. She uses the brand ‘Lakshmi Idli rava’. I will try to get the recipe from her and post how to make idlis using ‘idli ravai’.

      The texture and the taste of the idlis differ based on whether you use idli-rice/idli-rava.

      Idli’s texture also differs based on the quality of the rice/rava and urad dal.

      Are my explanations confusing? 🙂

  • muthukavitha

    hi meenakshi,
    my self muthukavitha, recentl bought a grinder and trying out to get a successfull batter…but had failed out…and now i tried once again and allowed for fermentation…results will be known by tomo morning…….
    my odubt is all of them here in chennai says tht the ratio for rice:urad dhal is 4 : 1 or 5 : 1…but in ur measurements it has been mentioned 3 : 1 pl make tht alone clear….

    i would like to appreciate for one valid reason..,though the ppl surrounded here knows the exct procedure and tips will have no heart to share,,but u have done tht so detailed…hats off..

    • Hi Kavitha,
      Like I mentioned in this idli batter post, at home, the ratio of measurement used by my mom is 1 kaapadi arisi with 1 veesampadi ulundhu. She uses wet grinder to make the batter. Urad dal increases in volume beautifully if you use a wet grinder for grinding it. However when we grind the same amount of urad dal in mixie, it wont produce so much of volume. That’s the reason why I gave the ratio 3:1 (rice:urad dal ratio). Please share your results of fermentation. Love to help you!

  • JM

    Hi Mangala,

    Really very nice blog about Idly batter fermenting. I have been wondering how to prepare nice fluffy idly using MIxie. I hvae been looking for tips in blogs too. but how come i missed ur post this long I dont know 🙂 actually am supposed to go for grinder purchase today(Diwali shopping in india).However after seeing ur blog I have changed my plan. I am going to try your approach and update u shortly. u have saved almost 8K for me 🙂 by the way, oru Kaappadi is nothing but 4 times veesampadi. Idly batter is usually 4:1 ratio…

    • I’ll wait for you to write the results of your Idli Batter fermentation…..
      1 kaapadi = 4 veesampadi 🙂 Oh…Thanks for the conversions JM. Will you also do me the conversion into cups? 1 kaapadi = how many cups?

      Thank you very much for your time to read and write notes in my blog JM 🙂

  • saritha

    Hi meenakshi! thanks for the superb recipe. This worked out well for me!

    • Hi Saritha,
      You’re welcome. Share these tips on Idli batter fermentation in cold climate with your friends too!
      Happy it worked out well for you! 🙂

  • Hello Anna,

    You’re every Welcome!

    Yes, you can grind puzhungal arisi (parboiled rice) in Preeti mixie. You will soak the rice before grinding, right? Because I’ve never tried to grind just the rice without soaking.

    Idli rice is pulungal arisi (i.e. வேக வைத்த நெல்லில் இருந்து எடுத்த அரிசி). However, the pulungal arisi (parboiled rice) which we use for lunch (சாப்பாட்டு அரிசி with gravy. e.g. Ponni Pulungal arisi) cannot be used to make Idli.

    You SURE can grind medhu vada batter in Preethi Mixie. Make sure you use at least a minimum of 1 full cup of urad dal and you grind in the jar which I showed in this post. Soak the urad dal for 1 hour. When you grind add just 1 ladle of water. Do not grind too much (பொங்கி வர வரைக்கும் ஆட்ட கூடாது). I assume you know how the consistency of medhu vada batter should be. Need not grind too smoothly. After grinding, if you have rice flour with you, add 1 tbsp. and mix it with the batter along with cumin, pepper, ginger, curry leaves, green chilies and small onions.

    Please write feedback once you make the vadas.

  • Deepa

    Hi Mangala, Making good fluffy idli has been a challenge for me. I gave up making batter and was using only store bought one despite reading so many blogs. Your very detailed directions gives me hope. I have the same mixie too so I am going to try a small batch and its winter here so it will be a good test.

    • Hello Deepa,
      Thanks for having hopes in my Idli batter fermentation tips. Love to know your results!

  • Sathiya101

    My name is Sathiya from canada.i have 3 questions about the idly batter.The idly batter does not look white but yellowish white. Its not exactly like the real idly smell, it has a funny smell to it. Most importantly the idly is very soggy. Please reply to this asap. I have been waitimg long for a reply amd i am planning to make idly this long weekend.
    Thank you

  • Shailaja

    Thank you so much for the awesome step by step instructions for making idli. i have tried numerous times in the past 11 years and this is the first time i was successful. The idli’s turned out soft and yummy. I think what really helped was an estimate in how much water to add while grinding and ofcourse loved the tips.

    Thanks again

    • Hi Shailaja!
      Thank you very very much for writing feedback on this Idli post 🙂
      Your comment really made my day!

  • Susan Sisarran

    Very informative post… thank you for all wonderful tips. I just learned to make Idli’s/Dosas and found a great way to ferment the batter in cold conditions (I live in Virginia). I create a warm spot over a heat vent by using a high stool and draping a thick blanket/comforter over the stool creating a sort of tent. I then place the containers inside the tent close to, but not over the vent. It has worked perfectly every time. Thanks again Shailaja for this post… it is great for newbies like me.

  • softidlislover

    I have got stuck in winter here…My husband loves soft fluffy idlis.But i have got stuck in cold winter…My idli batter is not rising …I tried wrapping my idli container with sweater..Still it is not rising even after 12 hours … then tried another method of placing my idli batter vessel inside a hot pan of water it raised a little bit after 12 hours.But the hot water cools down after sometime…I changed the water only twice should i increase the number of times of changing water?Made idlis with it ,and got not so soft idlis..Give me a way out to make it ferment in 12 hours maximum…Have no oven….

  • Ani

    Hi, Thanks for ur valuable tips.
    I just had a doubt can i use raw rice along with idli rice in equal proportions like 2 cups of raw rice 2cups of idli rice and 1 cup of urad dhal

  • Divya Alfred

    Hi, i don’t know if this question has been asked before. But, can i make the batter without adding fenugreek seeds? (i don’t have any at home right now! 🙁 )

    • Hello Divya,
      You can make idli without adding fenugreek. Possibilities of the results: Idlis may not be soft, idli batter may not ferment quickly. The idli batter wont have that wonderful fenugreek smell after fermenting. Dosas wont be golden in color. 😀

      • Divya Alfred

        Thanks for the quick reply Meenakshi.. unfortunately the Indian store is too far from where I am right now! I am gonna try it without the fenugreek.. hope it turns out tolerable at least! :p

        • You’re welcome anytime Divya! So did the idlis turn up well?

          • Divya Alfred

            Hmm.. not bad for the first attempt I should say! But I have a feeling I didn’t grind the batter well enough. Am using a mixie so I have a feeling the batter was a little grainy. I’ll try one more time and if I have the same problem then am coming right back to you! Thanks for so patiently clearing everyone’s doubts!

          • Hi Divya,
            That’s great! Yes Idlis are their best when the batter is ground in a wet-grinder. Sure put your results here , would be useful for other readers just like you! 🙂

  • Deepa nayak

    Hi Mangala, I live in snowy weather. I struggled big time to make softer idlis. Following each step of grinding using Mixer in colder places from your blog is what helped me get softer idlis. Big thanks to your article. I wasn’t aware of adding baking soda part to aid fermentation. 🙂 Happy yeayyy !

    • Dear Deepa,
      Really happy to know my article on Idli-Dosa batter fermentation helped you to make soft idlis in the snowy weather 🙂 🙂
      Thank you so much for the time you took to send me a feedback! Love.

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