(South Indian Rice Pancake/Cake)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Soak Time: 6-8 hours; Fermentation Time: 10-12 hours 20 hours
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian


  • 2 cups of Idli rice
  • 1 cup urad dal, whole or split
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 cup Aval (pressed rice) *
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup of cold water


  • Wash both Idli rice and urad dhal separately. Wash until the water runs clear.
  • Soak Idli rice and urad dhal with fenugreek separately for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Drain water.
  • Soak Aval with enough to cover it for 5 minutes and then drain.
  • Grind Idli rice with 1⁄2 cup of cold water. If too dry or too thick, add more cold water.**
  • Grind urad dhal and fenugreek with 1⁄4 cup of cold water if too dry or thick. Add 1⁄4 cup more water if needed. (To test if soft, place a small drop of urad dhal batter into a bowl of water. It should float. If not soft, it will sink to the bottom. You will need to grind some more.)
  • Grind the soaked and drained Aval with urad dhal and fenugreek.
  • Mix all ingredients together for about 2 to 3 minutes with your hands. Cover batter. Do not close the lid completely.
  • Keep the batter in a warm place.***
  • The batter is fermented when the batter has risen and you see air bubbles.
  • Add 1 tbsp of salt to the batter and mix. Add more salt if needed.
  • The batter is ready for Idli and Dosa.

For Idli:

  • Add 4 cups of water to the bottom of the Idli maker and let boil.
  • Spray mold with nonstick spray or wipe with oil/butter.
  • Add ¾ of batter to the mold.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to check. The toothpick should come out clean.****

For Dosa:

  • Add water to the batter to get a thinner consistency, similar to the pancake batter.
  • Add oil to grease the pan and place on stove to heat.
  • Once the pan is hot, add a ladle of dosa batter to the pan and spread into a thin circle.
  • Drizzle a thin layer of oil once bubbles start to appear on the top.
  • Flip the dosa to the other side for about 1 minute.
  • Dosa is ready when cooked through.



Both Idli and Dosa can be served with Sambar or Chutney (coconut, mint, tomato, etc.)
*Soak it for about 5 minutes, drain well before grinding.
**Use cold water during grinding to prevent the blender from heating and affecting fermentation.
***During winter, you can turn the oven on and warm it to about 250° for about 3 minutes, and then turn it off. Keep the batter in the oven for fermentation. Keep the batter pan in a larger pan in the oven to catch the batter if it overflows. (Often the fermentation takes over 10-12 hours and over 12 hours during winter.)
****Idli is made in an Idli mold. A non-stick spray or oil will help the Idli from sticking to the mold.
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