Wondering how to make soft idlis and crispy dosas?….Then you are at the right place to get the right formula for perfect soft, fluffy and sponge like idlis and crispy dosas in my breakfast themed week. You must be wondering why I named it Idli and Dosa Batter? It’s just that I use the same batter to make both idli and dosa….that’s the best part about this recipe .
For all the experts out there, let me tell you that this is a very basic post….but you never know, may be I have some extra tips for you too, so no harm in checking this out my version of Idli and Dosa Batter;).
Making Idli and Dosa Batter is not rocket science, it’s all about grinding to the perfect consistency with enough water and fermenting it. And as I always say, it comes with practice…trial and error to master the art of making soft idlis and crispy dosas. To be honest, I still keep experimenting different ratios and including some new ingredients. As always, I do have a couple of variations in making the batter but for now I would like to share this recipe, which is common to prepare both idli and dosa.
Read through for a detailed description otherwise just scroll down to the recipe card.
Off to the making of Idli and Dosa Batter!!
Step-by-Step process in making
Idli and Dosa Batter:
Moving on to the process, let me explain how and why I use certain ingredients based on my knowledge. If I’m wrong, you can correct me and any suggestions or extra tips are always welcome.
- I use a stone grinder/wet grinder to grind the idli batter. I know that not everyone owns a wet grinder. You can also use a normal blender with high power (minimum 700 watts) to grind, but you will have to reduce the quantity of rice to 3 cups or even 2 ½ cups. This is because grinding black gram in a blender may not yield airy and frothy batter when compared to grinding in a wet grinder. When using a blender, you can add a handful or two of cooked rice while grinding to get soft idlis.
- Idli rice or parboiled good quality rice is the best choice for rice. Place rice in a big bowl and wash with 2 to 3 exchanges of water till the water is clear. Soak rice for a minimum of 5 hours in water.
- Always use whole black gram/urad dhal and not the split dal as the former will give a better yield of batter after grinding. Take black gram, bengal gram and fenugreek seeds in another bowl and wash. Fenugreek seeds give fluffiness to the batter so that you get soft idlis and crisp dosas. Bengal gram gives crispy texture to dosas. The bowl should be big enough since the black gram doubles in size after it is soaked. Washing urad dhal a number of times will not allow it to rise while grinding and fermenting. Soak for about 3 hours. So I normally soak it for 2 hours after soaking rice. I’m sure you can calculate that.
- Wash and soak flattened rice (also known as poha) in another bowl. By using flattened rice, you get soft idlis and nice airy dosa when made thick and crispy dosa when made thin.
- Always grind rice and dal separately to get best results. I usually grind dal first. I’m using wet grinder/stone grinder for grinding.
- Drain water from soaked urad dal and grind in a wet grinder adding water ¼ cup of cold water every 10 minutes. Use drained water for grinding. After about 40 minutes, the urad dhal becomes soft, airy and frothy. Transfer to a bowl that is large enough to hold the raised fermented batter the next day.
- Drain water from soaked rice and rice flakes. First add the rice flakes to the grinder, sprinkle some water and let it run for a minute. Now add rice slowly in 3 to 4 additions alternating with ¼ cup of water. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to grind completely. Take some batter in between your fingers and test it, it should be smooth or slightly coarse. It works well for both consistencies. Knowing the right texture of ground rice and urad dhal is important.
- Transfer this rice batter to the bowl with urad dal batter and add salt and mix well with your hands ( don’t be lazy about it! The hand provides additional heat that aids the fermentation process). Do not mix it in the grinder, otherwise you end up getting rock hard idlys. To be on the safer side, transfer the batter to 2 containers after mixing so that it doesn’t overflow after fermenting. It should be filled only up to 3/4th, so as to allow space for fermenting.
- Keep closed in a warm place undisturbed overnight (8 to 10 hours) for fermenting. You could see that the batter would have risen after fermenting. Climate plays an important role in the fermentation process of the batter. If you are living in a cold climate area, you will need longer time to ferment or you can also place it in the oven overnight with the lights on, which also helps in fermenting the batter. A well-fermented batter yields soft idlys. I hope you are able to differentiate the raised batter.If you are not using the batter immediately, you can refrigerate and use it for about a week. Usually I make idlis only the first 2 days after fermentation, later I make dosas. Of course, dosas can be made even on the first day after fermenting.
- 4 cups Idli rice par boiled rice
- 1 cup black gram or urad dal whole
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon Bengal gram or chana dal
- ½ cup rice flakes or flattened rice or poha
- 1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons salt to suit your taste
- Required water to grind
- Wash rice and rice flakes, soak it separately for 5 hours.
- Wash black gram, fenugreek seeds and bengal gram and soak it in water for about 3 hours.
- Always grind rice and dhal separately to get best results. I ususally grind dal first.
- Drain water and grind black gram mixture in the wet grinder (advisable for soft idlies) until fluffy by adding drained water little by little at frequent intervals. It takes about 40 minutes to get a frothy batter. Transfer it to a large bowl.
- Drain and grind rice well for 20-30 minutes until smooth or slightly coarse by adding water at frequent intervals. Transfer it to the bowl with urad dal batter.
- Add salt to the batter and mix evenly with your hands.
- The consistency of the batter should neither be thick nor watery. It should be medium.
- To be on the safer side, transfer the batter to 2 containers so that it doesn’t overflow after fermenting. It should be filled only up to ¾ th, so as to allow space for fermenting.
- Leave it for 8 to 10 hours undisturbed in a warm place to ferment. You can see that the batter would have raised after fermenting.
- If you are not using it immediately, you can refrigerate and use for about a week.
- You can prepare idlis or dosas with this batter for the first 2 days and later only Dosas, Paniyaram or Uthappam.
- The quality of rice and dal is important to make the perfect batter.
- If you are grinding in a mixi/blender, use 1:3 ratio of dal to rice.
- Grind rice and dhal separately to get best results.
- Always use the water used for soaking to grind the batter.
- Try to use cold water while grinding urad dhal.
- Knowing the right texture of ground rice and urad dhal is always important.
- In cold countries you can keep the batter overnight in the oven with lights on which will help the fermentation process.
- Always bring the batter to room temperature before making idlis or dosas. Cold batter would yield hard idlis and rubbery dosas.
Happy Cooking 🙂