Idli & Motherhood

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Unplucked eyebrows

Deep dark circles

Messy bun

Un washed face

Yoga pants

When you read these lines, what flashes in your mind? Yes, MOTHERHOOD!

Motherhood is like knowing joy, even while experiencing the hardest trials of life. Those hugs, the giggles, and the grins are the best part of motherhood. Along with a ton of joy there comes a lot of challenges for a mother. If you asked me, I would say, Bedtime is the best part of motherhood. Anyone that says anything different is lying! :D

I longed for sleep after having continuous sleepless nights. I cried even before my baby cried when she got her first shot. I changed diapers in between my meal time.  I walked the park with the baby and her bag in my hand(wow, doesn’t sound like a relaxing walk right?).

After a long sleepless night, the morning I wake up just to see the baby cuddles up to me. I couldn’t help but stare at the baby. There was so much love. I forgot the tiredness of long sleepless night in just that moment. I could spend the whole day doing nothing but keep looking at the baby and cuddle up. Motherhood can do that to you! In between challenging and frustrating times you experience shining moments of pure love and joy that make it all worthwhile.


Some of you may ask, “So, what is the title Idli & Motherhood?”  Is the story has any connection to motherhood?”, this is what I’m going to say, “No there is no connection”. Then why am I blabbering about motherhood now? Am I getting myself ready for a next one? Third?

Oh dear God, no Please! Two is quite a lot (2 hands 2 legs full). So no I’m not becoming a mother for the third again! Pleaaaassssee :D


It all started here. A few days back we all went to one of our very good friend son’s birthday. They had a new born recently, second one being a girl.  We also had a couple of adorable babies in the party. While talking to some of the mothers, hearing their baby/motherhood stories, I had my own flash back. That is where the thought of motherhood started, unannounced!


The thoughts continued in my head for a few days even after the party. It rekindled the memories back.  Some memories made me blush, some made me laugh and some really terrified me.  The thoughts were so strong I decided to write it down. :D. So that is why i’m talking about motherhood all of a sudden. :D That’s the story!

Now, let’s talk about idli now, shall we?

Idli is an integral part of our cuisine. At home we make Idli at least 3 to 4 days in a week for breakfast or dinner.  I make it so often that I forgot to document it in my blog. A lot of readers and friends asked me about that perfect batter recipe that gives you soft and spongy idlis. I just kept postponing the post for the a very very long time now. For those who asked me, here it is and apologies for delaying it so long.


I NEVER buy idli/dosa batter from outside, unless I have traveled and coming back home from a trip and have to make something quick. That’s the only time I buy batter.

My mom makes this idli/dosa batter at home all the time and I follow the same recipe. The batter comes out perfect and the idlis turn really soft(read tips and tricks mentioned below to get perfect idlis all the time). Once you make these at home, you will agree to me that buying idli batter is such a waste.


I make one common batter from which I make perfect soft spongy idlis and crispy thin dosas. I also make the batter in large quantity which I store refrigerated for a week and use it for different breakfast and dinner.  The quantity mentioned would give you batter that can be kept (in fridge) and used for a week.



For the batter-


3 cups idli rice(this is not same as raw rice we use in day to day cooking)

1 cup raw rice(normal rice/pachaiarisi)

1 ¼ cup whole urad dal, white color(ulutham paruppu)

1 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds(methi seeds/vendhayam)

Water as required

Salt to taste




  1. In a bowl add idli rice and raw rice. Rinse them once under water and soak in enough water. In another bowl add whole urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Add water for soaking. Rice and dal have to be soaked separately for minimum 6 hours to maximum 10 hours.


  1. After soaking period, rinse rice and dal separately 2 to 3 times once again.


  1. First in a grinder (preferably wet grinder) add urad dal with little water to begin with and grind until it turns smooth and fluffy. This might take somewhere between 30 to 50 minutes based on you grinder and the quantity of the dal used. Add water in very small quantities (about a tablespoon of water each time) in between the grinding time. Also scrap the sides while grinding to ensure all grains of the dal are ground even. One of the key in getting soft idlis is the consistency of urad dal batter. The batter has to be really smooth and fluffy(the volume doubles after grinding)


  1. Once done, remove the dal into a large bowl and set it aside.
  2. Next without washing the grinder, add soaked rice and grind it by adding little water at a time until the rice turns into a smooth batter. Remove into the same pan holding urad dal batter.


  1. With a stainless steel spatula, mix both the batter together. Set it aside for a good 8 to 10 hours for fermentation process. Preferably overnight.


  1. Next day, you will see the batter doubled it’s volume and raised well on top. With a spatula mix it well, add salt to the batter and mix again. That’s it. The perfect idli/dosa batter is ready.


  1. The consistency of the batter for idli will have to be thick to get soft spongy idlis. So do not add water to the batter if you plan to make idlis. And if you want to use this batter for dosas, take a portion of the batter required, add very little water mix and check if you got the right pouring consistency, then use the batter in making dosas.


  1. To make idli in traditional way, I use the aluminum idli pans. And instead of greasing the pan with oil, I use a wet cotton cloth on which I pour the idli batter(thick batter) steam it for 10-12 minutes and then gently remove it from the cloth.


  1. Idli’s made in these traditional idli steamer pans turns out very fluffy, soft and big. Serve steaming hot fluffy idlis with tiffin sambar, coconut chutney, spicy onion-tomato chutney, mint chutney. Or simply serve idlis with idli podi(idli chutney powder) topped with few drops of warm ghee(clarified butter).


My tips and tricks to get perfect idlis all the time-

  1. The most important aspect in making idli batter is the rice and urad dal ratio. I always used 4:1.4 ratio. That is, for 4 cups of rice(3 cups idli rice, 1 cup raw rice) I use 1 ¼ cup whole urad dal.
  2. ALWAYS use whole urad dal while making the batter. The broken ones don’t give you the same results.
  3. The soaking period of both urad dal and rice should be minimum of 6 hours. A well soaked rice and urad dal will give to nice smooth consistency batter.
  4. Another key factor for getting those perfect idli or dosa is the fermentation process. Ensure that you keep the batter in naturally warm place for 8 to 10 hours. If the season does not give enough warmth in your kitchen you might have to ferment for much longer time that 10 hours or heat up your oven to the lowest temperature and place the batter inside the oven with oven lights on.
  5. If your idli rice is red in color, you will get idlis that are slightly reddish. I love my idlis to be nice white in color so I ensure to use only white idli rice.
  6. I have mentioned the recipe for one batter that can be used for both idli and dosa. While making dosas, make the batter little thin and use it. But do not add water to the batter while using it to make idlis. Idli batter as mentioned above should be thick.
  7. You will get thin crisp nice browned dosas from the same batter as we added fenugreek seeds in urad dal. So don’t skip that.

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20 Responses

  1. I got you jyothi .2 hands and 2 legs full …Wonderful tips and tricks dear .Lovely shots as well.loved the oil shot so much

    • jyothirajesh says:

      Seriously Sathya, I some times feel I should have been an octopus, with 8 limbs and I could have done some much work :D :P
      Thank you for your sweet comment :)

  2. Shailaja says:

    Well said about motherhood jyothi…its really a sweet experience.. nice clicks jyothi

  3. Remya says:

    Thanks for the recipe Jyothi. Any particular raw rice brand to be used ? Wud any of sona masuri or indrayani do ?

    • jyothirajesh says:

      Hi Ramya, you can use any brand of raw rice. I ave use sona masoori and kolam rice and they both give same results, perfect idlis.

  4. Rakhi says:

    do you add soda-bicarbonate in the fermented batter before making idly’s ?

    • jyothirajesh says:

      Rakhi – no I never add sodium bi carbonate to batter. But I know some people add it to batter after fermentation and you can definitely add it too. Personally I never add it to my batter

      • Revathi says:

        I have heard that adding sodium bi carbonate usually makes your idli look more white n bright. For this reason, it is always used when making idli in Hotels. However, since it is not very good for your tummy, most of the households avoid it.

        • jyothirajesh says:

          You are absolutely right Revathi, adding soda makes idlis more soft and spongy. But i mostly avoid it, in winters when fermentation does not happen I use soda. but other wise I avoid it to as much as I could.

      • Rakhi says:

        That’s awesome, thanks! will have to try… My problem is they don’t turn out soft if I don’t add soda but will try your recipe next time :)

        • jyothirajesh says:

          Thank you Rakhi. Do try it out. If the fermentation happens right, then the idlis will turn soft with out the soda. You can add soad if you think the fermentation was not enough

  5. Revathi says:

    The idlis look so soft and spongy. The amazing pics have elevated the humble idli to the next level :-)

  6. Shilpa says:

    Hi Jyoti,
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe.Everytime I’ve tried making Idlis at home,has never worked,rather never fermented(kept the batter in the oven as well with lights on),don’t know what goes wrong,will give it one more shot with ure recipe.
    Can U tell me which brand of idli rice shud i get(want to get it right this time),so asking the minutest detail….again thx a lot for this!

    • jyothirajesh says:

      Hey Shilpa,
      I do not buy any branded idli rice, I buy it loose from the rice trader guys. Regarding fermentation, if it’s rainy or winter season, fermentation will take longer time. So try to keep it say even for 16 to 18 hours even if you have to. Just check if batter is risen to top and is almost doubled the volume at the end of fermentation process.

  7. Nimisha says:

    Hi Jyothi..

    Many thanks for sharing the receipie.. I love idli. Tried making many times but din come out well at all.
    In ur receipie, you have used idli rice. I am based out of Kolkata. Where can I get idli rice here and how is it different from normal rice.

    Many thanks for your patience and help.

    • jyothirajesh says:

      Nimisha I am not sure where idli rice would be available in Kolkata. You can try online stores like bigbasket, naturesbasket

  1. January 5, 2016

    […] Winner – 3rd Place: Idli and Motherhood by Jyothi […]

  2. December 26, 2016

    […] I have a fail proof recipe with all the tips and tricks to make that perfect idli in my other post. Check it out by clicking here. […]

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