Soft Spongy IDLI – De-mystified!

Having struggled for 5 years before finally getting success, I can completely relate to those for whom making soft delicious idlis is but a distant dream! But thanks to my sis-in-law’s recipe and tips learnt from my aunt, Bhawani Rao…I have been making delicious soft idlis quite successfully for more than 12 years now!
In one bowl soak 1 cup udad daal with 1 cup of poha and in the second soak 2 cups idli rava (or if that is not readily available you can substitute with regular basmati rice) overnight. Next morning, grind the poha and dal mix as fine as possible using very little water and coarsely grind the soaked and drained idli rawa. Then mix the two pastes together and add some salt. Cover and keep overnight or upto two nights in a warm corner of the house. When it rises and is light and fluffy…it is ready to be steamed. Then mix the batter a couple of times by hand so that it is one cohesive mix ( important step ecause the idli rawa tends to settle at the bottom).20140303-182828.jpg
Now pour into greased idli moulds. Heat a little water in an Idli cooker/regular cooker(without whistle)till it starts simmering. The level of the water should be such that it does not touch the bottom most Idli mould. Now steam the idlis on medium high for about 10 minutes.
Leave in the cooker for another 5 minutes…for the residual heat to cook it further. Then take out the idli moulds and air for another 5 minutes….unmould and serve!!

PS: when you align the sections of the Idli steamer, make sure that the Idli moulds alternate between different levels!

For a delightful twist, you can use the same Idli batter and steam it in dhokla steamer…
to make white Sandwich dhokla filled with some tangy green chutney.
It’s visually appealing and tastes deeeliscious! ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. i tried this idlis yesterday and they come out fabulous..soft and spongy.thx again for such awesome recipes ๐Ÿ™‚
    i want to ask u one more thing- which aata do u recommend ruchi for making rotis or paratha on daily basis? i use aashirwad, sujata. plz reply soon.and keep up the good work.thx again.

    • So happy that the recipe worked for you Payal! ๐Ÿ™‚ as for your question about flour I usually like to use Ashirwad Atta. I make a very healthy and delicious multigrain flour mix loosely inspired by Baba Ramdev’s Arogya atta. Will post it on the website soon!

    • before trying I want to ask do I need whole skinless urad dal n what kind of poha,thick /thin or that doesn’t matter.

  2. Wow Ruchi…this z really awesome.ill surely try dis one.I don add my little lovely daughter z very fond of idlis m gonna make dese wid added poha..thnx โ˜บโ˜บ

  3. thank you so much for the quick reply!! i folow u a lot on epicurean delight and ghar ka khana too. also have cooked a lot of dishes following ur all the post. all the dishes came out awesome:) please share the recipe of aata (flour) soon.

    thanks a ton

  4. Hi Ruchi,
    I made idlys today using this recipie and it turned out fabulous!! All these years I avoided idyls as mine never turned soft & spongy, I did not like adding eon to idyls. This recipe is just perfect. Thanks again!!!!

    • Devanshi, what a lovely message to see at the start of the weekend…THANKYOU for the feedback, so glad your idlis came out well!

  5. Hii, I have tried few other recipes by you and it has turned out pretty well, thanks for awesome recipes . I just have a quick question , if I am substituting idli rava with rice do I still need to go with 2 cups rice thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi ruchi.
      What exact process. Do I have to follow.
      If I use basmati rice. I mean with consistency of batter. Or anything specific.

  6. Hey Ruchi,
    How many Idlis does this ratio yield ?

  7. Even I m struggling with idli’s,,,, everytime fingers crossedโœŒ will try this recipe surely…. just a single q,,
    As it’s autumn now here in germany, do I need to add soda/eno to the batter ?

    • Just cover with warm blanket and keep in the warmest corner of your house ,..that will help the batter ferment nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hello Ruchi,
    I made these idlis today and it turned out so soft and spongy!!! I was thrilled ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing this recipe dear!

  9. Oh wow! Am a big fan of your recipes! This idli batter was superb! Never thought my idli a would be soft! Thanks a whole bunch!!

  10. Ruchi,
    Thank you for this recipes. Your blog is mind blowing. I recently bought a Vitamix blender and am finding difficulty grinding idli batter. Pls can you show the procedure of grinding batter using Vitamix. It would be really helpful

  11. Hi Ruchi,
    Tried these idlis today… like always tried out great as your other recipes. But my idlis tried out with streaks of orange color. batter looks white though. Any idea.. what is thereason?

  12. Hi ruchi.i finally tried the idlis using your method and it was so light and soft. Though I used it next day Fter grinding. I tried making dosa with this but was coming out great.

  13. Hi! Ruch I made the idli according to your recipe but had a hard time taking them out. Pls tell what I could have done wrong. Thank you

    • You must air dry them for 5 min, then try taking them out gently with a wet spoon.

  14. Hi Ruchi
    Awesome blog!
    I have two requests: up to what speed you grid better in your Vitamix ?

    My green chutney turns dark green once I steam sandwich dhokla .. Any idea what should I add / improve in chutney or method of making?


  15. I tried this recipe today. For the first time my idlies were SOFT. Thank you so much for sharing your tricks. I used basmati , do you think idli rice would make any more difference? I tried your sambar recipe the other day. It was another big hit as well ? Keep sharing ?

  16. Absolutely wonderful recipe ! Not only did the batter rise perfectly, the idlis were soft and spongy like never before !! I am now going to use and promote this concoction forever ! Thank you so much !

  17. Hi Riuchiie,
    I use wet grinder for making batter.any tips for that.can u share receipe with idli rice or ‘sona’ Masoori rice or basmati rice.sometimes idli rava is not in stock.

  18. I love this recipe and totally love the melt in the mouth idlys I get. Today, I’ve divided the 2 portions of idly rava equally in to sprouted Ragi flour and quinoa. Am keeping my fingers crossed hoping to see the same kind of results!!

    • – anyone who read my earlier comment – don’ try it. The original recipe Is perfect and trying the Ragi flour made it smell very weird like it had spoiled and I had to throw it all away.