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How to Make Rice and Urad Dal Idli (Rice and Black Lentil Idli)

Soft and fluffy idlis

Soft and fluffy idlis

What Are Idlis?

Idli is a traditional breakfast dish in South India. There are many varieties of idlis; they can be made with black lentils, finger millet, oats, cornmeal, etc. Of all of these varieties, idli made of dehusked black lentils (urad dal) and rice semolina is considered to be the healthiest.

Black lentil idlis are soft, fluffy, flavorful, and mild in taste. They are traditionally served with spicy condiments, like sambar, coconut chutney, onion chutney, or coriander chutney.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

25 min

12 min

37 min

16 idlis


  • 1 cup dehusked black lentils (urad dal)
  • 2 cups rice semolina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste


  1. Wash dehusked black lentils (urad dal) in water twice. Soak in freshwater for about 5-6 hours. Strain and collect the water.
  2. Grind lentils, adding cold-soaked water or plain water little by little. The batter should become frothy in the last stages of grinding. For making idlis, the batter should be moderately thick.
  3. Collect the batter in a big container. There should be enough space in the vessel for fermentation.
  4. Soak rice semolina in warm water for 10 minutes. Wash and drain the water. Add fresh water.
  5. Squeeze semolina by holding it inside your fist. Transfer it to the container with the lentil batter.
  6. Add salt. Mix with clean hands. Cover the vessel with a lid.
  7. Leave the batter to ferment. It takes about 8-10 hours for proper fermentation.
  8. After fermentation, the batter will rise. Mix once again. If the batter is too thick, adjust the consistency by adding water.
  9. Prepare a steamer or cooker. Grease idli moulds.
  10. Pour the batter into the moulds to cover 3/4 portion of the depressions. Keep the idli stand inside the steamer.
  11. Cook for 10-12 minutes on medium-high fire. If you are using a pressure cooker for steaming, do not use weight.
  12. After cooking, take out the idli stand. Sprinkle a few drops of water on hot idlis. This will moisten them and make it easy to remove them from the moulds. Leave for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove the idlis from the moulds using a spoon and transfer them to a serving bowl.
  14. Serve hot with spicy coconut chutney or sambar. Enjoy!

Important Notes

  • Soak the dehusked black lentils (urad dal) for at least 4-5 hours.
  • The time needed for fermentation depends on the temperature in the particular area where you are fermenting the batter. The higher the ambient temperature, the faster the fermentation will go, and vice versa. If you are living in cold temperature, keep the batter inside the inactive warm oven for speedy fermentation.
  • Don't add salt while grinding. Mix salt with the batter using your hands. The bacteria in your hands help in proper fermentation.
  • Keep leftover fermented batter inside the refrigerator. The fermented batter becomes sour if you keep at room temperature for a long time.
  • Be mindful of the amount of salt you are adding to the idli batter because you will be serving them with spicy condiments that contain salt.
  • Don't waste soaked black lentil water. Use it while grinding.
  • You can make idlis in any shape. The batter takes the shape of the moulds that you are using.
  • Idli will remain fresh for a day at room temperature.