September 30, 2013

Idly Dosa Batter | How to make Soft Idly and Crispy Dosa

Soft Idly

I wanted to make this post long time ago. Making Soft Idlies and Crispy dosa is everyone's wish but it is truly difficult to make that happen but don't worry you have landed at the right place. After coming to the US I found it every dificult to get the batter I used to make in India. I blamed the climatic conditions and was happy with what I got. When my Mom came to the US she helped me get the perfect batter. She increased the amount of fenugreek seeds I was using, first grinded the fenugreek with little urad dal, added more water while grinding urad dal, took the rice at a slightly coarse stage which drastically improved the quality of the Idly/Dosa. She also asked me add 1 cup of raw rice along with 3 cups of Idly rice instead of using only Idly Rice.After that I have always got perfect Idly/Dosa.

I have recently moved to west coast and we have lot of North Indian families in our commuinty. I was surprised to hear that most them make Idly/Dosa with readymade batter available here. Idly/Dosa is considered to be South Indian breakfast item but nowdays everyone loves it for its taste. Grinding the batter at home is always better and it is preservative free. If you grind it once a week you are good for one week. I normally do not make breakfast we have cereals, bread, oats, omelette etc., so Idly/Dosa is our staple Dinner recipes. We love our Idly/Dosa with Spicy Chutney or Hot Sambar.

Idly Dosa Batter


Idly Rice - 3 cups
Raw Rice or Sona Masoori Rice - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tbsp

Soaking Time
  • Rice - 6 - 8 hours
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 6 - 8 hours
  • Urad Dal - 1 - 1 1/2 hours
Grinding Time
  • Rice - 10 - 20 minutes
  • Urad Dal, Fenugreek Seeds - 25 - 40 minutes
Fermenting Time: 8 - 15 hours (depends on the climatic conditions)

  • Wash Idly Rice, Raw Rice until water runs clear and soak together for about 6 - 8 hours.
  • Wash and soak the fenugreek seeds for about 6 - 8 hours.
  • Wash the Urad Dal until water runs clear and soak for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  • Wash and clean the stone grinder.
  • Wash and keep a container large enough to collect the batter and mix.
Method for Idly Dosa Batter
  • To the clean stone grinder add the fenugreek seeds and handful of urad dal and grind with little water for about 3 - 4 minutes. The fenugreek seeds are slightly harder than the urad dal so doing this helps grinding the seeds well.
  • Next add the remaining soaked urad dal and grind by adding water at regular intervals. Need to add water enough to keep the batter soft. This is important.
  • Grind the batter until it is smooth. This takes about 25 - 40 minutes depending on your grinder.
  • Collect the ground batter to the large container and keep aside.
  • To the grinder next add the rice.No need to clean the grinder. If you have a 1 litre grinder you can divide the rice in 2 batches and grind.
  • Grind the rice for about 10 - 20 minutes depending on your grinder. It need not be very smooth like the urad dal batter.
  • Transfer the ground rice batter into the same container with the ground urad dal.
  • Add required salt and mix with bare hands until everything is mixed well.
  • The batter should be only 3/4 th in vessel if it is more then keep it 2 vessels.
  • Close the container and allow it to ferment in a warm place for about 8 - 15 hours. Do not use a airtight container.
  • When it is fermented the batter will have slightly risen and will be porous.
  • Mix well with a laddle and store it in an air tight container in a refrigerator.
  • You can start using the batter for Idly/Dosa as and when needed.
Method for making Idly
  • Remove the batter from refrigerator and place at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  • Fill about 2 - 3 inches of water in the Idly Cooker and allow it to boil.
  • Spread 1 or 2 drops of oil in the Idly mould.
  • Pour about 1 small laddle of batter in the Idly mould so it is only 3/4 th.
  • Stack the Idly Plates in the rack and carefully place it inside the Idly Cooker.
  • Steam the Idlies for about 10 - 12 minutes in medium flame.
  • Insert a tooth pick in the center of one of the Idly if it comes out clean it is done.
  • Do not overcook it will make the Idly dry.
  • Allow the Idlies to cool down for 10 minutes or so.
  • Use a wet large spoon to remove the Idlies from the plate.
  • Serve hot with Chutney/Sambar.
Method for making Dosa
  • Remove the batter from refrigerator and place at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat the dosa pan/kallu in medium high flame add few drops of oil and spread it over the kallu with a half onion or kitchen tissue.
  • When a drop of water sprinkled over the dosa kallu sizzles it is heated enough.
  • Pour about 1 big laddle of batter in the center of the dosa kallu.
  • Quickly spread the batter in concentric circles depending on how thin you want the dosa.
  • Drizzle gingely oil around the dosa and allow it to cook for about a minute or so until the bottom side becomes golden brown.
  • Using a flat spoon turn over the dosa and allow it cook the other side.
  • Turn the heat to medium low.
  • Remove the dosa from the pan and sprinkle water to reduce the heat.
  • Add few drops of oil and spread it over the kallu before making the next dosa.
  • Serve hot with Chutney/Sambar.

  • Adding enough water while grinding urad dal is very important to get soft Idlies.
  • Quality of urad dal also plays an important role to get perfect Idly/Dosa so buy a recognized brand.
  • You can also use you mixer for grindling the batter but to my knowledge you do not get the same results.
  • In the US due to climatic conditions it takes a longer time for the batter to ferment than in India. Normally I place the batter inside the conventional oven with the lights on or on the stove top with the surface lights on which helps to give the warm environment.
  • Make sure to use a large vessel as the batter will rise else you will end up cleaning your counter or oven.
  • The batter can be stored in refrigerator for about 8 - 10 days in the US and 4 - 7 days in India. It will be perfect for Idly/Dosa for the 4 - 5 days and then you can make dosa or Kuli paniyaram
  • If you do not have time for the Idlies to cool down you can show the back of the Idly Plate under running cold water and them remove with wet spoon to get them out perfectly.
  • Using cast iron kallu is the best option than non stick pans for making dosa.
  • Do not over heat the dosa kallu sprinkle water and spread oil after every dosa else it will be difficult to remove the dosa.
Crispy dosa



gr8 tips! thanks for sharing... the dosa and idlis look super yummy.

Thanks a lot for posting this method of how to prepare nice and soft batter. All the subsequent preparations are a testimony of the fact that how much soft and flavorful it was.

Who will not these crispy dosas and soft idlis. Yum

Hi,Nice post.But u forgot to mention the amount of urad dal needed.

Love that very crispy dosas, its been a while i had this much crispy dosas..Fantastic post..

@Anon Thanks I have updated the post !!

Thanks for sharing the authentic step by step recipes...the results were fantastic.

hi thanks for sharing the authentic recipes the results were fantastic.

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