Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Chettinad special soft Idli/Steamed Rice Cake:

Soft Idli with Therakkal/Tomato Onion Gravy

Soft Idli with Malli Chutney

Chettinad is famous for its soft, malligaipoo idlis.

Achis use Idli ponni and Ulundu, in ratios ranging from, 4:1 to 5:1.

Achis never use soda or any other softner. If we follow their tip, we are sure to get very soft idlis.

Tips Tips Tips for Soft Idlis:

The quality of Ulundu/black gram is the predominant factor, which determines the texture of the idlis.

If you are living overseas (other than India), try to get good quality Ulundu imported from India. (Here, in Singapore, good quality Ulundu/Urad dhal is available at Ambal Provision shop, Dunlop Street, if you want special quality, ask the shopkeeper for 'Madurai Ulundhu') Avoid half ulundu for idlis, at least for Dosais we can manage. Also, try to buy from time to time (i.e) try not to over stock.

If the quality of ulundu is not good enough, try to increase the ratio of Ulundu, like 3:1. For 3 cups of rice, 1 cup Ulundu.

While soaking rice and ulundu, soak them separately and grind them separately. Because, soaking, as well as grinding time differs for Ulundu and Rice.

Rice needs to be soaked at least 3 to 4 hours. To expedite soaking, try to use warm water, the temperature should be warm, NOT hot.

Ulundu can be soaked for ½ to 1 hour.

Grind Ulundu for atleast 30 minutes. If the quantity is more, grind for 45 minutes. Add water little by little, from time to time.

The process may appear to be tedious, but the result will be definitely rewarding.

Now-a-days many youngsters give up this healthier breakfast, just because they don’t know these simple techniques.

Once you learn to do well, it will be very easy.

You can make 6 to 8 cups during weekends and refrigerate in separate containers for each day’s use.

When you refrigerate, next time when you use, make sure to leave it outside the fridge for ½ to 1 hour before making idlis.

Idli – Dosai Maavu/Batter:


Idli Ponni Rice/Parboiled rice – 4 cups

Ulundu/black gram/Urad dhal – 1 cup

Salt – 3 tsp.
Idli Ponni/Parboiled Rice.
Perfect Ulundu/Urad dhal/black gram for Idli.


Soak rice in water for 3 to 4 hours.
After 2 to 3 hours, soak ulundu/urad dhal for min 30 minutes.
Grind ulundu first, adding enough water from time to time and set aside.
Grind rice, until it becomes fine. Add salt, combine ulundu and rice really well. Add enough water, the batter should not be thick. Thick batter hardens the idlis.
Store it in two containers, each half filled. Allow it to ferment for 6 to 8 hours. By the time it should have risen and doubled up. If not fermented enough the idlis won’t have any flavour, will be hard and tasteless.
If rainy season, allow more fermenting time. To expedite the process you can leave the batter inside the convection oven (baking oven, with lights on). Make sure, oven is switched off.
Now the batter is ready. Steam cook the idlis for 5 to 7 minutes.
Soft idlis can be served with Chutney or Sambhar or any other tiffin Gravy.



  1. when do you put salt ? while grinding or, whenever u make idlies ? i meant, keep batter without salt in fridge. whenever u try to make idlies, add salt and make it.

    do we need to keep the batter in fridge after fermentation or before fermentation?

    fresh batter is good to make idly or dosa?

  2. Hi Gowri,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I usually add salt while grinding rice, later I mix it with Ulundu batter.
    I leave the batter to ferment at least for 5 to 6 hours before keeping it in fridge.
    I prefer making Idlis with the fresh batter, before refrigerating., it will turn out super soft.
    But, as I've mentioned earlier, you make Idlis after allowing the refrigerated batter to get warm for an hour two, the Idlis will turn out fine.
    For Dosas, fresh or refrigerated, dilute the batter with water and you'll get perfect Dosas.

    Hope this helps :)

  3. thank you so much :) yes this helps a lot:)


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