A simple recipe with just a few ingredients, this no-fail IDLI recipe ferments the batter and steams the idlis in the Instant Pot! Easy to follow recipe and PERFECT results each time!
The days are getting cooler. A bowl full of sambar with idlis dunked in it is something I crave on windy cold evenings. Making idlis at home is one of my favorite things to do. Plus, piping hot sambar and delicious colorful chutneys make the perfect accompaniment.
As the days get colder, it becomes difficult to ferment the batter at room temperature. While it is often warm on the West Coast during the day, it does get pretty cool through the night. Fermenting idli or dosa batter becomes a challenge for months.
I started using Instant Pot to ferment the batter and there has been no looking back. Starting now through winter I shall make the batter using the Instant Pot for sure. The confidence that when I open the pot I shall have a container full of well fermented batter is so good! I can promise my family idlis for dinner and be sure the batter will be ready thanks to the pot.
A lot of my friends make the batter from scratch. A ton of them buy the batter from the store and use it to steam idlis. With this recipe I am sure EVERYONE can make it at home! It is a NO FAIL recipe that I have been using for months.
Get PERFECT batter for BETTER idlis EACH time!
Perfect idlis start with making the perfect batter. I use Urad Dal gota that is easily available in Indian stores. The rice I use with this is Idli Rice. Instead of this, idli rava (Cream of Rice) can also be used. The same proportion as rice works well for idlis.
Soaking the grains in enough water is important. As they absorb water, the level of water might fall below the grains. Add more water if required.
Next step is grinding. I have been taught by my grandmother to grind dal first, and then rice. Using the water that was used to soak while grinding adds to better idlis.
Add enough salt to the batter and make sure the batter is not very thin. Using anything more than 4 cups of batter in all is not a great idea. The fermented batter will be more than the 6-quart Instant Pot can hold. So be careful!
Once the batter is done, the rest of the procedure is pretty simple. It is as simple as 1-2-3. Just mix the batter, spoon into steamer cavities and steam the idlis. PERFECT idlis each time 🙂
Why use the Instant Pot?
The fermentation of idli or dosa batter needs warm temperature. During winters the change in temperature during day and night is not the perfect condition to ferment the batter.
Using the Instant Pot YOGURT mode is a great idea. With an insulated case, the temperature is maintained for the time we need, giving great results irrespective of outside temperature.
CAUTION here! Using the Instant Pot for fermenting the batter works really well. But beware; DO NOT ferment the batter on HIGH or NORMAL setting. This will be too warm for the batter. At that setting the batter will start cooking!
Plus, I have mentioned adding a couple of ice cubes in the batter to maintain a slightly cooler temperature. It works really well to avoid cooking the batter in the pot instead of fermenting it!
Hope you all try this method and make the batter at home! Use the Instant Pot to steam idlis works really well too. The idlis can also be steamed in a traditional cooker.
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Urad Dal 1 cup
Idli Rice 3 cups
Methi Seeds/Fenugreek seeds 1 tbsp
Poha/Flattened Rice 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tbsp
Oil to grease idli stand
To soak and Ferment the Batter
Wash and soak the dal and rice in two containers using enough water to submerge them. Add the fenugreek seeds in the container with the dal. Let them soak for 6-7 hours or overnight.
Using a blender process the dal using little water. Do not use too much water else the batter will be too thin. Then process the rice along with the flattened rice till smooth.
In the base of the Instant Pot add the processed dal, rice and salt. Mix well. Add 2-3 ice cubes on top. The batter should not be runny but not too thick too. Add
Set the mode of the Instant Pot to 'Yogurt' and 'Less'. Set time to 10 hours. Cover using a glass lid or the Instant Pot lid. If using the Instant Pot lid, set valve to venting.
Once the timer shows YOGT, open and see if the batter has doubled. If not, reset the timer to 2 hours and let the batter ferment.
Once fermented, the batter can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week. The top portion of the batter is BEST for idlis and the bottom layer can be used to make dosa.
To steam Idlis
Grease the idli stand with oil or non-stick spray. Spoon in some batter in each of the cavities.
Add some water to the Instant Pot insert and place the idli stand in it. Set the mode of the Instant Pot to 'Steam' and vent to 'venting'
The time required to steam the idlis is 10 minutes. After that, remove the idlis and enjoy with one of these: