Rava idli is not something I would usually write about. But it is one of my favorite breakfast dishes and I make it so often. In fact the first dish I think of when I see a jar of rava or semolina is to make idli. The soft texture of the idli with a slight bite aided by a fluffy feel as it melts into your mouth is what breakfast is all about. Rava idli is easy to make and it can be made a lot faster if you have roasted rava on hand. All you need to do then is to add curds or plain yogurt, some seasoning and vegetables if you like. The most delicious breakfast is ready to make your day. You can serve it with coconut chutney or coriander chutney or pickle. But I find it flavorful enough to be had as is.
Rava idli is also special to me because it is one of the first dishes I made successfully when I started managing my home and kitchen independently. It has evolved with me and is a good yardstick to measure my cooking skills against.
Let us make some blissful breakfast –
So what makes the rava idli so awesome? It needs to have a fluffy texture while holding its shape firmly yet soft enough to come apart in your mouth without much effort. It needs the gentle subtle flavours of spices without overpowering the rava in the idli. If you like big bold flavours you can always amp up the spice levels and make a kind of masala rava idli but the simple version, when made well, is one for the years.
Curds is the key for the perfect Rava Idli
Probably the most important ingredient in the rava idli is the curd. The amount and taste will determine how well the idli turns out. Ideally you add twice the amount of curds for the rava. So, if you take 1 cup of rava, you add 2 cups of curds. But as we all know that curd management deserves a 5 hour online course at the least. You never have enough when you need it while at other times you have way too much. So you can make do with one and half or even one cup of curds for a cup of rava. Just add water for the balance. The more curds you add the softer is the idli. So if you can add 2 times the curds.
Another important aspect is the taste of the curds. The slightly sour curd works best for rava, be it idli or dosa. That does not mean you can’t use fresh curds. You can but the flavours explode when the curd is slightly sour. So if you live in cooler temperatures, then set the curd out of the refrigerator the night before you make the idli and it will be just fine.
How to flavour the Rava Idli
I like the simple subtle flavours for the rava idli. That involves a tadka with mustard seeds, bengal gram, ginger and green chillies. You can finely chop and saute onions, capsicum, spring onions, etc. You can also change the colour with some turmeric and red chilly powder. Paprika will also work well. Any vegetable, finely chopped or grated, can be used in this batter. I would recommend not using too much of vegetables because they will take a lot longer to cook and that can adversely impact the texture of the idli.
This post is updated with better pictures and some additional gyan and tips! 😉
- Idli mould
- 1 cup Rava / Semolina
- 2 cups Curds / Yogurt
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Channa dal / Bengal gram / Kadala parupu
- 1/2 inch Ginger, grated
- 1-2 Green chillies
- 1 Carrot, small, grated
- 1 tbsp Fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- Dry roast the rava in a pan till it gives out a lovely aroma, around 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring it frequently to avoid blackening of the grains
- Once roasted, set aside in a plate to cool
- Heat the oil in the same pan and add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle
- Add the channa dal,finely chopped or grated ginger and finely chopped green chillies and fry till the channa dal changes colour
- Turn off the heat and add it to the rava. Add grated carrot, chopped fresh coriander, salt and mix all the ingredients to combine
- Either add 2 cups of curds or 1 cup curds and another cup of water
- Mix well to make a thick batter and set aside for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes the rava would have absorbed the curds and water and becomes a thick lump. Add baking soda and enough water to make it a batter which is slightly thicker than regular idli batter. When the batter is dropped from a ladle to the vessel, it should fall smoothly and not in lumps
- Grease the idli moulds with a little oil and add the batter till the moulds are almost full. Steam for 12 minutes and set aside for 10 minutes
- De-mould the idlis gently with a spoon and serve with chutney or sambhar of your choice