A classic relatively light steamed rice and lentil cake that is a popular breakfast item on Indian tables. Idlies are served with fresh coconut chutney and or a light lentils stew called sambhar. Idlies are made with a naturally fermented sourdough batter, that can be also used for dosas and uthapams. In short, a very versatile and useful batter.

Idlies: Soft Steamed Rice and Lentil Cakes [Vegan]






  • 2 cups idli or other parboiled rice (do not use Basmati rice for this)
  • 3/4 cup white lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Water for soaking
  • Oil for greasing the molds


  1. Soak the rice and the lentils for at least six hours with about 2 cups of water each. Add the fenugreek seeds and the salt with the rice.
  2. In either a stone grinder or the blender, first, blend the lentils with very little water until light and fluffy.
  3. Remove and set in a large container or in the steel insert of the pressure cooker.
  4. Add the rice mixture and blend until smooth with just a hint of texture. Mix with the lentil mixture. You can use your hands to mix, the bacteria from your hands actually assists with the fermentation.
  5. Place the mixture in a warm place or in your pressure cooker. If using the pressure cooker, set the pressure cooker to the yogurt setting. Let it ferment for 8 hours. Open the lid to be greeted with well-fermented batter.
  6. Grease the idli molds and pour the batter into the molds until about 3/4 filled.
  7. Place an empty pot in your pressure cooker and fill with about 1 and 1/2 cup of water. Place the idli stand in the pressure cooker.
  8. Steam for about 7 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.
  9. Remove and serve hot with your favorite chutney.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 1,107 Total Carbs: 166 g | Total Fat: 27 g | Total Protein: 41 g | Total Sodium: 9 mg | Total Sugar: 0 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.