Idli Dosa Batter


Learn step-by-step process and instructions to make idli dosa batter at home.

For those who have never tried idli and dosa or don’t know what it is, well let me tell you, dosa is like a crepe—a trendy south Indian breakfast made out of fermented rice and lentils.

And Idli is a steamed cake prepared by steaming the rice and lentil batter.

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Crispy folded dosa with coconut chutney on a white plate

Here is my simple, easy-to-follow, and no-fail idli dosa batter recipe that can be easily made at home

It’s easy to follow with step-by-step photos for soaking the ingredients, grinding, and fermenting the batter.

To make it easier, I have divided the sections into three different parts

Being a south-Indian, idli and dosa have been our go-to breakfast for as long as I can remember, My mom would make the dosa batter for the entire week and store it in the refrigerator in several containers.

Crispy folded dosa with coconut chutney on a white plate

However, I started buying the readymade dosa batter from the market, to avoid the long process of making it.

But, after moving to Singapore, I had no option but to make the batter from scratch.

I realized the texture and taste that you get from the homemade dosa batter is nowhere close to the store-bought ones, Moreover, the amount of satisfaction that I get by knowing the ingredients that I have put in the batter is comforting.

Hot Steamed Idli with coconut chutney on a white plate

Try making idlis on the first day with the fresh batter as it comes out so soft and fluffy and on the following days the batter can be used to make dosas and uttapam.

The leftover dosa when it gets sour and over fermented can be used to cook punugullu (Do check my punugullu recipe here.)

Since Singapore is a hot and humid country, I usually do not have trouble fermenting the batter.

However, my cousins who live in cold countries usually cannot ferment the dosa batter just as quickly by keeping it on the kitchen countertop.

Helpful tips to Make Idli Dosa Batter at Home

1. How do I ferment the batter if I live in a cold country?

If you live in a cold country, I would advise you to-

  • either ferment the batter in an instant pot by using the yogurt mode for 8-10 hours
  • or preheat the oven for 10 minutes, switch it off and place the batter in the oven with the oven lights on.

2. How do I ferment the batter if I live in India?

Warm temperatures help in easy fermentation, and hence in a hot and humid country like India, you may leave the batter on the kitchen countertop for 6-8 hours or preferably overnight.

3. What is the time taken for batter fermentation?

If you live in a warm country like Singapore or India, It hardly takes 6-8 hours for fermentation.

However, it may take as long as 10-12 hours for fermentation in cold countries.

4. Can I soak dal and rice together?

You can absolutely do that if you are making only dosas.

However, if you intend to make idlis with the same batter, it’s necessary to soak them separately as dal and rice have different textures.

To achieve those soft and fluffy idlis, it is essential to soak and grind them separately.

5. What should be the Ratio of dal to rice?

The correct ratio is extremely important to achieve a smooth batter, I have found that a ratio of 1:2 works best for me, Which means 1 cup of dal for 02 cups of rice, and it works wonderfully for both idlis and dosas.

6. Which rice to use for the batter?

Short grain parboiled rice, also known as idli rice, is the best match; however, sona masuri rice or any short grain rice comes a close second.

7. Which dal to use?

Urad dal, also known as split black gram, is used in this recipe.

8. Are fenugreek seeds essential or necessary for dosa batter?

Fenugreek seeds help significantly in the fermentation process, hence try not to skip them.

9. How much water do I add to grind the batter?

Soaking time defines the amount of water needed for the batter. Hence If you have soaked the dal and rice for a longer time, you may need less water. Do note that the batter should neither be thick nor too runny, just a medium flowy consistency.

Ex:- For 1 cup of soaked dal- you may need 1 to 2 cups of water

For 1 cup of soaked rice- you may need 1/2 cup of water.

10. To add salt before or after fermentation?

It’s pretty simple, salt is added to prevent the growth of bacteria; if you live in a warm country where the fermentation is fast, you need not add salt during fermentation but add just when you start making idlis and dosas.

However, cold countries need a long time for fermentation. Hence adding salt helps avoid the batter from going smelly and prevents bacteria formation.

11. How do I know if the batter is fermented?

The batter would be wrinkly, airy, and bubbly from the top, and you would also notice an increase in the volume.

Ingredients to make Idli Dosa Batter

  • 2 cups raw rice
  • 1 cup urad dal
  • 1tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • Salt as per taste
  • Water as per requirements

Cooking Instructions

Soaking procedure

1. Firstly start by adding 1 cup of urad dal and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds in a large bowl and then rinse it 3-4 times till the water runs out clear, add enough fresh water to the bowl and let the dal soak for 6 hours.

Urad dal and fenugreek seeds in a bowl
rinsing urad dal in water

2. Now, to another bowl, add 02 cups of raw rice or idli rice.

Rinse it a few times until the water runs clear and let it soak for 6 hours.

rinsing rice in water
rice soaking in a bowl of water

Blending Procedure

1. After 6 hours of soaking, drain the water from the dal and transfer the dal to a blender along with ½ to 1 cup of water. blend until it’s smooth. (Go slow while adding water and add more if needed).

grinding urad dal in a blender

2. Then, transfer the ground dal mixture to a large vessel.

3. Next, drain the water from the rice and add the soaked rice to the blender along with 1 cup of water and blend to smooth.

grinding rice in a blender

4. Furthermore, add the ground rice batter to the dal batter and mix for 1-2 minutes using clean hands as it helps in the fermentation process. (the consistency of the batter should be free-flowing)

smooth blended paste of urad dal

Fermentation Procedure

1. Cover the batter with a lid and let it ferment at room temperature or preferably overnight if you live in a warm climate.

2. If using an instant pot for fermentation, press the yogurt mode and increase the time to 8-10 hours.

3. The following day, the fermented batter should look frothy and airy. Stir it. and remove the quantity you need to make dosas and idli.

overnight fermented dosa batter

How to make idlis?

1. Grease the idli plates with coconut oil and fill them with batter; steam it in the idli steamer for 10 minutes.

greasing idli steamer plate for idli

2. Steam it in the idli steamer for 10 minutes, check with a toothpick after 10 minutes to check if it is cooked well.

Steamed idli in an idli steamer

Cool for a minute or two before removing the idlis from the idli plates.

How to make dosas?

1. Heat a nonstick pan or cast-iron tawa on medium heat, using a ladle, pour a ladle full of batter in the center, and then swirl to cover the pan. Sprinkle some oil or ghee on the dosa, and let it cook for a minute.

swirling dosa on a hot pan

2. Once the sides start to loosen, flip and cook on the other side. Serve hot idli and dosas with coconut chutney or sambar.

Folded dosa with coconut chutney kept on a white plate

Recipe Card-

Multi-purpose Idli Dosa Batter

SLICES OF LIME
A no-fail dosa batter recipe with three simple ingredients.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup urad dal split black gram
  • 2 cup idli rice or sona masuri or any short grain rice
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds methi seeds
  • salt to taste
  • water as per requirement

Instructions
 

  • Start by rinsing 1 cup urad dal and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 3-4 times until the water runs clear and soak them in enough water for 6 hours.
  • Next, rinse 2 cups of idli rice 3-4 times until the water runs clear and soak it in enough water for 6 hours.
  • After 6 hours of soaking, drain the excess water and transfer the dal to a blender.
  • Add 1-1.5 cup of water and blend the dal to a smooth mixture.
    Transfer the ground dal to a large vessel. (it should be a flowy consistency, not too thick nor too thin)
  • Next, drain the rice and add it to the blender along with ½ cup of water, Blend to a smooth paste and add it to the same container as the ground dal.
  • Now using clean hands, mix the ground dal and rice batter for 02 minutes.
    This greatly helps in the fermentation process.
  • Now cover the lid and let it ferment undisturbed for 6-8 hours or overnight if you live in a warm climate.
  • If you live in a cold country and using a instant pot for fermentation, press the yogurt mode and increase the time to 8-10 hours (do remember to cover it with a glass lid as it helps to seal the batter if it overflows during fermentation.
  • After fermentation, the batter should increase in volume and look frothy and airy.
    Remove the quantity needed for use and add salt and use
    Store the rest in several container to use as and when needed.
  • To make idlis, grease the plate with oil and fill them with batter. steam it in the idli steamer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, use a toothpick and check if its cooked properly,
  • Let it cool for a minute before you remove it from the idli plates.
  • To make dosa, heat a non stick or iron pan on medium heat, pour a laddle full of batter in the centre and swirl gently to cover the pan.
  • Sprinkle some oil or ghee on the centre and sides of the dosa, let it cook for a minute
  • Once the sides start to loosen, flip using a spatula and cook on the other side.
  • Serve hot idlis and dosas with coconut chutney or sambar.
Keyword Easy to make Dosa Batter, Idli Dosa Batter