Iddli and Dosai Batter

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Simple
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My biweekly routine of making iddli and adai batter is in progress. There are a number if you asking for the recipe and there are so many visitors on this page who are experts at this. You have been making iddli since when I was in a prior life. So I have hesitated and hoped that someone of you would respond to the requests but that has not happened. So I hesitantly post my very basic process for making iddli batter. As soon as I do there will likely be a number of suggestions and corrections. From that conversation may the perfect batter rise.

The key to good batter is consistency and texture. The goal here is a that soft iddli that South Indians discuss endlessly much as I have heard Italians discuss tomato sauces and the English discuss hot water bottles.

I often make and serve upppuma with accompaniments to my guests. It’s quite perfect for a special dinner if you dress it up with a few interesting vegetables and some broken cashew nuts. Try pine nuts or macadamia for a change. Your guests will cluck with pleasure. What I have provided here is a basic recipe and you should feel free to use the vegetable you have available. Include at least two or three different ones.

Iddli and Dosai Batter


Rinse three cups of rice with several changes of water to get rid on impurities and reduce arsenic* in the rice. The brown rice is optional. I think it will even work with half brown rice. The parboiled rice is important for getting the batter to rice well. Soak the rice over night after rinsing.

Separately rinse and soak the urad dal with the fenugreek seeds.

I have a wet grinder, thanks to friends, for this purpose. First grind the dal with enough water to get a tooth paste like consistency that is smooth and buttery and set aside. In wet grinder this takes about 20 minutes. Then grind the rice with a little more water to get a slightly wetter consistency. Add the salt while grinding and the rice batter can be a bit grainy. For me this takes about 10 – 12 minutes.

Mix the two batters in a large metal or ceramic pot that is not more than half full of batter. Whisk well to aerate the batter a bit and let it sit in a warm place in your kitchen to rise. This can be above your fridge or in the oven with the light on or on the counter if you have a warm kitchen. In a few hours or overnight, the batter will rise by at least 50 percent in volume. There is no greater joy than the perfectly risen batter.

Iddli is made in little iddli plates that stack 2 – 5 high with 4 – 6 depressions for the batter. A poacher pan will work. Steam 2 – 3 tbs of the batter in each cup for 8 – 10 minutes. Brush some oil or spray Pam to let the iddli slide out. Allow the iddli to cool and set for a couple of minutes before trying to get them out of the pans. I will add a few pictures soon to give you a visual.


  • Raw iddli rice or parboiled rice – 2 cups
  • Raw brown rice – 1 cup
  • Raw urad dal – 1 cup
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1.5 tsps

The same batter can be used to make dosa as well. I make iddli with the top half of the batter that is lighter and fluffier and dosa with the batter that settles to the bottom.

There are many dishes and variations that can be attempted with the batter from spicy stuffed or flavored iddli to masala dosa and even deep fried little hush puppies with chillies, coconut, onions and ginger. You are limited only by your imagination and intended waistline.