Making soft Idlis and crispy Dosa is essential for any South Indian woman as it is a breakfast/dinner found in almost at all homes at least twice or thrice a week. Idlis are known to be an healthy food as it is a steamed food. Idlis & dosas are a comfort food for every South Indian.

There is no big secret behind the preparation of this batter, just some care should be taken in a prim manner to get a nice batter. This proportion I am using around 6 years old post marriage. Here i will give some tips to make this batter to make a fool proof batter.

Idli Dosa Batter Recipe

Preparation Time: 30 minutes+ Soaking time+ Fermenting time
Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes
Cuisine: Tamil
Makes- around 4 litres

Basic Idli Dosa Batter:
 Idli Rice (half parboiled)/ Raw Rice- 4 cups
Whole Urad dhal-1 cup
Fenugreek seeds/ methi- 1teaspoon
Salt- to taste(1 teaspoon/litre approximately)
Water- as required
* You could use 2 cups of any Raw rice/ Idli rice and 2 cups of Boiled rice together for a cup of urad dhal.

For Dosa: Add just before making dosa.
Sugar- 1/2 teaspoon/litre batter approximately

How to make soft idlis and crispy dosas

  • Wash the rice and urad dhal well atleast five times or more till you get clear water.
  • Add fenugreek/methi seeds with rice or urad dal; Soak the rice in a deep bowl by covering with enough water for them to submerge.
  • Add the urad dhal in a separate bowl with more water to submerge as urad dhal takes more water and increases in volume while soaking.
  • Allow both to soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from urad dhal and rice; set aside.
  • In a wet grinder grind the rice first for 5 minutes and then add water occasionally little by little to get a coarsely ground paste. You could use the soaked water or fresh water for grinding. When you touch the rice with hand you should feel the grainy texture like rice rava found in the batter for the right consistency.
  • Transfer the batter into the deep mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Now add the soaked urad dhal into the grinder and make a very smooth fluffy paste by adding water in between.
  • Transfer the urad paste over the rice paste.
  • Now clean the wet grinder with a cup of water and reserve the water.
  • Now add some salt to taste and mix both the paste well with hand in circular motion either clockwise or anti clockwise to incorporate air into the batter. Add the reserved water and mix well to make thick batter. Batter should not be too thick as it takes more time to ferment.
  • Keep the batter closed with a loose lid and ferment for overnight or around 8-10 hours. Fermenting time varies with climatic conditions summer it takes less time to ferment and winter takes more time to ferment. 
  • The size of the vessel is more important it should have some extra space to accommodate while the batter rises and some space to avoid spillage while mixing.
  • Once the batter increase in volume showing risen top forms a puffed up appearance indicates the batter is ready.
  • Using a ladle beat the dosa batter well to make uniformly mixed batter. Once you mix the batter the consistency should be really fluffy; set aside.
  • To store the batter keep it inside the fridge with a tight lid and store for a week.
  • Take the batter and dilute with little bit of water if the batter is too thick. The consistency of the batter should not be watery. 
  • Heat water in  idli steamer till rolling hot. 
  • While it is boiling, dip your fingers in oil and grease the idli plates.
  • Fill the plates with idli batter and arrange the plates on stand and transfer it on the steamer and close with a lid and steam for 5-10 minutes on medium high flame.
  • Check if done by inserting a skewer or knife at the centre. It should come clear.
  • If you feel the stickiness close with the lid and steam it for further 2 minutes.
  • Once it is done remove the plates and allow to cool for 5- 10 minutes.
  • You could sprinkle little water on top of the idlis as it makes the idlis easily come off from the idli plates.
  • Remove the idlis using a spoon and keep inside a hot box.
  • Serve with Chutney/ Sambar/ Podi.
  • Add half a teaspoon of sugar for approximately a litre of batter; add little water to dilute the batter and mix well before you make dosas as you require little loose batter for making dosas. The consistency of the batter should be bit runny than the idli batter.
  • Sugar makes your dosa to get a deep golden colour.
  • Grease the dosa tawa initially with oil and allow to heat well before make dosas.
  • Now start preparing dosas by adding big ladle full of batter over the hot tawa and spread with the backside of the ladle into concentric circles.
  • Drizzle little oil on top and cook the dosas till crispy.
  • If you make thick dosa flip the dosa and cook the other side too.
  • Check this link for the different Dosa Varieties which could be made with this batter.
  • I used to make idlis for 3 days after grinding the batter and dosa from the very first day to 7 days. I do not store the batter more than that given period of time.
  • You could grind and store the idli dosa batter in fridge if you do not have enough time to ferment. When you get time give extra time for thawing and allow to ferment the batter.
  • You could divide the batter into two lots and ferment once the first lot finishes. One of my friend does like this.
  • I used to avoid salt while mixing if I decide to store the batter for a week long without change in taste (sourness) in the batter. It takes extra 1 hour for fermenting. When i need i used to remove the required quantity and add salt to make idli/ dosa.
  • People even say that you could freeze the batter immediately after fermenting the batter and thaw properly and use it upto a month. But i have not tried as i am not that lazy. ;-)
  • Always bring the batter to room  temperature before making Idli dosa.
  • You could use a blender jar to make this batter but the batter the tends to get to heated up while grinding so grind little quantity at a time and pour some ice water if possible to balance the generated heat. Will post how to make idli dosa batter perfect in blender jar as a separate post.
  • In cold counties like the US or the UK, it should take more than 12-16 hours to ferment. So if you are caught up anywhere there, try keeping it in a conventional oven or any warm place.
  • Heat of the pan is very important to make crispy dosas. If the pan over heated reduce the flame and then start making dosas. I used to reduce the flame totally once i remove the dosa from pan till i spread the next dosa. Only for cooking i used to keep the flame to medium.
  • If the dosa sticks to the pan use cut onion and rub the pan to prevent sticking.
Idli Dosa Maavu recipe