No Rice Idli with Millets

I have been meaning to try Idli with Millets instead of rice for a while now, but have been putting it off. This is primarily because I am trying to use millets on a regular basis in my diet. I have already posted recipes for Varai Pulav/Sama Upma, Pongal with Barnyard Millet (Kuthiravali), Bajrichi Bhakri, Bajrichi Khichdi, and Jowar Dosa. However, if I am able to make Idli and Dosa with millets, then I can include millets in breakfast also.

A piece of spongy Millet Idli with some Molaga Podi
Spongy Millets Idli

I made Idlis with Barnyard Millet (Kuthiraivali in Tamil, Udalu in Telugu) as I had that at home. This time I used no rice or poha at all. The batter fermented quickly (4 hours in Mumbai’s hot and humid conditions) and the idlis were spongy though a bit drier than the regular idlis. I think next time I will steam them for a lesser duration.

The taste of these Idlis with Millets was quite close to traditional idlis, and I think I can safely say this idli variation will be made often in my home.

I also have some batter left and will make dosas with them tomorrow. 🙂

Idli with Barnyard Millet
Idli with Barnyard Millet

How to Make Idli with Millets

Idli with Millets served with Molaga Podi
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Idli with Millets
Prep Time
6 hrs
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 10 mins
 

This is a recipe for Idli made with millets instead of rice. The result is a spongy idli that tastes pretty close to the traditional idli.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Servings: 4 People
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
For the Millet Idli Batter
  • 1/2 Cup Udad Dal
  • 2 Cups Any Millet I used Barnyard Millet
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • Salt to Taste
Other Ingredients
  • Oil to Grease Idli Mould
Instructions
Making the Batter for Idli with Millets
  1. Wash the millets well and soak in 4 cups water for at least 4 hours.

  2. Wash the udad dal till water runs clear and soak it with the fenugreek seeds in 2 cups water for at least 4 hours.

  3. Drain and discard all the water from the millets. 

  4. Grind the millets to a fine paste.

  5. Drain and reserve some water from the udad dal and fenugreek.

  6. Add the udad dal and fenugreek to the ground millets.

  7. Grind to a smooth and thick paste using some of the reserved water.

  8. Take the batter out into a large enough vessel and let it ferment for at least 4 hours or till the batter rises. It won't rise as much as the regular idli batter.

Making the Idlis
  1. Add water to the steamer/pressure cooker, and let the water start boiling.

  2. Add salt to the batter and mix with a very gentle hand.

  3. Grease the idli mould with a few drops of oil.

  4. Add enough batter to each cavity to just fill it.

  5. Place the Idli stand in the steamer/pressure cooker and steam for 5 to 7 minutes.

  6. Turn off the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

  7. Serve hot with Coconut Chutney, Molaga Podi and Oil, and/or Sambar.

Recipe Notes
  • Be careful not to steam these idlis too much as they then become very dry. They do not need beyond 5 to 7 minutes of steaming.
  • Ensure that the water in the steamer is boiling already before you place the idli stand in it.
  • You can even use a 4:1 ratio of millets to udad dal.
  • I prefer to serve Idli with Millets with Sambar or Coconut Chutney as the idlis are a bit drier than the traditional idlis.

 

Step-by-Step Recipe for Making Idli with Millets

  1. How to Make Batter for Idli with Millets
    1. You can use any millet including Bajra and Jowar.
    2. Wash the millet well under running water and then soak in 3 to 4 cups water for at least 4 hours. The millets will not swell much but soaking helps with grinding.

    3. Wash the udad dal under running water till the water runs clear and then soak it with the fenugreek seeds in 2 cups water for at least 4 hours.
    4. Drain the water completely from the millets. We do not need this water.
    5. Drain all water from the udad dal and fenugreek and reserve some of the water as we will use it in grinding. This water helps the fermentation process.
    6. First grind the millets to a fine paste. Unless you are using Bajra or Jowar, the millets do not need much grinding.

    7. To the ground millets, add the udad dal and fenugreek.
    8. Grind to a smooth and thick batter (dropping consistency) using some of the reserved water.
    9. Remove the batter out into a vessel.
    10. Let the batter ferment in a warm place for at least 4 hours or till the batter rises. The batter for Idli with Millets won’t rise as much as the regular idli batter.

  2. Making the Idlis
    1. Get the steamer/pressure cooker ready by adding water and ensuring that the water has started boiling. This is important as it helps to cook the idlis faster and ensures the idlis afre soft and spongy.
    2. Add salt to the batter and mix with a very gentle hand. You will see that the batter has a lot of air and is spongy in itself. Avoid over mixing it as the idlis will become hard.
    3. As with traditional idlis, use a few drops of oil to grease each cavity of the the idli plate.
    4. Drop enough batter into each cavity to just fill it. The idli will rise quite a bit after steaming.
    5. Steam the idlis for just about 5 to 7 minutes and then turn off the heat.
    6. Let the steamer/pressure cooker cool for 5 minutes, and then open it.
    7. Let the idli rest for 2-3 minutes before de-moulding.
    8. Serve the Idli with Millets hot with Coconut Chutney, Molaga Podi and Oil, and/or Sambar.
No-Rice Idli with Millet
No-Rice Idli with Millet