Instant Rava Idli

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Here is a quick recipe to enjoy those lovely soft fluffy instant rava idlis whenever the mood strikes. Serve with coconut or peanut chutney for a delicious and healthy meal.

An overhead shot of Rava idli served with peanut chutney

The traditional idli preparation is time-consuming and labor-intensive. You need to soak the rice and the dal for 4-6 hours then grind it and let it ferment before it is ready to be steamed. The process from start to finish takes a minimum of 12 hours. It is not a dish that can be cooked up, in short notice.

That’s what makes Instant rava idli so popular amongst idli lovers. They are just as delicious and nutritious and can be made without any advance preparation.

What is Rava idli?

Instead of using the traditional rice and urad dal mixture, rava idli is made with a mixture of semolina, yogurt, and a leavening agent. The rava needs to be soaked in the yogurt mixture before being steamed.

The Origin of Rava Idli

This scrumptious dish originated in a time of deprivation and war. During the Second World War, the main ingredient for idli, rice was in short supply which made it difficult for people to make idlis the traditional way. As they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions, one enterprising restaurant, Mavalli Tiffin Room, better known as MTR, in Bangalore, Karnataka came up with this recipe of instant idli. They substituted the rice/urad dal combination with rava (semolina). And that’s how this instant version of idli was born that we now call rava idli or semolina idlis

How to make Instant Rava idli

A collage of images showing how to make Rava idli

Step by step instructions to make Rava idli

  1. Take some ghee in a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Prepare the tempering by adding asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the ghee. Once these start to sputter, add urad dal, channa dal, green chilies, curry leaves to the tempering and stir fry them for 10-20 seconds.
  3. Next, add sooji (semolina) and fry stirring constantly for about two minutes till it starts to change color and turns aromatic.
  4. Take the mixture off the heat and set aside to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Mix in salt, yogurt, and water (about 1.5 cups or as required) to form the batter. Cover the batter and let it rest for about half an hour.
  6. After about 30 minutes, the semolina would have soaked up most of the liquid. The batter is now ready to make the idlis.
  7. Add 1 cup of water in the idli steamer. Heat it over medium heat till the water starts to boil.
  8. Mix in Eno fruit salt to the semolina batter until the batter turns light and foamy. Do not over mix.
  9. Brush the idli molds with oil or cooking spray and then pour in a ladle full of the prepared batter.
  10. Carefully place the idli stand inside the steamer and secure the lid. Steam the idlis for 10 -12 minutes so they are cooked thoroughly.
  11. Wait for 5 -10 minutes for the steam to be released before opening the steamer and taking the idli stand out.
  12. Let the idlis rest for 5 minutes before taking them out of the molds. Scoop the idlis carefully out of the mold with a sharp knife.
  13. Serve it with coconut chutney or red coconut chutney or piping hot sambar.

Tips to make rava idli

  1. The consistency of the yogurt does not matter. If using thick yogurt, add more water and is using watery yogurt, use less water.
  2. Add Eno fruit salt only when you are ready to make the idlis otherwise the idlis will end up flat. 
  3. You can soak up to one hour – the longer you soak the better these idlis turn out. But since we want it instantly, 20-30 minutes will do. 
  4. You can substitute Eno fruit salt with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. I am not a huge fan of baking soda in this recipe because it leaves an after taste.
  5. Highly recommend using ghee to saute the semolina/rava. Ghee makes the idli flavorful and totally elevates the taste.

Variations

  1. Add grated carrots to the mix to include a dose of veggies.
  2. Skip the cashews to make it nut-free.
  3. To make it vegan, use coconut oil or any other oil of your choice for sauteeing. 

How to prep for Instant Rava idli ahead of time

You can make a large quantity of rava idli mix and refrigerate or freeze the mix until you are ready to make them. You can freeze them for up to 6 months.

Here are the steps to follow – 

  1. Complete the first 4 steps up until sauteing the rava.
  2. Once the rava cools down refrigerate it or freeze in a freezer-safe glass container or a Ziploc bag.
  3. When you are ready to use, let the rava come to room temperature, before adding yogurt and proceeding with the rest of the steps. 

Rava idli served in a black plate with peanut chutney

If you are looking for easy and delicious breakfast recipes, here are my top picks,
  1. Lemon vermicelli – This delicious and tangy Semiya Upma (Lemon Vermicelli) is just what you need to start your day. It is filling and comes together in 15 minutes from start to finish.
  2. Upma – a semolina based breakfast dish that takes less than 30 minutes.
  3. Idli – You’ll love this post if you have been struggling to get soft and spongy idlis. Learn all my tips and tricks to get perfect fermented batter even in winters!
  4. Buttermilk dosa – Buttermilk dosa – Delicious and soft, this dosa is perfect for breakfast, snack, and even lunch. Learn how to make it in a few easy steps.
  5. Kapparutti – Kappa rutti or Kappa rotti – This soft in the center and crispy on the sides 4-ingredient dosa or pancake from Mangalore is a culinary delight. Try it out today – no fermentation required!


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
An overhead shot of Rava idli served with peanut chutney

Instant Rava Idli Recipe

4.7 from 10 votes
Enjoy hot, soft and fluffy idlis anytime with this easy instant rava idli recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 12
Diet : Vegetarian
Course : Breakfast
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Heat ghee in a non-stick pan kept over medium heat.
  • Add asafoetida along with mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start to sputter, add urad dal, channa dal, green chilies, curry leaves and fry them for about 10-20 seconds.
  • Add sooji (semolina) and fry for about two minutes till it starts to change color and turns aromatic.
  • Take the mixture off the heat and set aside to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Add yogurt, salt, cilantro, and water (as needed) to form a mixture. Set the mixture aside for 20-30 minutes.
  • After about 30 minutes, the semolina would have soaked up most of the liquid. The batter is now ready to make the idlis.
  • Add 1 cup of water in the idli steamer and let the water come to a boil over medium heat.
  • Add Eno fruit salt to the semolina batter and mix till the batter turns light and foamy. Don't overmix.
  • Grease the idli stand with oil and take a ladleful of batter and fill the idli mold. Don't overfill.
  • Put the idli stand inside the steamer and close the lid. Let the steam build for 10-12 minutes before switching off the gas.
  • Wait until the steam is released (another 5-10 minutes) before you take the idli stand out.
  • Wait for another 5 minutes and then use a sharp knife to scoop the idlis out.

Notes

How to prep for Instant Rava idli ahead of time
You can make a large quantity of Rava idli mix and refrigerate or freeze the mix until you are ready to make them. You can freeze them for up to 6 months.
Here are the steps to follow - 
  1. Complete the first 4 steps up until sauteing the rava.
  2. Once the rava cools down refrigerate it or freeze in a freezer-safe glass container or a Ziploc bag.
  3. When you are ready to use, let the rava come to room temperature, before adding yogurt and proceeding with the rest of the steps. 
Tips to make rava idli
  1. The consistency of the yogurt does not matter. If using thick yogurt, add more water and is using watery yogurt, use less water.
  2. Add Eno fruit salt only when you are ready to make the idlis otherwise the idlis will end up flat. 
  3. You can substitute Eno fruit salt with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. I am not a huge fan of baking soda in this recipe because it leaves an after taste.
  4. You can soak up to one hour - the longer you soak the better these idlis turn out. But since we want it instantly, 20-30 minutes will do. 
  5. Highly recommend using ghee to saute the semolina/rava. Ghee makes the idli flavorful and totally elevates the taste.
Variations
  1. Add grated carrots to the mix, some even add peas.
  2. Skip the cashews to make it nut-free.
  3. To make it vegan, use coconut oil or any other oil of your choice for sauteeing. 

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1idliCalories: 93kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 226mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 32IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : Instant, Quick, Semolina Idli

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4 Comments

  1. Hi,
    If you are using Suji/Semolina then the recipe is not gluten free. Semolina is cream of wheat. Wheat products contain gluten. Please remove the label gluten-free for this recipe.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Nisha, Gosh! I am sorry for this. I must have mistakenly selected it. I’ll fix it right away. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Hi,

    The rava idlies look yummy! 😋
    Do you add room temperature yogurt or cold yogurt? Is it homemade yogurt or store bought? Thanks

    1. Sowji, I used homemade yogurt but you can use store-bought too. You can use cold yogurt. It should be fine.

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