Rava idli is a popular one Food for breakfast originated in Tiffin centers of Karnataka. It is a variant of the traditional one Idli Recipe but made with oatmeal, cottage cheese and some spices. Rava means semolina and idli are steamed cakes. Making rava idli is quick and easy as it is an instant recipe that requires no grinding and fermentation.
If you are new to South Indian food, then read on to know more.
What is Rava Idli?
Rava idli are steamed cakes made with semolina, yogurt, spices, vegetables and a leavening agent. These are eaten for breakfast with coconut chutney & sago with potatoes (recipe at the end of the post).
Traditionally idlis are made with ground lentils and soaked rice. The dough is then fermented and steamed into cakes. These rava idli are quick to prepare as they skip the entire task of soaking, grinding and then fermenting.
The dough is made just by seasoning the ingredients and then mixing them with yogurt. The batter in the batter reacts with the yogurt (curd) and cooks to fluffy and airy steamed cakes.
The recipe shared here will give you delicious, soft and light rava idlis, all without the smell of curd or the taste of soda soap. If you have ever wondered how rava idli from MTR tastes so delicious and good with a light texture, then this recipe is a must try.
In this post I have also shared the recipe to make potato sago which is usually served with rava idli in hotels. You can find it after the step by step photos.
How to Make Rava Idli (Step by Step Photo)
1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a kadai. Fry 8 separate cashews until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. In the same pan, add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon chana dal and 1 tablespoon chopped cashews. Fry until the output turns golden.
3. Lower the heat. Then add 1 sprig of chopped curry leaves, 2 chopped green chillies and ¾ teaspoon of grated ginger. Fry for 30 seconds until the ginger is fragrant.
4. Immediately add 1 cup of rava/oatmeal and start mixing well. Fry the rava on low heat until it becomes crispy and slightly fragrant. Do not fry the rava.
5. Rava should be well coated with ghee. Totally invite this. You can also store the cooled rava idli mixture in a jar for further use.
Make Instant Idli batter
6. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and 1/3 teaspoon of salt. Then pour in ¾ cup of fresh curd/yogurt. I used homemade curd. Please make sure that the curd does not smell or taste sour. Otherwise the rava idli will smell of sour curd. Mix well.
7. Pour half a cup of water and mix.
8. Cover this and rest for 30 minutes.
Prepare steamer & Idli dishes
9. After 25 minutes, add a few drops of ghee or oil to each idli plate/mould. Lightly grease the plates and arrange a cashew in each mold. Sprinkle some grated carrots. Keep these aside.
10. Put water in a pot or steamer or pot or instant pot as you would with regular idli.
To steam in a pot or saucepan or steamer: I use 2.5 cups of water in my pot. After 25 to 30 minutes of soaking the rava, bring the water to a boil.
To steam in the Instant Pot: I pour 1.5 cups of water and let it boil until fried. I also cover it with an outer lid to speed up the process.
11. After 30 minutes of soaking, the semolina absorbs some moisture and becomes almost dry. Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water as needed to bring the batter to a smooth consistency. I used about 3 tablespoons but each time it varies from 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on the thickness of the yogurt and the type of rava.
12. The consistency of the Rava idli batter should be thick and smooth as you can see in the picture. When you spoon the batter it should be smooth on top and not lumpy. It shouldn’t even be pouring consistency. It should be like idli batter. Watch the video to know the right consistency.
Steam Rava Idli
13. Skip this step if using eno. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the batter and give it a good mix. This will not make the rava idli sour. But it is used to activate soda.
14. When the water in the steamer is heated, then add 1 teaspoon of eno or ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the dough. Stir gently a few times to incorporate the baking soda into the batter.
15. Quickly pour this into the moulds. Do not let the dough rest after mixing in the eno/soda. This recipe will give you 8 rava idli.
16. Place the stand of the idli in the steamer and steam it for 10 minutes on a high flame. The water should be boiling and steaming well all the time. When done, an inserted skewer comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
To steam in the Instant Pot: Once the water boils, place the idli holder in the Instant Pot. Press Cancel. Secure the lid and place the steam release handle in the direction of the vent. Steam for 11 to 12 minutes.
17. Let it cool for about 3 to 4 minutes. With the help of a soft spoon, grind the rava idli.
Serve rava idli with coconut chutney or potato sago. I have shared the recipe for making potato sago below the recipe card.
Sagu for Rava idli
Ingredients for 3 servings
2 medium potatoes
1 medium onion sliced
2 green chilies
1 spoon of besan
¼ cup water to mix the besan
1 tablespoon of oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ to ½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon urad dal
1 pinch hing/ asafoetida
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker. If cooking in a pressure cooker, cut them into 1 ½ cubes and cook with ¾ cup water per 1 whistle. If cooking in an Instant Pot, then place in a bowl and pressure cook for 5 minutes.
When the pressure is released naturally, open the lid. The potatoes must be fully cooked. Leave it aside.
How to make sago for rava idli
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard and cumin.
When they splutter, add hing, curry leaves and green chillies.
Add the onions and fry until they are transparent. Do not fry them.
Add turmeric and salt. Add water just to bring it to a consistency. I use ¾ cup of water in which I boiled the potatoes.
Let it boil.
Meanwhile, mix the besan with ¼ cup of water. Crush the grains and make a smooth mixture.
When the water starts to boil, pour this gently and mix well. You can add more water as needed to cook this.
Let the mixture cook and thicken.
Meanwhile, grate the boiled potatoes, keeping small pieces here and there.
Add it to the sago and mix it well. Add more water if necessary. When a wave comes, turn it off.
The consistency should be slightly runny as it will thicken as it cools.
Rava idli sagu is not too thick. It should also have some water to make it suitable to serve with rava idli.
Add coriander leaves and taste. Add more salt if needed.
Notes: This sago should have more aloo flavor and less besan. However if you prefer more, you can mix more besan with a little water and pour it.
You can add ½ teaspoon of ground ginger to the seasoning, but most of the time you won’t find that flavor in hotels.
More instant breakfast recipes
Dose of wheat
Pancake recipe without eggs
1.Baking semolina or rava over low to medium heat until fragrant without discolouration is the key to preventing them from becoming sticky.
2.Just the right amount of curd and soda or eno are the key to making the best rava idli. The drying agent makes them light and fluffy, so don’t skimp.
I have followed the same rule of using ¼ teaspoon of baking soda or eno to 1 cup of flour, in this case it is 1 cup of rava. It leaves no soapy aftertaste as ¾ cup curd and 1 teaspoon lemon juice are used to activate the baking soda.
3.Do not reduce the amount of ash or oil in the recipe as it is very important. With reduced amounts of fats, they turn out to be sticky.
Can I skip roasting the rava?
There are different types of rava or semolina in the market. My mom makes these without baking them and they always turn out good. It depends on the type of oatmeal.
She uses chiroti rava which is a finer version of regular semolina.
So the results will depend on the type of rava used. To be on the safer side, we always bake oatmeal until light.
Oatmeal or rava is a processed food, so it’s best to eat it in moderation. Since I had a lot of requests for a good rava idli recipe, I thought I’d share this one. For a healthier version use fine whole wheat rava or red rava.
Rava idli is served with Coconut chutney and sago with potatoes (find the recipe below). We don’t really like sago for this, so we usually serve it with coconut chutney and Idli sambar. Sometimes I make rava idli for dinner if I already have this regular sambar made for lunch.
Seasoning ingredients for rava idli
Notes on rava idli
- Curd and soda or eno are the 2 ingredients that make rava idli fluffy and soft. Any change in the use of these ingredients will affect the texture of the rava idli and they will become hard and dense.
- Soda: Do not try this recipe without eno or soda. You can reduce it to a pinch but it won’t really give you a nice and soft rava idli. As a rule of thumb I suggest using ¼ tablespoon for every cup of rava. It will not leave a soapy taste as the baking soda is activated with ¾ cup of curd.
- Curd: I use homemade cottage cheese made using full fat milk. It should be fresh and not sour otherwise the rava idli will smell like curd.
- Ghee: Do not reduce the amount of sauce or oil as it prevents the idli from becoming sticky. There should be enough ghee to coat the rava.
- Water:The amount of water absorbed by the rava may vary, so add accordingly.
Alternative quantities given on prescription card are for 1x, original prescription only.
For best results, follow my detailed step-by-step photography instructions and tips on the recipe card.
Rava Idli Recipe (Instant Idli with Suji)
Amount per service
Calories from fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6 g9%
Saturated fat 2 g13%
cholesterol 9 mg3%
Sodium 140 mg6%
potassium 59 mg2%
Carbohydrates 17 g6%
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 5 g10%
Vitamin A 165 IU3%
Vitamin C 26.6 mg32%
Calcium 38 mg4%
Iron 1.4 mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.