Rava Idli with Tomato Chutney – Steamed Semolina Dumplings

Posted: March 15, 2013 in Breakfast, Snacks & Starters, South Indian
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South Indian food like Idli, Dosa, Uttapam are amongst my favorite breakfast items as they are nutritious, low in calories and filling. I remember, as a child, these dishes in our home were treated as delicacies. Even when we use to go out for dinner (rarely) my 1st choice would be sada (plain) dosa (savory crepes). I am certainly in love with this cuisine for its health benefits (one year to ninety years old can have it as its easy on digestion) and delightful taste. Idlis are soft, savory cakes which you can enjoy with sambhar (Spiced lentil veggie soup) and any type of chutney. Normally idlis are made from a fermented batter of rice and skinless split black gram (dhuli urad dal) which requires at least 2 days of preparation. Specifically, Rava idli is very easy, quick and handy to make as you can find most of the ingredients easily in your pantry. It is made of semolina (cream of wheat/Rava/Sooji) and acts as a savior when you don’t have any regular idli batter in hand. So lets start with the recipe.

Ingredients :-

2 cups
Sour Curd
1/2 cup
Coconut Oil/any other
3 tablespoons
Fresh Coconut, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons
Urad Dal (Split skinless black gram)
1 teaspoon
Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
1 teaspoon
Broken Cashews
1 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon
Green chillies, seeded and chopped
Curry Leaves
Ginger, finely chopped 1 inch piece
To taste
Fruit Salt (Eno) 1 tablespoon
1 Cup

Method :-

  • Dry roast the semolina/rava in a heated pan.
  • Combine the semolina, curd, water, 2 tbsp of oil and salt together in a bowl. Whisk it continuously so that there is no lump. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a small pan for seasoning. Add the urad dal, chana dal  and cashews. Fry it till they turn brown in color. Add mustard seeds.
  • When the seeds crackle, add the coconut, green chillies and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  • Pour this  seasoning over the semolina batter and mix well.
  • Add the fruit salt and sprinkle a little water over it. When the bubbles form, mix it gently.
  • Pour spoonfuls of the batter into greased idli moulds (don’t let the batter fill till the brim) and steam on medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes. Check by inserting tooth pick in center of idli. If it comes out clean then its cooked.
  • Serve hot with any chutney of your choice. Below I have mentioned one of the chutney which goes well with this dish.


For Onion Tomato Chutney

Ingredients :-

Onion (Preferably red onion), chopped
1 cup
Tomato, chopped
3/4 cup
Red chillies
Ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons
to taste
Curry Leaves
Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon
Urad Dal (Split skinless black gram)
1 teaspoon
Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
1 teaspoon

Method :-

  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add half of the curry leaves and  red chillies followed by the onions.
  • Add some salt and fry till they become translucent.
  • Add the chopped ginger followed by the tomatoes.
  • Fry till they become soft and remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste.
  • Heat other teaspoon of oil in a pan.
  • Add rest of the curry leaves and red chillies and saute it till fragrant.
  • Add urad dal and chana dal and let it brown.
  • Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Switch off the heat.
  • Add the tempering/seasoning to the chutney and serve with idlis.


Notes :-

  • If you don’t have eno use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of baking soda. In this case, the batter needs to be fermented for minimum of 25-30 minutes to raise.
  • I always prefer using eno compare to soda since it soothes the stomach. It is available in any Asian/Indian store.
  • Curd should be sour enough to make good tasty idli otherwise it tastes bland.
  • You can add grated carrot, peas or chopped cilantro/coriander to add more flavor.
  • To get Idli with cashew visible on top first place one roasted cashew in each moulds and pour batter on top.
  • Consistency of batter and adding eno plays a major role in soft and fluffy idli.
  • You can drizzle some drop of ghee (clarified butter) on idlis while serving.
  • Idli moulds can be found in any indian store.

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