Rava Idli (Semolina Dumpling)

Rava Idli (Semolina Dumpling)

Rava Idli, Steam Dumplings

Rava Idli is a popular South Indian dish. The traditional way of making idlis would take two days. This recipe is much quicker and easier, and tastes just as delicious! Rava Idlis can be enjoyed as a snack or as a light meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


For the batter

  • 1 cup coarse sooji semolina
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 green chili finely choppes
  • 1 tsp ginger finely grated
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped hara dhania
  • 1/4 cup cabbage finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup yogurt dahi, curd
  • 1 cup water, use as needed
  • 1 tsp ENO fruit salt


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds rai
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds jeera
  • 2 2 green chilies sliced lengthwise and cut in half.

Utensils for Steaming Idlis

Idli stand - this has three to four plates stacked over each other.

Covered pot, large enough to hold the idli stand.

Alternatively, an egg poacher can work just as well,


  • Mix sooji, salt, green chili, ginger, cilantro, cabbage, yogurt, and water (as needed) to make a pancake-like batter. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • The batter thickens as the semolina absorbs the water. At this point, add a little more water if it is too thick.
  • Add approximately ¾ cup of water to the pot. Check to make sure that the water does not touch the bottom plate of the idli stand. Bring to boil
  • Lightly grease Idli plates with oil.
  • Add Eno Fruit Salt to the batter and mix well. The mixture will begin foaming. Immediately begin pouring into the Idli trays. Place the stand into the steaming pot.
  • Cover the pot and steam the idlis ten to twelve minutes on medium heat. Insert a toothpick in the center of one idli. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove the stand from the pot. Do not overcook the idlis, as they will lose their softness and dry out as they cool.
  • Cool for just a few minutes before removing each individual idli. They should come out easily and not stick to the mould. The idlis should be spongy and soft.

For The Seasoning

  • Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to crack, add the chilies. Stir for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
    Pour the seasoning over the Idlis on the serving plate.


You can replace the cabbage with shredded carrots.
This recipe will make slightly more than 16 idlis. If you choose, you can make it in two batches.  The batter can be prepared all at once; however, you must add the Eno just prior to pouring into the idli stand.
Serving Suggestions
Serve seasoned Idlis with coconut or cilantro chutney.
Serve Idlis with samber (south Indian vegetable soup). Idlis do not have to be seasoned for that.
Stir-fry Idlis in the seasoning oil mixture over medium heat for a few minutes. They will turn slightly brown.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Introduction to Rava Idli Recipe

Rava Idli is a popular South Indian dish known for its simplicity and delicious taste. Rava Idli is a fantastic option for a quick & easy appetizer or snack, and it also makes for a convenient lunch box suggestion. Rava idli recipe is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Made from idli rava, a type of semolina, this dish is easy to prepare and requires minimal ingredients. 

Idli rava is coarser in texture compared to regular semolina, giving the idlis a unique taste and texture. In this rava idli recipe, we will explore the process of making rava idli and various tips, variations, and benefits associated with it.

Making Rava Idli: Step-by-Step Guide

Preparation of Batter

  • To begin rava idli preparation, start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Then, add finely chopped green chilies, grated ginger, and curry leaves for added flavor. Sauté for a few minutes until the raw aroma disappears. Incorporating these spices enhances the taste of rava idli.

Roasting Idli Rava

  • Next, add idli rava to the pan and roast it for a few minutes until it turns aromatic and light golden brown. Roasting the idli rava adds a nutty flavor to the dish and ensures that the idlis are soft and fluffy.

Preparing the Batter

  • Transfer the roasted idli rava to a mixing bowl and let it cool slightly. Then, add yogurt and water to the roasted rava and mix well to form a thick batter. Allow the batter to rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the idli rava to absorb the moisture. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect texture in rava idli.

Seasoning the Batter

  • Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning by heating oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, and cashew nuts, and fry until the dal turns golden brown and the nuts are lightly roasted. Pour this seasoning over the rava idli batter and mix well. Seasoning adds a depth of flavor to the rava idli and makes it more aromatic.

Adding Baking Soda

  • Just before steaming the idlis, add baking soda to the batter and mix gently. Baking soda acts as a leavening agent and helps in making the idlis soft and fluffy. However, it’s important not to overmix the batter at this stage to ensure that the idlis remain airy and light.

Steaming the Idlis

  • Grease the idli molds with oil and pour the batter into each mold. Place the molds in a steamer and steam the idlis for 10-12 minutes or until they are cooked through. Insert a toothpick into the center of an idli to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, the idlis are ready to be served.

Tips for Perfect Rava Idlis

  • Use fresh idli rava for the best results. Stale or old rava may result in dense and hard idlis.
  • Adjust the consistency of the batter by adding more water if it’s too thick or yogurt if it’s too thin.
  • For enhanced flavor, you can add grated vegetables like carrots, peas, or capsicum to the batter.
  • Serve rava idli hot with coconut chutney or sambar for a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Variations of Rava Idli

  • Vegetable Rava Idli: Add finely chopped vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers to the batter for a nutritious twist.
  • Spicy Rava Idli: Increase the quantity of green chilies and add finely chopped coriander leaves for a spicier version of rava idli.
  • Paneer Rava Idli: Grate paneer and mix it into the batter along with some chopped mint leaves for a rich and flavorful variation.
  • Masala Rava Idli: Add a teaspoon of garam masala powder to the batter along with some tomatoes for a masaledar twist.

Benefits of Rava Idli

  • Nutritious: Rava idli is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and essential nutrients, making it a wholesome meal option.
  • Easy to Digest: Since idli rava is made from semolina, it’s easy to digest and is suitable for people of all ages.
  • Quick and Easy: Unlike traditional idlis, which require fermentation, rava idli can be prepared instantly, making it a convenient option for busy days.
  • Versatile: You can customize rava idli with different toppings and seasonings to suit your taste preferences.

FAQs about Rava Idli

Can I use regular semolina instead of idli rava?

  • While you can use regular semolina to make idlis, the texture and taste may vary slightly from traditional rava idli. Idli rava is coarser and gives a unique texture to the idlis.

How long should I steam the idlis?

  • Steam the idlis for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Over-steaming may result in dry and rubbery idlis.

Can I make rava idli without baking soda?

  • Baking soda helps in making the idlis soft and fluffy. However, if you prefer not to use it, you can substitute it with a pinch of fruit salt or eno.

For more delicious recipes, you can explore other recipes on Manjula’s Kitchen.

Explore more mouthwatering recipes on Manjula’s Kitchen: Paneer Tikka Masala, Vegetable Biryani, Aloo Paratha, Mango Lassi, Palak Paneer

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70 thoughts on “Rava Idli (Semolina Dumpling)

  1. Hello Manjula,

    It has been a long time since I made this Rava Idli. So today I made this again. I added the seasoning – mustard seeds, cashews, some urad & chana dal while adding green chillies & cilantro to the rava. I Love adding ENO at the end. Made 16 idlies out of the batter. We loved it!

  2. I want to try this recipe. Not sure whether ENO is available in Sri Lanka. Is it an absolute must have in this recipe? Can I use a substitute? Also, when cold does the idlis become hard?

  3. Hi,
    Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing it!! The idlis look very soft and fluffy.

    Have you ever tried making idlis in chinese style?

    If not, and interested in the recipe, visit my blog. You can make idlis the way you make and for the chinese punch, explore my recipe. Hope you like it.

  4. Hi Manjula Aunty,

    You made it very easy, as i was always thinking i cant make idlies. I’ll surely try now…

    Can i use the normal big pot and cover it or there is a special type of pot comes for Idlies?


  5. I combined both the recipes given by Ms. Anna and Ms. Manjula. I followed the method given by Anna. I followed Madame Manjula’s method by adding ENO fruit salt. I don’t know the difference between Soda-bi-Carb and ENO. The idli’s were fluffier when I used ENO. The first time I made I added a pinch of Soda-bi-carb. The idlis were great but not fluffy as I would have liked it to be.
    So I have tried both your recipes. They are great! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂


    1. To get spongy, fluffy idlis or dhoklas what you need is effervescence i.e. formation of Carbon-dioxide in the mixture. The most effective way of getting this is using a mixture of acid and alkali which on contact with water forms carbon dioxide. Eno fruit salt does the same. Soda bi-carb on its own does not produce effervescence, so you need to combine it with an acid. Mixing it with curd does produce some effervescence but not too much, also as manjula says you need to add it just before steaming else the effervescence doesnt last. If you do not get Eno fruit salt at your place, I suggest that you do the following. Get citric acid powder – this is in crystalline form (similar to salt) and white in colour. You should find this in any Asian stores. Mix half teaspoon of citric acid and soda-bicarb, and add it to the mixture just before steaming.

      To see effervescance in action – mix half teaspoon of citric acid and soda-bicarb and put it into a glass of water 🙂

  6. Wow Anna! Great recipe. I’m married to someone from India a’s well and appreciate that you took the time to share this recipe.
    Thanks so much – I’ll definitely try this!

    1. Thank You ,Liane!For us,foreigners,it takes several times to try to prepare each dish until we perfect it.There are several types of sooji,2-3 variete of green chillies(some of them more pungent,some less),and the same about dry red chillies.In the beginning it was total confusion for me.As times pass,You too will master the cooking of Indian dishes.Good luck to You,Liane!

  7. I am Russian, married to Indian & living in South India for several years now. I LEARNT FROM My M-I-L how to cook a very good ”Rava idli”.
    (1) Chop finely 3-4 green chillies,handfull of curry leaves, 1” of ginger,(i.e. 1/2 tbsp of ginger)
    (2) Take in a heavy bottomed casserole 1 tbsp of oil, when hot -add 1 tsp of mustard seeds,when they start spluttering – add pinch of asafoetida, 2 tbsp of channa dall (i.e. bengal gram),1 tbsp broken cashewnuts,chopped green chillies,chopped curry leaves & ginger. Fry another 1-2 minutes(.Be carefull not to burn the ingridients ,which you are frying, just add everything one by one without any delay & continuesly stirring)Add 2 cups of coarse semolina ,continuesly stirring( another 2-3 minutes) or until aroma of roasted semolina comes out.Immediately switch off the stove & let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
    (3) When cool, add a pinch of soda bicarb, 1.5 cup of water+1.5 cup of curds, 1 tsp of salt ,chopped fresh coriander leaves & 1 grated carrot.(You can add green peas also).Let this mixture stand for at least 10-15 mins.
    (4)Smear slightly your idli case with ghee, pour mixture with laddle or spoon into idli cases & steam for 7-10 mins. It makes 20-22 idlis

    (1) Curds & soda bicarb is necessary to add to get the soft,fluffy idlis
    (2) Curds & water should be of room temperature
    (3) After adding curds,water & other ingredients , mixture should stand for some time ,so that semolina should absorb the moisture and the mixture ferments.
    (4) Add extra water, if needed to get desired consistency of idli batter.
    (5) Salt, green chillies should be added according to taste.

  8. Hi all!!!
    i tried the recipe, but with some modifications, i added rapid yeast in place of ENO, I did a mistake i dint give the standing time to the batter so the IDLIS din rise properly. But something came in my mind(what soemtimes my mother used to do with the earlier days remaining IDLIS). I cut them into pieces & fried them with the seasoning mentioned above.
    As we do wid the chat stuff, similarly I decorated the pieces in a plate & poured coconut chutney on them. My husband liked it very much…
    thanks for recipe

  9. Hello manjula mam,
    I made Rava idli as per ur intructions, but thos were not soft and pluffy. May be the whether was cool thats why. pls explain what went wrong

    1. It mite be because the batter lacked enuf water. or they mite be over cooked . I tried Rava Idli in Microwave for 2 minutes and they came out to be hard. Now i put them for 1.30 min and they are perfect 🙂

  10. Hi

    Although this recipe is so simple, my idlis aways come out soggy and raw. I steam them for quite a long time, but it never comes out spongy. Please tell me why this is so.


  11. Hi Manjula,

    I like this recipe and wanted to share what I do with rava idli. I also add 1 cup of oat flour (roasted and powdered old fashioned oats) for 1 cup of rava and add grated carrots and chopped onions too. I don’t add eno with this recipe and it comes out quite good.

  12. Hi Manjula,
    I all the other recipes I’ve read online ENO is added with all the other ingredients and then the batter is left for fermentation. Why not in your recipe?

  13. Hi Manjula,
    In this Rava Idli (Semolina Dumpling), I guess, fermentation process is totally avoided. That is a good short cut in busy schedule.
    Now my question is about fruit salt – what is it – ENO?
    Pl give us more information such as what is its source?
    I have never heard of ENO. You can definitely pl tell about it.

    1. Eno is an Antacid used for acidity….. its in powder form available at all groceries and medical stores…… just ask for fruit salt flavor the other one is lemon flavor…..

  14. This is not the traditional rava idli recipe from south india.

    I make rava idlis once in a week. they are fluffy and tastes great.

    this recipe sounds okay. but very lengthy and time consuming.

    the way i do. dry roast rava and set aside. heat some oil ,add mustard, green chillies,hing,curry leaves, cashews, add roasted rava too. then transfer it to a bowl, add, shredded carrots,green peas,and green beans, chopped finely.,with coriander leaves,and salt, mix them fully with slightly sour yogurt ,make it to a medium thickness batter, add ENO salt and immediately pour into idli plates. steam for 10mins. try this method..it tastes heavenly and takes maximum 20 minutes. If you add 3-4 table spoons of oil for 1 cup of rava, while doing the seasoning, its super spongy.

  15. I made this toady and here are my thoughts:

    1) In order to be able to immediately start steaming the idlis as soon as the ENO is added, you must plan ahead and start boiling the water for steaming ahead of time so that it is already boiling when the 30 minutes on timing the batter is done.

    2) I used a combination of shredded carrots and zucchini instead of cabbage, which turned out well. It’s also very colorful.

    3) The idlis are a little sticky when done. Instead of pouring the hot oil and spices OVER the idlis, I made the “tarka”(seasoning) in a large wok and lightly fried the idlis with the oil for about one minute. That removed the stickiness from the outside.

    4) I served the idlis with coconut chutney (Deep brand from the Indian grocery store) and homemade sambhar (South Indian style lentil soup).

  16. This is not the typical south indian rava idly. Adding eno and cabbage and doing tadka over the idlis are modifications but I think the recipe should be good and taste like Dhokla.

    1. Rajeev, most likely you over cooked them. You need to remove them from the steamer while they are still soft, but not mushy. That’s the most common cause assuming you made the batter correctly.

      1. Hi Jaya,

        I tried these idlis. they were soft but the upper layer was soggy. I dont have a idli maker. But i have a idli stand and i used it in a pressure cooker.

        Can you please help…

        Thanks a lot


  17. hello aunty,

    i love rava idli and its one of the easiest n fast to make dishes. However i hv seen dat my mom, granma n all in my family first fry the ravai/semolina lightly before making the mixture. I dont know wat difference it makes dat way. but dats how we hv always had it at home.

    Love ur recipes and easy to cook style dishes.


  18. Aunty, there is a typing error in the written recipe. It says “cores” semolina. It should be “coarse”. Hopefully your webmaster will correct it for you. Thanks.

  19. Thanks for this recipe dear Aunty you are a mind reader blessed me with mung dal halwa recipe which I was wishing for last month and this one which has been on my wishlist since last few days. I am sure it will turn out perfect like all your previous recipe.

    Keep sharing the gift of God which is Suswadu Bhojan with everyone.
    Wish you and your family happy 2011 also lots of love and sunshine!!

  20. This is very easy and delicious dish. We can also add shredded Carrots to this. This receipe was first found out by M.T.R. (Bangalore) for Military soldiers during War.

  21. Hello Manjula,

    What is a good substitute if you don’t have ENO. Would combination of baking soda and lime juice work in this recipe or just the baking soda? Please advise since getting ENO is hard sometimes where I live.

    Thank You.

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