Idlis are a quick fix to the breakfast dilemmas. Make it from rice, idli rava or just the plain rawa; they always come out delicious, healthy and filing. Previously I had shared the idli recipe made from idli rava. Today’s recipe is masala rava idli, which is made using the usual semolina and nuts. The nuts and chana daal render a nice crunch and texture to the idlis.
This is my humble attempt to replicate the MTR ready to make instant idli mix. For flavors I have added ghee, asafetida and ginger. If you want you can also add green chilies. I gave green chilies a pass, because I don’t like them in steamed idlis. Instead I paired the idlis with spicy and tangy coriander and mint chutney.
Unlike rice idlis and rava idlis, the masala rava idlis are quick to make. You just need to ferment the batter for an hour. For the purpose of measurement, 1 cup = 250 ml. this recipe will make about 16 to 18 idlis. Now let us see how to make these delicious rava idlis.
- Semolina / Rava – 1.5 cups, thin variety
- Yogurt – 3/4 cups
- Water – About 70 to 80 ml or as needed
- Eno Fruit Salt – 1 and 1/4 tsp
- Ginger – 1/2 inch piece, finely crushed
For Preparing the Tempering
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 15, chopped
- Chana daal – 2 tsp
- Hing / Asafetida – 1/8 tsp
- Cashew nuts – 15, broken into small pieces
- Almonds – 10, broken into small pieces (Optional)
- Raisins – 30-35 grains, washed and dried
- Chironji – 1 tbsp
How to Make Masala Rava Idli
- Heat the ghee and oil together in a skillet. Toss in the broken bits of cashews and almonds and chironji. Fry them till golden and aromatic. Take care not to burn them. Remove them onto a plate and set them aside.
- Similarly, fry the raisins till they are golden and puffed up. This just takes a few seconds. Make sure you have dried the washed raisins well on a kitchen towel; else the oil will splutter around. Take the raisins out on a plate and set them aside too.
- Now in the remaining ghee, add in the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add in the chana daal and fry on medium heat till it loses its raw smell and turns golden brown and aromatic.
- Toss in the chopped curry leaves and fry them till they turn crunchy and aromatic. Finally add in the hing and sauté for 3 to 4 seconds.
- Add in the rava / semolina. Make sure you use the thinner variety of rava. This idli won’t turn out good with the thicker / grainer variety of semolina. Mix everything around well.
- Now keep on roasting the rava on low flame, stirring it often. The rava will change color from white to golden and smell heavenly. This will take a good 15 minutes. Check out the difference in color of the semolina.
- Now remove the roasted semolina in a bowl and allow it to cool.
- When the semolina has cooled down, add in the whisked yogurt and mix everything vigorously so that there are no lumps. When you mix the batter well, air gets incorporated into it and it will become fluffy. Add in the finely crushed fresh ginger, salt and mix again.
- Now it’s time to add water. The amount of water will depend upon the quality of semolina and yogurt. I needed about 80 ml of water to achieve the desired consistency. The batter should be thick yet pour-able.
- Allow the batter to rest for an hour. Cover the bowl and keep it someplace warm for about an hour. This will facilitate the batter to ferment.
- After the batter has rested, prepare the idli moulds. Heat the water in the idli steamer and grease the idli moulds lightly with some oil.
- Toss in the fried cashews, almonds, chironji and raisins and give the batter a mix. Now you need to be very quick. Finally add in the Eno Fruit Salt and mix the well and immediately add the batter into the moulds. The moulds should be 4/5th filled. These idlis are soft but they don’t really fluff up like the rice idlis.
- Carefully place the idli moulds inside the steamer containing boiling water. Cover the steamer and steam the idlis for about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Try inserting a toothpick to check if the idli is well-done. If it comes out clean, the idlis are ready. Scoop the idlis out from the moulds with the help of a spoon.
Serve hot with sambar and chutney. These idlis are already so flavorful. For me, just the spicy and tangy mint chutney on the side is preferable. You can find the coriander – mint chutney recipe in my Bombay Sandwich Recipe post.